Gut microbiota and gastrointestinal health: current concepts and future directions


Address for Correspondence
Prof. Qasim Aziz, PhD FRCP, The Wingate Institute of Neurogastroenterology, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, 26 Ashfield Street, Whitechapel, London E1 2AJ, UK.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 2630; fax: +44 (0)20 7882 2655;


Background  The microbial community of the human gut – the enteric microbiota – plays a critical role in functions that sustain health and is a positive asset in host defenses. In recent years, our understanding of this so-called human ‘super organism’ has advanced, following characterization of fecal metagenomes which identified three core bacterial enterotypes, and based on basic and clinical research into the impact and consequences of microbiota biodiversity and change on gastrointestinal disorders and diseases.

Purpose  This article considers current knowledge and future perspectives on the make-up and function of human gut microbiota, with a particular focus on altered microbiota and gastrointestinal disorders, nutritional influences on the gut microbiota, and the consequences for gastrointestinal health, as well as improved understanding of gut-microbiota–brain communication.