Indian Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 93–107 | Cite as

Gut microbiome, gut function, and probiotics: Implications for health

  • Neerja Hajela
  • B. S. Ramakrishna
  • G. Balakrish Nair
  • Philip Abraham
  • Sarath Gopalan
  • Nirmal K. Ganguly
Review Article


New insights from a rapidly developing field of research have ushered in a new era of understanding of the complexity of host-microbe interactions within the human body. The paradigm shift from culturing to metagenomics has provided an insight into the complex diversity of the microbial species that we harbor, revealing the fact that we are in fact more microbes than human cells. The largest consortium of these microbes resides in the gut and is called the gut microbiota. This new science has expanded the ability to document shifts in microbial populations to an unparalleled degree. It is now understood that signals from the microbiota provide trophic, nutritional, metabolic, and protective effects for the development and maintenance of the host digestive, immune, and neuroendocrine system. Evidence linking changes in the gut microbiota to gastrointestinal and extraintestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, diabetes, and celiac disease have begun to emerge recently. Probiotics act through diverse mechanisms positively affecting the composition and/or function of the commensal microbiota and alter host immunological responses. Well-controlled intervention trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis provide convincing evidence for the benefit of probiotics in prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal as well as extraintestinal disorders.


Clinical evidence Gut microbiota Probiotic Mechanisms Metagenomics Probiotics 



The review is a collation of the presentations, views, and latest scientific literature presented by eminent scientists and experts at the probiotic symposium, “Probiotics, Microbiome and Gut Function—Transforming Health and Well Being” that was organized by the Yakult India Microbiota and Probiotic Science Foundation in New Delhi, on 14 and 15, February 2014.


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Copyright information

© Indian Society of Gastroenterology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yakult India Microbiota and Probiotic Science FoundationNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.SRM Institutes for Medical ScienceChennaiIndia
  3. 3.Translational Health Science and Technology InstituteFaridabadIndia
  4. 4.P D Hinduja Hospital and Medical Research CentreMumbaiIndia
  5. 5.Indraprastha Apollo HospitalNew DelhiIndia
  6. 6.Policy Centre for Biomedical ResearchTranslational Health Science and Technology InstituteFaridabadIndia

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