chapter  2
6 Pages

Gut Microbiota: In Sickness and in Health

ByM. José Huertas, Carmen Michán

At birth, the human colon is rapidly colonized by a vast amount of gut microbes that affect host physiology and metabolism because of their ability to ferment nutrients and secrete bioactive compounds (de Vos, 2013). Lately, different reports are exploring their potential use for the treatment of a wide variety of diseases, although the clinical use of the gut microbiota is not all that innovative, since detailed faecal therapies for the treatment of abdominal pains were documented by Ming dynasty Chinese doctors, over 1000 years ago (Zhang et al., 2012). Researchers are now working on how faecal micro-organisms contribute to diseases, particularly in the context of obesity and other related metabolic disorders or ageing.