"The gut microbiota plays an important role in nutrition and metabolism (digestion, absorption, fermentation, vitamin synthesis and energy production), regulation of immune function (by stimulation of immunoglobulin and cytokine production), and protection (colonization resistance and production of antimicrobial substances). The genomes of the gut microbiota encode for metabolic activities distinct from those of the human microbiota, thus contributing directly to human physiology.
Many factors, such as diet, food poisoning, infections, antibiotic therapy, stress and aging can impact the balance of the gut microbiota, and GI disturbances can range from mild to life-threatening. There is a growing awareness of the importance of the relationship between the gut microbiota and human health and the potential for the manipulation of this relationship to achieve therapeutic effects."
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