Probiotics and gut health

Minerva Gastroenterol (Torino). 2021 May 12. doi: 10.23736/S2724-5985.21.02910-7.Online ahead of print.

Emidio Scarpellini 1 2, Martina Basilico 3, Emanuele Rinninella 4, Florencia Carbone 5, Jolien Schol 5, Carlo Rasetti 3, Ludovico Abenavoli 6, Pierangelo Santori 3


Author information

  • 1Clinical Nutrition Unit, and Internal Medicine Unit, Madonna del Soccorso General Hospital, San Benedetto del Tronto, Ascoli Piceno, Italy - emidio.scarpellini@kuleuven.be.
  • 2T.A.R.G.I.D., Gasthuisberg University Hospital, KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium - emidio.scarpellini@kuleuven.be.
  • 3Clinical Nutrition Unit, and Internal Medicine Unit, Madonna del Soccorso General Hospital, San Benedetto del Tronto, Ascoli Piceno, Italy.
  • 4Clinical Nutrition Unit, Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy.
  • 5T.A.R.G.I.D., Gasthuisberg University Hospital, KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium.
  • 6Department of Health Sciences, University Magna Graecia, Campus Salvatore Venuta, Catanzaro, Italy.


Background: Gut microbiota is a complex ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, archea, protozoa and yeasts in our intestine. It has several functions maintaining human body equilibrium. Microbial " dysbiosis " can be responsible for several gastrointestinal diseases.

Methods: to build a narrative review we performed a Pubmed, Medline, EMBASE search for English language papers, reviews, meta-analyses, case series, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) by keywords and their associations: gut microbiota, dysbiosis, gastrointestinal diseases, probiotics.

Results: gut microbiota is altered in several gastrointestinal diseases with very different pathophysiology. They range from multi-factorial diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and gastric and colorectal cancers, immunemediated such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), antibioticrelated such as Clostridium Difficile infection (CDI). Microbial dysbiosis re-modulation by probiotics is feasible and safe in some of them.

Conclusions: gut microbial dysbiosis is statistically associated with several gastro-intestinal diseases, affecting their pathophysiology. Its reverse by probiotics has some promising evidences of efficacy.



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