Probiotics, prebiotics, energy balance, and obesity: mechanistic insights and therapeutic implications

Gastroenterology Clinics of North America
Federica MolinaroGiovanni Musso

Abstract

Obesity-related disorders derive from a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors. Recent evidence supports the role of gut microbiota in the pathogenesis of obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and insulin resistance by increasing energy harvest from diet and by inducing chronic, low-grade inflammation. Several studies describe characteristic differences between composition and activity of gut microbiota of lean individuals and those with obesity. Despite this evidence, some pathophysiological mechanisms remain to be clarified. This article discusses mechanisms connecting gut microbiota to obesity and fat storage and the potential therapeutic role of probiotics and prebiotics.

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