The intestinal milieu harbours the gut microbiota, consisting of a complex community of bacteria, archaea, fungi, viruses, and protozoans that bring to the host organism an endowment of cells and genes more numerous than its own. In the last ten years, mounting evidence has highlighted the prominent influence of the gut mutualistic bacterial communities on human health. Microbial colonization occurs alongside with immune system development and plays a role in intestinal physiology.
The community of the gut microbiota does not undergo significant fluctuations throughout adult life. However, bacterial infections, antibiotic treatment, lifestyle, surgery, and diet might profoundly affect it. Gut microbiota dysbiosis, defined as marked alterations in the amount and function of the intestinal microorganisms, is correlated with the aetiology of chronic non-communicable diseases, ranging from cardiovascular, neurologic, respiratory, and metabolic illnesses to cancer. In this review, we focus on the interplay among gut microbiota, diet, and host to provide a perspective on the role of microbiota and their unique metabolites in the pathogenesis and/or progression of various human disorders. We discuss interventions based on microbiome studies, i.e. faecal microbiota transplantation, probiotics, and prebiotics, to introduce the concept that correcting gut dysbiosis can ameliorate disease symptoms, thus offering a new approach toward disease treatment.