The human intestinal microbiota is known to play a key role in a number of important biologic functions, including extracting nutrients from food, synthesizing essential vitamins, the development of immunity, protection against invading pathogens, and shaping brain development. The microbiome composition can be altered by a number of factors, including antibiotic use, lifestyle factors (such as exercise or time spent sedentary), diet (e.g., carbohydrates and fats can have a profound influence on gut microbiota), and hygiene, which can limit the types of organisms that are able to colonize the gastrointestinal tract. When the microbiota is disrupted, all of these factors can contribute to chronic inflammatory and metabolic diseases.
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