The Role of the Manipulation of the Gut Microbiota in Obesity
The manipulation of the gut microbiota by diet, antibiotics, or probiotics could promote, prevent, or reverse the development of specific diseases, including obesity. A link has been proposed between obesity and the growth promoters (probiotics and antibiotics) that have been used in animals for more than 40 years to induce weight gain. Several species of the Lactobacillus genus that are frequently used as probiotics for human consumption merit particular attention because they are increased in the gut microbiota under high-fat diets, are more abundant in obese humans, and are selected by growth-promoter antibiotics; moreover, the administration of these bacteria in experimental models is linked to the development of obesity. However, other species or strains of the same genus are associated with an antiobesity effect. Newborns and infants are a particularly susceptible population in which the administration of antibiotics or probiotics could be related to the development of obesity in adulthood.