Modulation of the human gut microbiota through probiotics, prebiotics and dietary fibre are recognised strategies to improve health and prevent disease. Yet we are only beginning to understand the impact of these interventions on the gut microbiota and the physiological consequences for the human host, thus forging the way towards evidence-based scientific validation. However, in many studies a percentage of participants can be defined as ‘non-responders’ and scientists are beginning to unravel what differentiates these from ‘responders;’ and it is now clear that an individual’s baseline microbiota can influence an individual’s response. Thus, microbiome composition can potentially serve as a biomarker to predict responsiveness to interventions, diets and dietary components enabling greater opportunities for its use towards disease prevention and health promotion. In Part I of this two-part review, we reviewed the current state of the science in terms of the gut microbiota and the role of diet and dietary components in shaping it and subsequent consequences for human health. In Part II, we examine the efficacy of gut-microbiota modulating therapies at different life stages and their potential to aid in the management of undernutrition and overnutrition. Given the significance of an individual’s gut microbiota, we investigate the feasibility of microbiome testing and we discuss guidelines for evaluating the scientific validity of evidence for providing personalised microbiome-based dietary advice. Overall, this review highlights the potential value of the microbiome to prevent disease and maintain or promote health and in doing so, paves the pathway towards commercialisation.
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