The investigation of the human microbiome is the most rapidly expanding field in biomedicine. Early studies were undertaken to better understand the role of microbiota in carbohydrate digestion and utilization. These processes include polysaccharide degradation, glycan transport, glycolysis, and short-chain fatty acid production. Recent research has demonstrated that the intricate axis between gut microbiota and the host metabolism is much more complex. Gut microbiota—depending on their composition—have disease-promoting effects but can also possess protective properties. This review focuses on disorders of metabolic syndrome, with special regard to obesity as a prequel to type 2 diabetes, type 2 diabetes itself, and type 1 diabetes. In all these conditions, differences in the composition of the gut microbiota in comparison to healthy people have been reported. Mechanisms of the interaction between microbiota and host that have been characterized thus far include an increase in energy harvest, modulation of free fatty acids—especially butyrate—of bile acids, lipopolysaccharides, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an impact on toll-like receptors, the endocannabinoid system and “metabolic endotoxinemia” as well as “metabolic infection.” This review will also address the influence of already established therapies for metabolic syndrome and diabetes on the microbiota and the present state of attempts to alter the gut microbiota as a therapeutic strategy.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited