Increasing prevalences, morbidity, premature mortality and medical needs associated with non-communicable diseases and conditions (NCDs) have reached epidemic proportions and placed a major drain on healthcare systems and global economies. Added to this are the challenges presented by overuse of antibiotics and increased antibiotic resistance. Solutions are needed that can address the challenges of NCDs and increasing antibiotic resistance, maximize preventative measures, and balance healthcare needs with available services and economic realities. Microbiome management including microbiota seeding, feeding, and rebiosis appears likely to be a core component of a path toward sustainable healthcare. Recent findings indicate that: (1) humans are mostly microbial (in terms of numbers of cells and genes); (2) immune dysfunction and misregulated inflammation are pivotal in the majority of NCDs; (3) microbiome status affects early immune education and risk of NCDs, and (4) microbiome status affects the risk of certain infections. Management of the microbiome to reduce later-life health risk and/or to treat emerging NCDs, to spare antibiotic use and to reduce the risk of recurrent infections may provide a more effective healthcare strategy across the life course particularly when a personalized medicine approach is considered. This review will examine the potential for microbiome management to contribute to sustainable healthcare.
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