The Committee on Gut Microbes and Health seeks to identify how gut microbes keep people healthy and how dietary factors affect the microbiome.
Current Activities and Events
Significant scientific discoveries related to gut health have emerged in recent years from the prioritization of medical research related to the human microbiome (microbes colonizing in the intestine) by the National Institutes of Health in the United States as well as institutions in Europe and Canada. The microbiome is known to impact gastrointestinal disorders, and may have a significant influence on immune status and the body's ability to derive energy from food.
Although the gut microbiome clearly plays an important role in gastrointestinal disease, there is no definition of a healthy gut microbiota. The Committee on Gut Microbes and Health organized a conference titled "Defining a Healthy Gut Microbiome" on 6 December 2011, to form the basis for a consensus document that will evaluate the status of the evidence in this area and help guide the development of scientific information to forward the development of the field.
The Committee on Gut Microbes and Health spearheaded collaboration with the American Gastroenterology Association (AGA) and the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) to design and disseminate a continuing medical education program via webcast for clinical gastroenterologists. The information presented in this four-module course has been expanded upon in the publication “Human Gut Microbiota and their Relationship to Health and Disease,” which has been accepted for publication in Nutrition Reviews.
Defining a Healthy Gut Microbiome
As mentioned above, the committee organized a conference titled "Defining a Healthy Gut Microbiome" in December 2011 to form the basis for a consensus document that will evaluate the status of the evidence in this area and help guide the development of scientific information to forward the development of the field.
The following group of experts convened to offer updates on the state of the science and ideas for future directions: Fredrik Backhed, PhD, University of Gothenburg, Sweden; Brett Finlay, PhD, University of British Columbia; Claire Fraser-Liggett, PhD, University of Maryland School of Medicine; James Versalovic, MD, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital; Yehuda Ringel, MD, University of North Carolina; R. Balfour Sartor, MD, University of North Carolina; Philip Sherman, MD, University of Toronto; and Vincent B. Young, MD, PhD, University of Michigan.
Outcomes of the conference will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal in early 2012.
Session 1: How is a healthy microbiome defined?
Session 2: How should the "healthiness" of gut microbiome be assessed?
Session 3: What is the current evidence?