Eukaryotes and prokaryotes have developed mutually beneficial relationships over millennia of evolutionary adaptation. Bacteria in our gut rely on our diet and the protected environment of our bodies just as our health depends on byproducts of microbial metabolism. Microorganisms of the gut microbiota ferment carbohydrates into short-chain fatty acids, convert dietary and endogenous nitrogenous compounds into ammonia and microbial protein, and synthesize and activate B vitamins and vitamin K. The benefit from their activity is multiplex and translates into increased energy for the gut epithelial cells, balanced absorption of salt and water, nitrogen recycling, breakdown of complex lipids and cholesterol, and detoxification of waste compounds.
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