Integrative Physiology: At the Crossroads of Nutrition, Microbiota, Animal Physiology, and Human Health
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Nutrition is paramount in shaping all aspects of animal biology. In addition, the influence of the intestinal microbiota on physiology is now widely recognized. Given that diet also shapes the intestinal microbiota, this raises the question of how the nutritional environment and microbial assemblages together influence animal physiology. This research field constitutes a new frontier in the field of organismal biology that needs to be addressed. Here we review recent studies using animal models and humans and propose an integrative framework within which to define the study of the diet-physiology-microbiota systems and ultimately link it to human health. Nutritional Geometry sits centrally in the proposed framework and offers means to define diet compositions that are optimal for individuals and populations.
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