How do probiotics and prebiotics function at distant sites?
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The realisation that microbes regarded as beneficial to the host can impart effects at sites distant from their habitat, has raised many possibilities for treatment of diseases. The objective of a workshop hosted in Turku, Finland, by the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, was to assess the evidence for these effects and the extent to which early life microbiome programming influences how the gut microbiota communicates with distant sites. In addition, we examined how probiotics and prebiotics might affect the skin, airways, heart, brain and metabolism. The growing levels of scientific and clinical evidence showing how microbes influence the physiology of many body sites, leads us to call for more funding to advance a potentially exciting avenue for novel therapies for many chronic diseases.