Intestinal gases: influence on gut disorders and the role of dietary manipulations

Kourosh Kalantar-Zadeh, Kyle J. Berean, Rebecca E. Burgell, Jane G. Muir, Peter R. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


The inner workings of the intestines, in which the body and microbiome intersect to influence gut function and systemic health, remain elusive. Carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane and hydrogen sulfide, as well as a variety of trace gases, are generated by the chemical interactions and microbiota within the gut. Profiling of these intestinal gases and their responses to dietary changes can reveal the products and functions of the gut microbiota and their influence on human health. Indeed, different tools for measuring these intestinal gases have been developed, including newly developed gas-sensing capsule technology. Gases can, according to their type, concentration and volume, induce or relieve abdominal symptoms, and might also have physiological, pathogenic and therapeutic effects. Thus, profiling and modulating intestinal gases could be powerful tools for disease prevention and/or therapy. As the interactions between the microbiota, chemical constituents and fermentative substrates of the gut are principally influenced by dietary intake, altering the diet, which, in turn, changes gas profiles, is the main therapeutic approach for gastrointestinal disorders. An improved understanding of the complex interactions within the intestines that generate gases will enhance our ability to prevent, diagnose, treat and monitor many gastrointestinal disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 733-747
Number of pages15
JournalNature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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