The objective of the present study was to review the existing data on the association between Zn status and characteristics of gut microbiota in various organisms and the potential role of Zn-induced microbiota in modulating systemic effects. The existing data demonstrate a tight relationship between Zn metabolism and gut microbiota as demonstrated in Zn deficiency, supple-mentation, and toxicity studies. Generally, Zn was found to be a significant factor for gut bacteria biodiversity. The effects of physiological and nutritional Zn doses also result in improved gut wall integrity, thus contributing to reduced translocation of bacteria and gut microbiome metabolites into the systemic circulation. In contrast, Zn overexposure induced substantial alterations in gut micro-biota. In parallel with intestinal effects, systemic effects of Zn-induced gut microbiota modulation may include systemic inflammation and acute pancreatitis, autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as fetal alcohol syndrome and obesity. In view of both Zn and gut microbiota, as well as their interaction in the regulation of the physiological functions of the host organism, addressing these targets through the use of Zn-enriched probiotics may be considered an effective strategy for health management.
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