Review Article

Alcohol and Gut Microbiota

The Possible Role of Gut Microbiota Modulation in the Treatment of Alcoholic Liver Disease

G. Vassallo; A. Mirijello; A. Ferrulli; M. Antonelli; R. Landolfi; A. Gasbarrini; G. Addolorato


Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015;41(10):917-927. 

In This Article


Alcohol abuse produces qualitative and quantitative changes in gut microbiota. The exact mechanism at the basis of bacterial overgrowth and dysbiosis in alcoholic patients is still poorly understood. The translocation of bacterial products into the portal blood, due to alcohol's toxic effect on gut barrier and to alcohol-induced changes in gut microbiota, seems to play a key role in alcohol-induced liver damage.

To date, several studies have been conducted in pre-clinical and clinical settings to understand pathophysiological mechanisms and relationships between alcohol, gut microbiota and liver damage. The heterogeneity of methods led to inconclusive results. Thus, this is still an open research field. However, the modulation of gut flora seems to be a promising strategy to reduce alcohol-induced liver injury and to prevent disease progression. Further studies are needed to draft definitive conclusions.