Discover what the microbiome is, how it changes throughout your life, and the role it plays in good human health.

8,325 enrolled on this course

a drawing of a women with her internal organs drawn on top of her body, surrounded by drawings of microbes
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Learn how a healthy microbiome can combat disease

Please note this course runs without facilitation. A Spanish version of the course can be found here.

The microbiome – the microbes that live within the human body – can have a huge impact on human health. As such, it’s vital to understand the complexity of the microbiome, and how it can impact on disease and wellbeing.

On this course, you’ll go on a fascinating journey into the human body – down to the gut – where the ecology and roles of the human microbiome will be narrated.

You’ll explore how your microbiome changes throughout your life, reflect on the role of food in its modulation, and explain the functions the microbiome has in the gastrointestinal tract in daily life.

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 3 seconds This course focuses on the human microbiome with the focus on the gut microbiome. That is all the microbes that live between our stomach and colon and how they interact with our health.

Skip to 0 minutes and 17 seconds In the first week, you will be introduced to this fascinating world of the human microbiome and how it interacts and impacts our health and well-being. In week two, you will learn about the journey of food, how our body absorbs nutrients, and how our microbiota is influenced by our diet. And in week three, we’ll explain how your gut microbiota and cells communicate and why it’s so important to feed your gut microbiota appropriately as a means to care for your health. By the end of this course, you’ll have a good understanding of the human microbiome, our gut microbiota, and how our diet impacts and can benefit our health and well-being.


  • Week 1

    The Journey of Life

    • Welcome to the course

      A warm welcome to the course by the Lead Educator

    • The composition of human microbiota

      The human microbiota consists of a wide variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other single-celled animals that live in the body. A brief presentation of the course, topics, experts. Sit back, relax and enjoy!

    • The functions of the gut microbiota

      In your opinion Would our health be adversely affected if we didn’t have a gut microbiota?

    • Physiological changes during the life-span

      In this activity, we will delve into the gut microbiota at different stages of life, and the many factors that play a role in shaping its composition (and subsequent function).

    • How to determine our gut microbiota

      In this activity, We will discuss about the different technologies, nowadays available for the analysis of the microbiota/microbiome.

    • Reflect on the week

      Share with us your thoughts about week 1

  • Week 2

    The Journey of Food

    • The link between food and microbiome

      What do you know about the link between food and microbiome? During this activity you will get the chance to improve your knowledge about this!

    • Foods as vectors of microorganisms (fermented foods)

      Fermented foods are produced exploiting the metabolic activities of microorganisms and for this reason some of them contain a high number of bacteria. yeasts and filamentous fungi.

    • Food meets your gut microbiota

      Learn about the digestion in the upper gut and how food structure affects this, considering also fibre and resistant starch.

    • Influence of different bioactive food components on gut microbiome

      Different components of our diet are beneficial for our health, however it is necessary to keep in mind that the effects that they exert are often linked to the activity of the gut microbiota.

    • Probiotics, prebiotics, postbiotics

      Do you know what is the difference between probiotic and prebiotic? Do you know that fermented foods most of the times cannot be considered as probiotics? During this activity you will understand why.

    • Reflect on the week

      Share your views about week 2.

  • Week 3

    The Journey of Healthy to Unhealthy

    • The link between health and microbiome

      We already underlined in previous steps the important link between diet, health and microbiome. Here you will get the chance to understand and learn more about this intimate connection.

    • Microbiota and human host partnership: when things go wrong (dysbiosis, leaky gut, etc.)

      Microbiota plays an essential role in maintaining our health. Come and learn what happens when this delicate equilibrium brakes.

    • Gut microbiota and immune health (infections, allergy, inflammatory bowel disease)

      In this step, you will learn how the gut microbiota communicates with the cells of the immune system localized at the intestine interface.

    • Gut microbiota and metabolic health: gut-liver-adipose tissue axes

      Diet can have an incredible role in the modulation of our gut microbiome and for this reason, based on the foods we eat, we can modify it and as a result our health be impacted positively or negatively.

    • Gut microbiota and mental health: gut-brain axis

      Gut microbota plays an essential role in producing molecules that can be moved around our body. The gut-brain axis is one of the most studied. Learn more about this.

    • Innovative approaches to modify the gut microbiota

      In the following step we will present a novel therapy to tackle antimicrobial resistance

    • Final assessment and 'take home message'

      What do you take with you at the end of this course? Check your knowledge and share your reflections with other learners.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe how the human microbiome changes throughout the human life
  • Reflect on the role of food in the modulation of human microbiome
  • Explain the functions that human microbiome has in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Reflect on the links between human microbiome and diseases
  • Discuss the topics of the course and their relationship with daily life
  • Assess the complexity of the human microbiome communities

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in subjects related to the human microbiome, how food can influence it, and how this resultantly impacts on human health.

The Educators won’t be able to join the discussions themselves or respond to individual comments, but the course encourages a strong learning community. The learning is focused around debate and discussion – supporting other learners, sharing your own experience and knowledge, and listening to new perspectives. We hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way.

Who will you learn with?

I’m a professor in food microbiology at the University of Torino, Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences. My research focuses on food safety and microbial ecology of fermented foods.

I am a researcher interested in the communication between the gut microbiota and the cells our body, and its consequences on health.

I'm a Lecturer in the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Reading. My research is focussed on better understanding the relationship between diet, gut microbiota and health

I am deputy Head of UK Food Databanks and a Group Leader in Diet & Health at QIB. My research focuses on the role of diet in preventing disease, and the interplay of nutrition with the gut microbiome.

Who developed the course?

EIT Food

EIT Food is Europe’s leading food initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

University of Turin

The University of Turin is one of the largest and most prestigious Italian universities, with about 70,000 students, 4,000 employees, and 1,800 research fellows, encompassing all academic sectors.

European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial skills in Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem.

Endorsers and supporters

content provided by

University of Reading

content provided by


content provided by

Microbion logo

content provided by

Quadram Institute Logo. Science Health Food Innovation

Ways to learn

Buy this course

Subscribe to Unlimited

Join with limited access

Choose the best way to learn for you!


One-off payment


Automatically renews


Unlock your expertiseAccess hundreds of coursesTry this course - with limits
Access to this courseticktickLimited to 3 weeks
Access to ALL eligible coursescrosstickcross
Learn at your own paceticktickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Tests to check your learningticktickcross
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Buy this course

Ways to learn

Subscribe to Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses or buy just this course for extra benefits. Or, join with limited access.

Subscribe to Unlimited


Automatically renews

Access hundreds of courses

  • Access to this course
  • Access to ALL eligible short courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Buy this course


One-off payment

Unlock your expertise

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Tests to boost your learning
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Join with limited access


Try before you buy

  • Limited access to course content for 3 weeks

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...