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Do antibiotics impact gut microbiome?

Millions of lives have been saved by antibiotics by lowering or eliminating pathogenic bacteria. However, we are now learning that excessive use of antibiotics might have the unexpected consequence of also lowering or eliminating resident bacteria that are crucial for gut health as well as raising the abundance of antibacterial resistance genes.


Antibiotics are just one of the many factors that might affect the gut microbiota, which is recognised to be important for host health. Reduced microbial diversity, changes to the functional properties of the microbiota, the emergence and selection of antibiotic-resistant strains, and increased susceptibility to infection by pathogens like Clostridium difficile are just a few of the detrimental effects that antibiotic-induced changes in microbial composition can have on hosts. Antibiotics have decreased or eliminated pathogenic bacteria.

 

Millions of lives have been saved by antibiotics by lowering or eliminating pathogenic bacteria. However, we are now learning that excessive use of antibiotics might have the unexpected consequence of also lowering or eliminating resident bacteria that are crucial for gut health as well as raising the abundance of antibacterial resistance genes.

 
What is Gut Microbiome?

All the bacteria that reside in your intestines, which serve as an extra crucial organ for your health, are collectively referred to as your "gut microbiome."


Antibiotics effects on the gut microbiome:-

There are numerous varieties of antibiotics. Some can target a variety of bacteria (broad-spectrum), whereas others will only focus on a small subset of bacteria (narrow-spectrum). Because the bacterium frequently responsible for infection is unknown, broad-spectrum antibiotics are most frequently used. Numerous effects on gut health associated with the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics have been noted, including:

  • Increased susceptibility to infections by (loss of potential competitors, lower expression of antibacterials and IgG, a decrease of neutrophil-mediated killing)

  • Compromised immune homeostasis leads to (inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma, necrotizing enterocolitis, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, etc)

  • Accumulation of antibiotic resistances via (establishment of resistant bacteria)

  • Elevated inflammatory tone by (altered insulin sensitivity altered metabolism of SCFA and bile acids, deregulated metabolism, obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes)

  • Diminishing the diversity of gut flora

  • Decreasing the range of beneficial species like Bifidobacterium species

  • Encouraging the growth of dangerous bacteria such Clostridium difficile, which can induce diarrhoea caused by antibiotics


Numerous vital metabolites, including SCFAs and amino acids, are produced by gut bacteria. According to studies, butyrate and propionate produced have anti-inflammatory effects and encourage the development and differentiation of regulatory T cells with functions in energy metabolism. Antibiotics influence the functionality of the microbiota, which impacts the metabolites generated

Alternatives to antibiotics and the use of probiotics to improve health and restore the microbial diversity.

It is now generally known that using antibiotics alters the makeup of microbes, with potentially harmful impacts on the host. To speed up the restoration of the microbial composition, specific strategies can be applied before, during, or after antibiotic therapy. Antibiotics can be used to boost the number of beneficial microbes in the body by boosting the diversity and number of them and stabilising the microbial community. Probiotics are widely used for this purpose and have been shown to decrease the effects of antibiotics on the human body. Probiotics inhibit the growth of non-commensals by out-competing them for resources and receptors on the intestinal mucosa, creating bacteriocins, enhancing gut barrier function, and controlling immunity. However, using probiotics may not completely restore the gut microbiota.


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