SEP 26, 2018 7:25 AM PDT

Is Good Bacteria Still Good?

WRITTEN BY: Nicholas Breehl

Many people make use of probiotics to help increase their gut health. Probiotics are defined as living bacteria that aid in your digestive system. Probiotics are considered to be good bacteria. But a recent study performed by a team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, including immunologist Eran Elinav, reveals new insights into our understanding of these good bacteria.


Probiotics are widely given to patients after they have gone through a round of antibiotic therapy. Antibiotics are often prescribed as a result of a severe infection to help the patient’s immune system in clearing the overall host bacterial load. But, as it is the nature of antibiotics, in addition to the elimination of the infection or harmful bacteria, the commensal bacteria in the gut die as well, this process is known as dysbiosis. An adverse outcome of dysbiosis is antibiotic-associated-diarrhea, causing extreme loss of fluids and electrolytes. Severe dehydration, untreated, can lead to death.


One of the proposed methods to reconstitute the gut bacteria is to take probiotics. However, Elinav and team recognize that this avenue has not been entirely researched for its efficacy. Most studies that have explored this question will utilize a stool sample to get an idea of the current microbiome. Elinav and team have asked the question, what is the difference in individuals that take probiotics after taking antibiotics when compared to individuals who do not take probiotics after antibiotics? The researchers also included the results of individuals who utilize an autologous (self) fecal microbiome transplant.


“We invasively examined the effects of multi-strain probiotics or autologous fecal microbiome transplantation (aFMT) on post-antibiotic reconstitution of the murine and human mucosal microbiome niche,” states the team.


The researchers found that antibiotics increased the probiotic colonization in the human mucosa but only slightly improved in mice. Interestingly, the team also discovered that when compared to spontaneous post-antibiotic recovery, probiotics seemed to cause a delayed and incomplete indigenous stool/microbiome environment. The autologous fecal microbiome transplant, however, resulted in a rapid and near-complete recovery in only a few days.


The results suggest probiotics used after antibiotic treatment may hinder the gut’s ability to return its microbiome to homeostasis quickly. 


Elinav shares that, “collectively, potential post-antibiotic probiotic benefits may be offset by a compromised gut mucosal recovery, highlighting a need of developing aFMT or personalized probiotic approaches achieving mucosal protection without compromising microbiome recolonization in the antibiotics-perturbed host.”


Additionally, though this study did not measure the clinical effects of the prolonged gut disturbances associated, previous studies make connections between alterations in the gut homeostasis to inflammation, obesity, and allergies. It is important to remember that when taking antibiotics to do so in a safe manner and heed the instructions provided by the physician prescribing them to avoid any adverse effects of the therapy may bring with it.

Sources: New Scientist, Cell, WebMD, MayoClinic

About the Author
You May Also Like
DEC 25, 2020
Immunology
A High-Fat Diet Starves Immune Cells, Tumor Growth Goes Unchecked
DEC 25, 2020
A High-Fat Diet Starves Immune Cells, Tumor Growth Goes Unchecked
  Sitting down to enjoy an indulgent Christmas feast? A recent study in mice by Harvard Medicine scientists found t ...
JAN 28, 2021
Immunology
Killers With a Hit on the Spike
JAN 28, 2021
Killers With a Hit on the Spike
Natural killer cells, or NK cells, are specialized immune cells of the innate immune system. Their job revolves around e ...
MAR 11, 2021
Immunology
Bye-Bye Burning: A New UTI Vaccine
MAR 11, 2021
Bye-Bye Burning: A New UTI Vaccine
Researchers have developed a vaccine that “trains” the bladder to fight back against the bacteria that cause ...
APR 01, 2021
Immunology
The Curious Case of COVID Immunity...a Threat to Vaccination Efforts?
APR 01, 2021
The Curious Case of COVID Immunity...a Threat to Vaccination Efforts?
After COVID infection, there’s a spectrum of diversity in how long antibodies against the coronavirus hang around& ...
APR 05, 2021
Cancer
Introducing DeepTCR, the deep-learning software for T-cell receptor sequencing data
APR 05, 2021
Introducing DeepTCR, the deep-learning software for T-cell receptor sequencing data
A team from the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center is introdu ...
APR 27, 2021
Neuroscience
Leaky Blood-Brain Barrier Linked to Schizophrenia
APR 27, 2021
Leaky Blood-Brain Barrier Linked to Schizophrenia
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania have found that people with schizophrenia may have a more permeable bloo ...
Loading Comments...