functional medicine gut microbiomeAccording to a new study published 3 days ago, researchers demonstrated that a single course of antibiotics was strong enough to alter the gastrointestinal microbiome for up to one year.

Antibiotics successfully fight infectious diseases and significantly reduce illness and death. There is definitely a time and place for these medications. However, many doctors still commonly over prescribe antibiotics.

In the US, antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause at least 2 million cases of disease and 23,000 fatalities annually.

In this study, the microbial diversity was severely affected for months after exposure in the healthy adults prescribed different antibiotics. Researchers specifically saw a decline in the abundance of butyrate producing bacteria.

The microbial diversity in the stool was significantly reduced for up to 4 months in participants taking clindamycin and up to 12 months in those taking ciprofloxacin. Amoxicillin had no significant effect on microbiome diversity, however, it was associated with the greatest number of antibiotic-resistant genes.

If a patient is prescribed a course of antibiotics, it is crucial he or she concurrently take Saccharomyces boulardii. This non-pathogenic yeast that protects the microbiome during antibiotic therapy. S. boulardii is one of my favorite gastrointestinal support products as it is protective to the intestinal epithelial cells and maintaining intestinal barrier function. It also increases SIgA secretion, directly inhibits colonization of harmful bacteria, and restores normal intestinal function in patients with diarrhea.

With the growing levels of antibiotic resistance and exit of major pharmaceutical companies from antibiotic development really makes phage therapy another great treatment option for the growing number of untreatable infections. They have a 80 to 90 percent success rate against bacteria likely to show antibiotic resistance, such as Escherichia coli.

In addition, there are many botanical extracts, essential oils, and silver that have a long history of antimicrobial properties while being relatively sparing to the beneficial bacteria that should be considered.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN

Source: E. Zaura, B. Brandt, M. Mattos, M. Buijs, M Caspers, M. Rashid, A Weintraub, C. Nord, A. Savell, Y. Hu, A. Coates, M. Hubank, D. Spratt, M. Wilson, B. Keijser, W. Crielaard. Same Exposure but Two Radically Different Responses to Antibiotics: Resilence of the Salivary Microbioe versus Long-Term Microbial Shifts in Feces. mBio. Nov. 10, 2015.

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