Health News: Effects of Antibiotics on Gut Flora Analyzed

Antibiotics produce changes in the microbial and metabolic patterns of the gut. Researchers have analyzed for the first time the bacteria, genes, enzymes, and molecules that form the gut microbiota of patients treated with antibiotics and published the results in the online journal Gut.

In the gut live one trillion bacteria—known as microbiota or gut flora—that have coevolved in symbiosis with humans. According to this study, treatment with antibiotics can alter this symbiosis from early stages of the treatment. “Although some of the changes … can be reversed at the end of the treatment, others seem irreversible,” says one of the coordinators of the study, Andrés Moya. The biodiversity of the bacteria that form the gut microbiota decreases during the treatment to the point of reaching its minimum 11 days after the beginning. However, at the end of the treatment, the situation is reversed and the patient presents a bacterial population similar to the first.