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Experts are investigating the use of probiotics
An investigation showed that taking probiotics does not seem to be recommended for everyone. Probiotics are actually widely advertised as a cure for various types of indigestion, but experts claim that antibiotics-related probiotics can also cause very serious bowel disorders.
In their current study, the scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science found that probiotics, when taken with antibiotics, can lead to serious disorders in intestinal health. The doctors published the results of two different studies in the English-language journal "Cell".
Should antibiotics and probiotics be taken together?
Probiotics are often used to combat various types of indigestion. Many GPs even recommend taking probiotics along with antibiotics. In a recent study, however, doctors found that taking probiotics together with antibiotics did not prove to be as beneficial for intestinal health as was previously thought.
What is the gut microbiome?
The so-called gut microbiome is the sum of all microorganisms that live in a person's gut. The gut microbiome plays an important role in human health. Recent research has shown that probiotics, typically found in supplements or foods like yogurt, kimchi, or kefir, can prevent the gut microbiome of patients from returning to normal when people have taken antibiotics.
Microbiomes were severely disrupted by antibiotics
In the first of two research published in the Cell journal, the researchers performed endoscopy and colonoscopy to examine the gut microbiomes of people who had taken antibiotics before and after probiotic consumption. The experts found that the microbiomes of those who had taken the probiotics had suffered a very serious disorder. Once the probiotics colonized the intestine, they completely inhibited the return of the original microbiome that was disrupted during antibiotic treatment, says study author Eran Elinav from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Gene expression, the process by which gene DNA is converted into a functional gene product such as protein or RNA, was also disrupted in the intestines of the people who had taken the probiotics. The harmful effects lasted for six months.
What happens when people get their original microbiome back?
However, these adverse effects have not been observed in a group of people who were given back the original microbiome that was removed before antibiotics were used. The microbiome normalized in these people within a few days, says Elinav. But reintroducing the original microbiome after antibiotics was probably not a solution for everyone taking antibiotics, the expert warned.
Are stool samples suitable for examining intestinal health?
The scientists also compared the intestinal microbiomes of the intestinal tract of 25 volunteers with those of their stool. They found that stool bacteria only partially correlated with the microbiomes that function in the body. The fact that researchers rely almost exclusively on stool for microbiome research may not be a reliable way to study the health of the gut microbiome, Elinav says.
Do probiotics work the same way in all people?
In a second piece of research, the experts then examined the colonization and influence of probiotics on 15 people by means of sampling in the gastrointestinal tract. They divided the individuals into two groups: one group received a preparation from eleven strains of very commonly used probiotics, and the other subjects received a placebo.
The participants who received probiotics could be divided into two different groups: a group that resisted colonization of the probiotics, and a group in which the probiotics colonized the intestine and changed the composition of the intestinal microbiome and genes. This suggests that the current paradigm of universal probiotic preparation and treatment should be replaced by tailored therapy based on science, measurement and technology, explains study author Elinav. With a tailor-made approach, probiotics would have a better chance of improving health. (as)