The gut microbiota is essential in digestive processes. Gut bacteria are capable of harvesting energy from the fermentation process of carbohydrates, and the absorption of fatty acids. A new study reveals that antibiotics fend off friendly gut bacteria, thus promoting a window of opportunity for the Clostridium difficile bacteria.
In both animals and humans, the gut microbiota is considered to be a highly complex community of microorganisms. It has been estimated that the human gut contains no less than 100 trillion of such microorganism, which helps us break down food and facilitates other bodily functions.
Moreover, it would seem that the little critters are even responsible for laying down the pathway for neuron creation. For some time now, it has been known that the use of antibiotics can impact the gut microbiota. That’s why any physician would recommend his patient to take probiotics after finishing a course of antibiotics.
Probiotics can help our intestinal flora rejuvenate after an aggressive course of antibiotics. The more vulnerable our gut microbiota is, the more susceptible it is to infection.
This is what a team of scientists from North Carolina State University wanted to prove. During their tests on lab mice, the team of medical researchers has discovered that even a single course of antibiotics can leave the gut microbiota vulnerable of Clostridium difficile.
The main reason why the Clostridium difficile bacteria thrive is because antibiotics manage to kill the friendly gut bacteria responsible for regulating the amount of bile acid.
Clostridium difficile infection can induce a form of colitis, which is basically an inflammation of the large intestine. C.dfficile can form from spores and it is also capable of causing diarrhea in a patient. According to several observations, it would seem that the bacteria is capable of mimicking all the symptoms of the flu.
Antibiotics fend off friendly gut bacteria, replacing them with the noxious Clostridium difficile bacteria. On the subject of bile acids, it would seem that the primary bile acids are produced inside our liver from cholesterol.
After leaving the liver, the primary bile acids travel to large intestines where it is broken down into other components, such as secondary bile acids. These secondary bile acids are very important because they make sure that C. difficile cannot fester in our bowels.
The team of scientists working on the project managed to identify approximately 26 different bile acids in mice. Moreover, it would seem that the spores of C. difficile continue to thrive regardless of antibiotic.
In conclusion, the scientists found out that if the bacteria capable of producing secondary bile acid, then the C.difficile spores will not affect the host.