Antibiotics Can Affect the Gut
Even what seem to be gentle antibiotics may severely disrupt the balance of microbes living in the gut, with unforeseen consequences, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
An intimate study of three women given ciprofloxacin showed the drug suppressed entire populations of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. At least one of the participants took months to recover.
"The effect of ciprofloxacin on the gut microbiota was profound and rapid," wrote researchers Les Dethlefsen and David Relman of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
The study, though small, supports the conventional wisdom that antibiotics not only can eliminate harmful bacteria, they can also suppress the "good germs" living in the body. It may also support the concept behind the development of so-called probiotic products, such as yogurt, with live cultures of bacteria.