The human body is home to more bacteria than cells. In their entirety, they are referred to as our microbiome. It affects the metabolism, the immune system and the mind.
Scary is that the bacterial community in our microbiome is increasingly impoverished. In addition to lifestyle, they are also responsible for numerous drugs.
Research on the microbiome focuses on the bacterial community in the human intestine. It is the place where a variety of microbial species performs all kinds of tasks. These range from digestion to the production of the serotonin of the happiness hormone.
Many have already suffered microbiome damage from antibiotics. Because they attack all kinds of bacteria – those that cause disease, but also those that are useful to us.
Such an attack can manifest itself with nausea, abdominal spasms and diarrhea. For the microbiome, however, the consequences are even more drastic: in the short term, it loses some of its roommates and therefore no longer works properly.
Some studies, such as the 2018 Molecular Biology Laboratory, show that not only antibiotics but also a variety of other drugs have this effect. The study tested the effect of 1,000 drugs on 40 common intestinal bacteria. The result: 27 percent of the active ingredients have a similar negative effect on our microbiome. Subsequently, they also promote antibiotic resistance.
Some of the drugs, which are among those of 27 percent, are proton pump inhibitors (used mainly in heartburn, gastritis and gastric antacids), as well as several antipsychotics and depressants.
The microbiome researcher Jillian Petersen of the University of Vienna is convinced of the complex interaction between human and intestinal microbiome and drugs. The problem, however, is that science is far from knowing all types of bacteria.
"A few weeks ago there was another study that described 2000 new human bacterial strains that we didn't know before," says Petersen. Breaking them all is a huge challenge. There is not even a definition of the ideal microbiome.
Everyone has a different microbiome. It is made up of hundreds of thousands of different types of bacteria. The different biomes overlap at a maximum of 10 percent. It's like a kind of microbial fingerprint. Several compositions alone do not provide any information on the health or susceptibility of a person to the disease.
However, science notes that the fingerprint is becoming increasingly impoverished. The bacteria disappear more and more. This can be largely due to the current use of drugs. "And once we have lost the bacterial species, we cannot transfer them to the next generation and the next generations will not be able to regain them from the environment," says Petersen.
Sometimes, the loss of bacteria explains a variety of common diseases such as obesity, diabetes, allergies and asthma. In addition, the increase in inflammatory bowel diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease or colorectal cancer may have their causes in the contraction of bacteria.
Some researchers are therefore working to identify particularly beneficial bacteria and use them as drugs. One method for this is fecal transplantation, which is already standardized in the United States.
David Berry of the Department of Microbiology and Research on the Ecosystem of the University of Vienna explains: "C & # 39; is a bench for chairs there, comparable to an organ bank for which healthy volunteers donate their feces ".
After an antibiotic treatment, pathogens use the window of one or two months in which the microbiome recovers. As a result, it is often intestinal inflammation and diarrhea.
In such infections, antibiotics are usually prescribed again – a vicious circle begins. Fecal transplants are more successful because they "position the beneficial competitors in the intestine displaces pathogenic bacteria," explains Berry.
A healthy lifestyle, a balanced diet, outdoor exercise and listening to the body are the most important factors for our health. You should never take drugs easily.
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