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Research: Not only antibiotics, every fourth remedy destroys our intestinal flora


New harmful side effects are discovered with each fourth drug

It is known that antibiotics are a killer of bacteria that fight against beneficial and harmful bacteria. In addition, a recent study revealed that more than one in four drugs affects bacteria of natural origin in the human intestine. This previously unknown side effect could have long-term adverse effects on health and also contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance without taking antibiotics.

A European research team from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory found an unknown effect previously unknown in more than a quarter of the more than 1,000 drugs studied. According to the study, every fourth drug has a detrimental effect on up to 40 different bacterial species, which are of crucial importance to our intestinal flora (microbioma). The exact effects of this influence are still unknown. The researchers think that they are likely to have a long term negative effect on health. The results of the study were recently presented in the so-called "Nature" magazine.

A large current research discovered a previously unknown side effect in each fourth drug. Apparently, many more medications affect our intestinal flora than previously thought. Currently, the consequences for health are unknown. (Image: Andreas Schindl /

Intestinal flora is gaining importance in health research

Studies in the last decade have repeatedly demonstrated the importance of the composition of the intestinal microbiomy for general health. It has been known that antibiotics cause massive damage to the intestinal flora. However, this effect also occurs in many antibiotics, but previously it was unknown to this point.

This is just the tip of the iceberg

The current study on nature describes for the first time as one in four non-antibiotic drugs inhibits the growth of various intestinal bacteria. This unknown side effect was found in medications of all therapeutic classes. "How many types of medications affect the intestinal microbes were really amazing," says the Peer Bork group leader in a press release on the results of the study. Bork only takes into account this discovery for the tip of the iceberg. The data from the study suggest that the actual number of medications with this secondary effect is even greater.

Side effects with unknown consequences

"We do not yet know how most of these drugs work with microbes, how these effects are manifested in the human host and how this affects, for example, the health of patients," adds colleague Kiran Patil. This relationship should be investigated quickly to improve the understanding and effectiveness of existing drugs.

Resistance to antibiotics without antibiotics

In addition to the potential health risks, the influence of intestinal microbes could also contribute to the development of resistance to antibiotics without the use of antibiotics. The researchers explain that this is related to the general mechanisms of resistance that work against antibiotics and other drugs. "It's really terrifying, considering that people take medication all their lives, often for long periods of time," explains Tip Types of the study team.

In the field of intestinal bacteria, there is still a lot to be understood

"Fortunately, not all antibiotics affect intestinal bacteria and not all resistances will continue to spread," says Typas. Curiously, resistance to certain antibiotics may even increase the effectiveness of certain antibiotics. This, in turn, opens up new possibilities to combine optimum medications.

Everyone has a different intestinal flora

"All people differ in the composition of the microbiome, which could explain why different patients react differently to the same drugs," says Georg Zeller of the research team. In addition to some bacterial species that we all have in common, some people would have completely different bacterial tensions within their microbiome, said the expert. This speaks in favor of a personalized treatment adapted to the individual intestinal microbiome of the patient. You can find more information about the intestinal flora in the article: Build intestinal flora: This is how it works!

The intestine has a great impact on our health

The exact effects of intestinal microbes are still being investigated in numerous investigations. It is becoming increasingly clear that the microbial in the bowel has a great impact on our general health. For example, the secret of a healthy heart is in the intestinal flora. This was recently discovered by another research team at the University of Colorado Boulder. The researchers showed that changes in the intestinal microbiomy can affect the health of the heart with age. (Vb)

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