“Does the Gut Microbiome Ever Fully Recover From Antibiotics?’ Richard Klasco, M.D.
New York Times. December 21, 2018.
Summary: Although most microbes in the “gut’ grow back quickly and normally after stopping the use of antibiotics, there are some which take much longer to grow back, and some which may never grow to the same population density they once were.
This may have unknown effects on the body, but may contribute to certain health ailments, including inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease.
Connection: While microbes are generally thought to be fast growing, we have learned that some grow quite slowly, depending on their metabolism and physiology. If a microbe takes a long time to reach maximum population density, wiping them all out with an antimicrobial may have long term effects that cannot be easily undone by simply ceasing the use of the drug.
Critical Analysis: Without more knowledge on which specific species are affected long term by the use of antibiotics, it is hard to understand the full implications of the research. The human microbiome is a field with increasing focus and attention recently, and understanding the long term effects of some of these antibiotics may contribute to the development of less harmful medications which could help with the ever-growing problem of microbial antibiotic resistance.
Question: Could the use of certain probiotics help restore the population of some of these microbes in the gut following a course of antibiotics?