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Jan 07, 2016 07:32 AM EST

Common antibiotics can kill gut bacteria, lead to infections In

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A recent study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of North Carolina revealed that even one course of antibiotics can lead to infections by making the gut microbiota more vulnerable, Beacon Transcript reports. 

"We know that within a healthy gut environment, the growth of C. diff is inhibited," said Casey Theriot, an assistant professor of infectious disease at NC State, according to Science daily. 

"But we wanted to learn more about the mechanisms behind that inhibitory effect."

Theriot, along with the infectious diseases physician Vincent Young and undergraduate researcher Alison Bowman, looked at the intestinal contents of mice before and after treatment with many different antibiotics, as reported by news medical.

Bacteria in our gut help with the digestive process, fermenting carbohydrates and absorbing fat acids. It is estimated that the human gut has about 100 trillion microorganisms, which constitute microbiota, which help in the digestive process.

An antibiotic treatment may affect the liver by preventing the production of bile acid. Lack of bile can kill bacteria, leading to infection and digestive problems.

The primary bile acid produced by the liver enters the large intestines and becomes secondary bile acid that fights against the C.difficile. The lack of bile acid makes one vulnerable to infections caused by Clostridium difficile bacteria. The infections caused by the C.difficile are antibiotics-resistant.    

The Clostridium difficile bacteria can cause the inflammation of the large intestine, cause diarrhea and even mimic symptoms of the flu.

It is recommended that one should take probiotics along with a prescribed antibiotic treatment. A probiotic counters the negative effects of the antibiotic by helping the liver create bile acid to fight against the bad bacteria.

"These findings are a first step in understanding how the gut microbiota regulates bile acids throughout the intestine," says Theriot, according to Science Daily.

"Hopefully they will aid the development of future therapies for C. difficile infection and other metabolically relevant disorders such as obesity and diabetes."

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