Why a healthy Microbiome is important to your family.

<html><head><meta http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /><title></title><meta name="GENERATOR" content="OpenOffice 4.1.3 (Win32)" /><style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style></head><body dir="LTR"> <p align="CENTER" style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US"><b>Why a healthy Microbiome is important to your family.</b></span></p> <p lang="en-US" style="margin-bottom: 0in"><br /></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">Most of us know about microbes and have the tendency to avoid them, which is a healthy approach that saved thousands of lives since hygiene and sanitation made their way into society. Nowadays, preventing infections have become so important that some people even develop a pathological fear of being contaminated with germs. But we can’t really generalize by saying that all microbes are bad guys, some of them might be actually beneficial for our health.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">The majority of microbes in our bodies live in our skin and gastrointestinal system. The small intestine and colon are both sources of thousands of bacteria that replicate, grow and colonize the gastrointestinal lining. This happens in healthy individuals with no disease, and what’s more, adverse effects would ensue if these bacteria were absent. This normal ecosystem inside of us is referred to as “gut microbiome.”</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US"><b>The importance of good microbes for your family</b></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">The only moment in our lives when there are no microbes in our gastrointestinal system is while living in mama’s womb and closely after being born. That’s one of the reasons why people say newborns have an immature gut. They actually need to colonize their gut with good microbes, which starts happening when they are breastfed. Breast milk is the first source of probiotics we taste, and it helps to prevent severe infections from an early stage.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">Babies and young children also need a healthy gut microbiome for the same reason. They are especially susceptible to gastrointestinal disease, and when they don’t have good microbes, the ones that cause problems –pathogenic bacteria- have an open field to infect the mucosal linings. Thus, when good bacteria colonize our gut, this healthy microbiome is occupying the space and not letting pathogenic bacteria infect. The bacteria compete with each other and becomes a protective field to our colon, but that’s just the start.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">Immunity is an integral part of our health, and when our defenses are high, we don’t get sick as often. It turns out that a big part of immune system tissue is located in our gut, it is called GALT, which stands for “gut-associated lymphoid tissue.” A healthy microbiome is in close relation with GALT tissue and even modulates the immune response in healthy individuals. Having good microbes colonizing our gut creates signals capable of improving our defenses towards malicious germs, parasites, and viruses.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">In the elderly, the gut microbiota suffers some changes. In this stage of life, there are many physiological changes, the immune system functions differently, and there are lifestyle and nutritional changes as well. Some bacterial strains are increased, and others tend to be reduced. However, the significant influence of healthy microbiota in the elderly is related to systemic inflammation, which is a problem commonly seen in fragile older adults. There are many good microbes that modulate immunity and create anti-inflammatory products as a part of their own metabolism. Studies show that if we can modulate this microbiota with probiotics, they will improve their health and wellbeing.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">The gut microbiota is also a contributor to human nutrition. Vitamins are molecules that we need from the outside because they can’t be created inside our body. However, healthy microbiota is capable of producing folate, vitamin B12, and even vitamin K. Additionally, good microbes help with nutrient absorption because whatever is missed by our enzymes is taken by them. They can convert undigested carbohydrates into other molecules –acetate, propionate, and butyrate- that are easily absorbed or taken up by the colonic epithelium.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">By changing our gut microbiota, we can prevent diarrhea and gastrointestinal disease, and much more. There are studies about implications for patients with allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis and even psychiatric problems like depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, and autism. With all of these benefits, there’s no wonder why there’s actually ongoing investigation about human gut microbiota and how it can be modulated to improve these and many other health conditions. But what about our pets? Is there anything to say about microbiota in pets?</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US"><b>Healthy microbiota in animals</b></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">Veterinary medicine is entirely different sometimes when compared to humans. Not all principles apply the same. But in the case of gut microbiota, almost all of the facts we already mentioned in humans are also true in the case of pets and other animals. They also have good microbes colonizing their gut, and they are equally essential to keep them healthy.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">Of course, there are differences between us and our pets. Some of the microbes that colonize our gut also do the same on their organism, but not all. Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask your vet before giving your pet a probiotic product designed for humans.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US">Who would say that microbes could undergo so many changes in our perception? At first, they were entirely unknown, and they were not a part of ancient medical books. When they were discovered as the source of disease, they became our enemies. They are still feared by many and studied by others who have realized some of them have potentially useful applications in our lives. As the field of gut microbiota grows, our understanding of how we can modulate them will have more and more medical applications. Maybe in some ironic future, microbes will become an integral part of your drug prescription.</span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><span lang="en-US"><b>References:</b></span></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Round, J. L., &amp; Mazmanian, S. K. (2009). The gut microbiota shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>Nature Reviews Immunology</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">, </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>9</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">(5), 313.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Nicholson, J. K., Holmes, E., Kinross, J., Burcelin, R., Gibson, G., Jia, W., &amp; Pettersson, S. (2012). Host-gut microbiota metabolic interactions. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>Science</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">, 1223813.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Lozupone, C. A., Stombaugh, J. I., Gordon, J. I., Jansson, J. K., &amp; Knight, R. (2012). Diversity, stability, and resilience of the human gut microbiota. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>Nature</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">, </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>489</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">(7415), 220.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Sekirov, I., Russell, S. L., Antunes, L. C. M., &amp; Finlay, B. B. (2010). Gut microbiota in health and disease. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>Physiological reviews</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">, </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>90</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">(3), 859-904.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Cryan, J. F., &amp; Dinan, T. G. (2012). Mind-altering microorganisms: the impact of the gut microbiota on brain and behaviour. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>Nature reviews neuroscience</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">, </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>13</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">(10), 701.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Madan, J. C., Koestler, D. C., Stanton, B. A., Davidson, L., Moulton, L. A., Housman, M. L., ... &amp; Hampton, T. H. (2012). Serial analysis of the gut and respiratory microbiome in cystic fibrosis in infancy: interaction between intestinal and respiratory tracts and impact of nutritional exposures. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>MBio</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">, </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>3</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">(4), e00251-12.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Song, S. J., Lauber, C., Costello, E. K., Lozupone, C. A., Humphrey, G., Berg-Lyons, D., ... &amp; Gordon, J. I. (2013). Cohabiting family members share microbiota with one another and with their dogs. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>elife</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">, </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><i>2</i></span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">.</span></font></font></font></p> <p lang="en-US" style="margin-bottom: 0in"><br /></p> <p align="CENTER" style="margin-bottom: 0in; page-break-before: always"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><b>Why and how antibiotics destroy your healthy digestive bacteria?</b></span></font></font></font></p> <p lang="en-US" align="CENTER" style="margin-bottom: 0in"><br /></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">There’s almost no place in the earth without bacteria. Our skin, the food we eat, the water we drink, and even the mouse you’re using to scroll down has bacteria on it. The only way we can rid of bacterial organisms would be to sterilize everything we touch, which is something surgeons need to do in the operating room. But even so, what about your skin? What about your gut? They have plenty of healthy bacteria, and if they fail to colonize those areas, harmful microorganisms would easily cause severe health problems. The problem arises when we try to get rid of pathogenic bacteria and sweep our healthy microbiota in the process.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Antibiotic use has saved millions of lives and still does. Some of these molecules were discovered by accident, others through complex chemical engineering. As new antibiotic products reach the market, our capacity to kill bacteria is enhanced hundred-fold. However, sometimes patients –and even some physicians- abuse from antibiotics or misuse them. Some preventative therapies require long-term antibiotic use to avoid the risk of relapses, as in case of tuberculosis; and to prevent complication to existing health conditions, as in the case of cystic fibrosis. All of these approaches to antibiotic use can affect our healthy digestive bacteria along with disease-causing microorganisms. But is it really concerning?</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><b>What happens in your gut after taking antibiotics?</b></span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Antibiotic therapy, even when correctly applied, causes changes in the quantity and diversity of digestive bacteria. In recent years, more and more researchers have been interested in understanding how these changes affect our gut microbiome. They have realized that when there are subsequent rounds of antibiotic therapy, the diversity of gut microbiota is reduced, and the recovery is usually incomplete. In other words, antibiotics sweep clean our gut from good guys and bad guys, and when it’s finished, we may even have problems recovering what we lost.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">For example, many studies have reported that, even after short-term antibiotic use, the gut microbiota experiences an increase in Enterococcus species and decrease in other healthy bacteria such as Bifidobacteria. The Enterococcus bacteria do not usually cause gastrointestinal disease, but when the patient is an older adult, a hospitalized patient, or has a weak immune system, it can cause serious infections and even spread through the bloodstream. These changes can be reverted in 2 days when we are healthy, but in some cases, the effects take up to 6 weeks and more to get back to normal.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">However, we all have different strains of healthy bacteria in our gut, and there’s no one single truth for us all. There are variations in the gut microbiota for each person, variations in antibiotic use, dose, and whether they are taken in pills, injected or inhaled. The interaction between antibiotics and our healthy bacteria depends on all of those factors, but also our genetics, our diet and health problems. That’s why many patients may experience diarrhea after taking antibiotics while others are more resilient and do not have any adverse effect.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Every single antibiotic has a different target group of bacteria, and differences in their mode of action. That’s why each group of antibiotics modulates our gut bacteria in different ways. Sometimes, doctors detect the bacteria causing disease are resistant to multiple drugs, and they need to use more than one antibiotic, or broad-spectrum antibiotics. This type of therapy is even more aggressive and takes out the disease-causing bacteria, but affects your gut more deeply than simple antibiotic treatment for a short time.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">As you can see, there are many factors involved in antibiotic therapy and how it modulates our digestive bacteria. Some of these factors can’t be easily controlled or haven’t been studied thoroughly in this context, for example, stress, genetics, and diet. This is the reason why it is challenging for researchers to investigate precisely all of the effects of antibiotics in our microbiota. They have made many advances, though, especially with the most commonly used antibiotic groups, for example, macrolides and beta-lactams.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><b>Macrolides and gut microbiota</b></span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">They are, for example, azithromycin and erythromycin. However, azithromycin is used more frequently because it has less adverse effects on our gastrointestinal system. Clarithromycin is also widely used, but according to a study performed in three adults with gastrointestinal ulcers, it suppresses the species Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Clostridium. Clarithromycin also increases the rate of Enterococcus, Klebsiella, and even Pseudomonas species, which can cause many diseases in hospitalized patients.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">However, as we may expect for the reasons we mentioned before, there are studies with different results. For example, a study performed in 2011 with healthy adults showed that macrolides caused an increase in the rate of Streptococcus species. According to this study, antibiotic treatment with macrolides does not cause a very dramatic effect on the gut microbiota. Interpreting this data can be quite challenging, and physicians always compare them to the signs and symptoms experienced by their patient, their health status, age, and other relevant data.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><b>Beta-lactams and gut microbiota</b></span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">They are the most widely known and used group of antibiotics and include all types of penicillin, cephalosporin, and other subgroups. They are used to control infections in the respiratory system, skin, and many other systems because they have very broad activity against various types of bacteria. When the normal microbiota is altered with a beta-lactam, other species start to increase, for example, Bacteroides, Faecalibacterium, and Enterococcus. Bacteroides species and Enterococcus are both opportunistic pathogens, which means that in certain conditions they can cause severe disease, especially in immunocompromised patients, after surgery or trauma to the intestinal mucosa.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Antibiotic treatment is useful and saves lives every day, but they should be used with caution. No wonder why they are prescription drugs and should be used following the advice of your doctor. These molecules can change our gut microbiota dramatically, with many consequences if we are susceptible to them.</span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US"><b>References:</b></span></font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Blaser, M. (2011). Antibiotic overuse: stop the killing of beneficial bacteria. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>Nature</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">, </font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>476</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">(7361), 393.</font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">Iapichino, G., Callegari, M. L., Marzorati, S., Cigada, M., Corbella, D., Ferrari, S., &amp; Morelli, L. (2008). </font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Impact of antibiotics on the gut microbiota of critically ill patients. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>Journal of Medical Microbiology</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">, </font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>57</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">(8), 1007-1014.</font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">O'sullivan, O., Coakley, M., Lakshminarayanan, B., Conde, S., Claesson, M. J., Cusack, S., ... </font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">&amp; Ross, R. P. (2012). Alterations in intestinal microbiota of elderly Irish subjects post-antibiotic therapy. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">, </font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>68</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">(1), 214-221.</font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">Jakobsson, H. E., Jernberg, C., Andersson, A. F., Sjölund-Karlsson, M., Jansson, J. K., &amp; Engstrand, L. (2010). Short-term antibiotic treatment has differing long-term impacts on the human throat and gut microbiome. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>PloS one</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">, </font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>5</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">(3), e9836.</font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">Pérez-Cobas, A. E., Artacho, A., Knecht, H., Ferrús, M. L., Friedrichs, A., Ott, S. J., ... </font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">&amp; Gosalbes, M. J. (2013). Differential effects of antibiotic therapy on the structure and function of human gut microbiota. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>PloS one</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">, </font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>8</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">(11), e80201.</font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">Morotomi, N., Fukuda, K., Nakano, M., Ichihara, S., Oono, T., Yamazaki, T., ... </font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><span lang="en-US">&amp; Taniguchi, H. (2011). Evaluation of intestinal microbiotas of healthy Japanese adults and effect of antibiotics using the 16S ribosomal RNA gene based clone library method. </span></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">, </font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2"><i>34</i></font></font></font><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">(7), 1011-1020.</font></font></font></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in"><font color="#222222"><font face="Arial, serif"><font size="2">Monreal, M. T. F. D., Pereira, P. C. M., &amp; Lopes, C. A. D. M. 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