Previous issues of this newsletter have contained articles about the importance of the gut microbiome and human health in general and more specifically in good immune function. In this regard the use (and overuse) of antibiotics has come under intense scrutiny. This includes therapeutic antibiotics and those used in our food production. The premise here is that the antibiotics kill off some of our healthy microbiome and can lead to an overgrowth of “undesirables”.
A recent article published in “Nature” details research on the impact of non-antibiotic medications on the healthy microbiome. The investigators screened over 1,000 different medicines and found that 24% of them alter the healthy microbiome. The drugs that seemed to be the worst were antipsychotics and other psychoactive drugs, proton pump inhibitors, anti-cancer drugs and hormones.
What is a bit unsettling, is that this same research group has found preliminary evidence that an altered microbiome can promote some psychiatric and neurological diseases. So, the concern is that maybe the treatment that is supposed to help the condition might also contribute to it.
The researchers say more studies are needed to clarify these issues.