Single dose of antibiotic therapy can cause long-term gut damage

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prescription-pills(NaturalHealth365) The statistics are sobering: in the United States alone, antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause 23,000 fatalities and at least 2 million new cases of disease annually. But if you think antibiotic resistance only comes about with massive and repeated rounds of antibiotics, think again.

Science shows that just one dose of antibiotic ‘therapy’ not only contributes to antibiotic resistance, but also brings about long-term damage to the microbes living in the gut. Many of the intestinal bacteria destroyed by antibiotics play a significant role in the body’s natural defense system against cancer and other disease conditions.

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Just one dose: Science reveals the true danger of antibiotics inside the gut

European researchers recently reported study results showing even a single course of antibiotics is capable of disrupting the healthy population of microorganisms in the gut. Just as disturbing, the results can last up to a year and contribute to antibiotic resistance.

In their study, 66 healthy adults from the United Kingdom and Sweden were randomly assigned to receive a full course of one of four antibiotics – ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, amoxicillin or minocycline – or a placebo. The researchers did not know which antibiotic any given participant took throughout the course of the study.

Fecal and saliva samples were collected from the subjects at the start of the study, then again immediately after beginning the study drugs. Additional samples were taken at one, two, four and 12-month intervals after finishing a single course of antibiotics.  Results showed the drugs caused a notable increase in genes associated with antibiotic resistance, while seriously impacting the diversity of microbes in the gut and causing changes still evident months after initial exposure.

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All antibiotics are NOT created equal and the results can be devastating

Researchers have reported differences among the various antibiotics utilized in the study. Specifically, the health-related bacteria in the gut were significantly reduced for up to four months in participants taking clindamycin and up to 12 months in those taking ciprofloxacin. Amoxicillin showed a less dramatic shift in microbial populations, but was the largest contributor to increased antibiotic resistance.

Researchers noted that participants from the UK came into the study with more antibiotic resistance than did the subjects from Sweden. This could be due to cultural differences and the significant decline in antibiotic use in Sweden over the past 15 or 20 years.

Lead author Egija Zaura, PhD, an associate professor in oral microbial ecology at the Academic Centre for Dentistry in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, wrote that microorganisms in study participants’ feces were severely affected by most of the antibiotics, with changes lasting for months. More specifically, researchers reported a decrease in the number of desirable microbes that produce butyrate – which inhibits inflammation, combats cancer and reduces stress in the gut.

Lifesaving question: How do antibiotics increase the risk of disease?

While antibiotic resistance may be at the center of the research results, the affects on microbial populations in the gut have other far-reaching impacts. Earlier research has shown that antibiotics can alter critical gut microbiota that affect the body’s vulnerability to contracting a number of infectious diseases.

These differences in intestinal flora may have a much greater influence on overall health and wellbeing. For example, did you know that changes in the gut’s microbe population can leave the body vulnerable to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, obesity, inflammation of the gut, malabsorption and food allergies?

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Jonathan LandsmanAbout the author: Jonathan Landsman is the host of, the NaturalHealth365 Talk Hour – a free, weekly health show and the NaturalHealth365 INNER CIRCLE – a monthly subscription to the brightest minds in natural health and healing.

Reaching hundreds of thousands of people, worldwide, as a personal health consultant, writer and radio talk show host – Jonathan has been educating the public on the health benefits of an organic (non-GMO) diet along with high-quality supplementation and healthy lifestyle habits including exercise and meditation.


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  • Robin Victoria

    This is known, which is why people are told to buy yogurt. However, it isn’t the doctors they hear it from it is from other individuals.

    This may help some, but it will not cut it. Once you eradicate the healthy bacteria it is a job to get them back. There are many strains and you really have no idea how to get the right combination of bacteria.

    What people don’t realize is it could take a long time to replenish what they had. Another point there usually isn’t a one time dose of this horrendous stuff.

  • Martin Tyler

    Amoxicillin is the standby antibiotic. It is generally given in dental offices and for common conditions. The problem is it is handed out like candy.

    The fact is it is considered safe with the least amount of side effects. This means it is the most likely to be in our water supply and other environmental areas.

    There is nothing safe when you are over exposed to it. This is the real problem-the amount of antibiotics given is out of the range of safe.

    • John

      It is also a very misunderstood, ignored, and poorly studied fact that dosing of antibiotics is way too generalized and based on primitive understanding of how antibiotics work in the body. When you look at statistics of how cancer and many degenerative diseases are on the rise, it becomes clear that what medicine is doing to people today is not working. In fact, in many cases it is creating more disease and damage to people than is being admitted.

  • Nancy G

    Antibiotics are used as a quick fix for everything. What I would like to see is people with strong immune systems. The gut is where the immune system resides, so why would you compromise it?

    It could be for a lack of understanding of human health or a out of control pharmaceutical industry.

  • Nurse Lori

    I am a nurse and have seen antibiotics given to asthmatic children as a precaution. These kids come in a few times a year so they get more than their fair share of antibiotics.

    This is a widespread practice. Also, giving a prescription for a sore throat without waiting for a throat cultures to come back-should be considered malpractice.

    Doctors are protected, but the public isn’t. What I do for my family is wait to we find out what type of infection is at play before taking anything.

  • Charlie F

    First line of defense should be high doses of vitamin C. You will never hear that from a doctor, what a shame.

  • Alison Falk

    One round of antibiotics increases the risk of breast cancer. Very few people are lucky enough to only have one round of antibiotics. How come everyone gets the message, but the doctors.

  • Pc

    Are natural plant anti biotics like oregano oil and grape seed extract safe?

  • sfrobink

    There is one area of treatment, however, that is utilizing antibiotic treatment, and that is for treating Lyme disease and co-infections, which can be strongly routed by them. We take a lot of probiotics too. After initial antibiotic treatments, many treat with other modalities, like herbs, oxygen, energy treatments, etc.

  • GMD

    You can preach all the anti-antibiotic propaganda, but you are off-base. As a Lyme patient, the ONLY relief I ever had was when I could get IV ABX. From 2002-2008/2009, I was normal. Of course, I had good probiotics, digestive enzymes, minerals, herbs, and candida treatment simultaneously. The problem is not antibiotics, but not using them properly. With animals getting antibiotics and growth hormones, and GMO foods we are poisoned before we start. Without going through the 24/7 torture of Lyme you cannot understand the suffering. Without going into the years involved, I can say this. The medical establishment fed me prednisone for years and years, put amalgam in my mouth, made me keep dead teeth. When my body just could not take it anymore, I was DESERTED, treated like nothing was wrong, and they gave me more prednisone, which only made me more sick. They would not look for a cause, they would only treat me like a criminal. I am not alone in my battle. Even the very criminal and stupid CDC admits there are at least 300,000 new cases of Lyme in the United States alone every year. We suffer untold misery, told we only have mental problems, left untreated to suffer the torture. We are told, “at least you don’t have cancer.” We die, and many more times wish we were dead so we did not have to wake up to another day of torture.

  • GMD

    You are also very wrong saying doctors give antibiotics out easily. You harp on this, but your are wrong. More likely you will hear “You have a complicated medical history,” “You are fired as a patient,” as you are screamed at “shut up, shut up,” If you want to make most doctors very angry just ask what the cause of your medical problem is. I do not want to be nice to doctors, they are not nice to patients. There are are a few exceptions, but not many.

  • Eva

    Would you share, please, the name of the doctor who tests the DNA expression, to determine the optimal dose of D3?

  • Annie

    One dose of Levoquin (for a UTI – which she did not have) killed my mother’s colon. She got C. difficile, so they removed her colon. She went to the ER with leg weakness and came out 2 weeks later with a colostomy bag. That was the start of her downfall and eventual death. She never had any bowel issues and was in good health. I wish I knew about fecal transplant at the time. 🙁