Monday, February 4, 2019

Antibiotics disrupt gut bacteria, impact bone health

A new study about the side effects of antibiotic treatment reveals that it may dysregulate post pubertal skeletal development by interfering with gut bacteria.

The trillions of bacteria living in our bodies are crucial for our health. They support the gastrointestinal and immune systems. They also help the body absorb nutrients from foods and supplements. People often call the "good" bacteria within us "commensal," because they live together in harmony without causing any harm. However, we often treat the "bad" microbes that cause disease using antibiotics.

Some researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston specialize in osteoimmunology, the "interface of the skeletal and immune systems." The scientists analyzed the impact of antibiotics on post pubertal skeletal development and published their results in The American Journal of Pathology. The study demonstrated that antibiotic disruption of the gut microbiota causes a proinflammatory response that may lead to less bone resorption, a process by which osteoclasts, or large bone cells, release the minerals and transfer them to the blood.

According to Chad M. Novince, Ph.D. — who studies the link between microbiome and skeletal health — the study "introduces antibiotics as a critical exogenous modulator of gut microbiota osteoimmune response during post pubertal skeletal development."

The post pubertal phase of development supports the accumulation of about 40 percent of peak bone mass. Previous research by Novince and team had already shown that the gut
microbiota contributes to skeletal health.

In the new study, scientists found that levels of osteoclastic signaling molecules were increased in the circulation of animals that they had treated with antibiotics. These findings led them to believe that increased osteoclast activity may be the result of a specific immune response to changes in the microbiota. Further analysis of immune cells in the bone marrow confirmed this theory, revealing a significant increase in myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) of antibiotic-treated animals. MDSCs are cells that regulate the immune response during the course of various conditions.

This study demonstrated that antibiotic disruption of the gut microbiota has a significant impact on the communication between the immune system and bone cells. Its findings may lead to clinical trials "aimed at defining the impact of specific antibiotics on the gut microbiome." The objective of the research is to support the development of noninvasive therapeutic interventions in the microbiome to prevent and treat skeletal deterioration.

My Take:
The development of noninvasive therapeutic interventions for the microbiome is an admirable goal. I consider the use of a probiotic as invasive, although sometimes necessary. A prebiotic, like citrus or apple pectin, or the herb Slippery Elm Bark is noninvasive therapy. These supplements help make-up for the lack of soluble fiber in our diet.

Bottom Line:
Again, avoid antibiotic therapy whenever possible. Antibiotics have been linked to a host of illness, now osteoporosis can be added to this ever growing list.

Source: January 28, 2019 NIH

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