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Antibiotics Affect Gut Microbiota in Children, Finds New Study

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Children taking antibiotics have a higher variety of gut fungal microbiota, which persists for 6 weeks after the start of treatment. Gut microbiota is of great importance in health and the immune system.

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Helsinki, Finland, suggests that antibiotic therapy reduces the competition for space in the gut bacteria, which allows the fungus to grow.

Rebecca Ventin-Holmberg, a PhD research student at the university, said that the study clearly shows that the bacteria present in the gut regulate and control the fungal microbiota. And, when the bacteria, which is inhibited by the antibiotic, and the fungus, especially Candida, gets a chance to spread rapidly.

“Children are usually given antibiotics, which leads to changes in gut microbiota. And, thus these changes last long from childhood to adult,” said Ventin-Holmberg, while speaking about the study.

The study has been published in the Journal of Fungi. Rebecka Ventin-Holmberg further said: “A new conclusion of our study is also that the fungal gut microbiota – together with the bacterial microbiota, the side effects of antibiotics put on children’s health for a long time.”

Ventin-Holmberg further went on to add that antibiotics have the opposite effect on both bacterial and fungal microbiota. Along with this, it also increases the risk of antibiotic chronic inflammation disease, also known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Due to an imbalance in the gut microbiota, such problems persist for a long time.

The researcher further said that future studies regarding the same should focus on all the gut microbes for a better understanding of their inter-connections. The study will also provide a better overview of the microbiome as a whole.

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