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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • July 2018
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Are your medications disrupting your gut?

The gut microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, which are living throughout the body, mostly in the large and small intestines.

Thousands of scientific articles show that the microbiome plays an important role in our overall well-being. It has even been referred to as a “supporting organ” since it influences so many bodily functions.

Fascinatingly, each of us has our own unique colony of microorganisms, which is initially determined by our DNA. As infants, we are introduced to these “bugs” through vaginal delivery and breastfeeding, and take on the species of our mothers. As we grow, our microbiome is then changed by our diets, infectious illnesses, environmental exposures and use of certain prescription drugs. This influence can either place us at greater risk for disease or benefit our health.

When our bodies are healthy, the microorganisms coexist peacefully, and work to support the immune system, the breakdown of toxic food compounds, and the synthesis of nutrients. However, if there is a disruption to that balance, it can have negative impacts on health and be associated with a wide range of conditions, including infectious diseases, gastrointestinal illnesses, neurologic conditions, autoimmune disorders, obesity, depression, inflammation and metabolic disorders.

You may already be familiar with the negative effects of antibiotics on the human microbiome, but what you may not know is that a wide range of drugs can affect the growth of these microorganisms.

One recent study out of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory looked at the impact of 1,197 common drugs.

“The research team was surprised to find that of the 835 drugs they tested that were designed to interact with human cells rather than bacteria, almost a quarter — including acid blockers, statins, antipsychotics, hormones, chemotherapy agents, and those for blood pressure, diabetes and allergies — hindered the growth of at least one bacterial species, a phenomenon found among all the different types of drugs tested. Both pathogens and good bacteria were affected by the drugs, with a larger effect for the latter.”

“The team also found a link between bacterial species resistant to antibiotics and those that were not affected by the drugs tested, revealing that the same mechanism might be behind both, and raising the possibility that non-antibiotic drugs could help drive antibiotic resistance.”

On one hand, this is quite exciting, as researchers are opening paths for personalized drug therapies aimed at the individual gut microbiome. On the other hand, it is important to understand that your prescription drugs may be affecting more than just your symptoms. You may consider choosing food (healthy fats, fermented items and unprocessed products), lifestyle choices (sleep, exercise) and supplements (probiotics) that support your gut.

You will find an extensive selection of shelf-stable and refrigerated probiotics — which work to restore the healthy composition and function of the gut microbiome — at Natural Healthy Concepts.


Theresa Groskopp, CN

Theresa Groskopp, a licensed certified nutritionist, is the founder and president of Natural Healthy Concepts, which has a retail location at 310 N. Westhill Blvd. in Appleton. She firmly believes that the foundation of health and wellness lies in proper nutrition. To supplement proper nutrition, Natural Healthy Concepts carries a wide variety of pharmaceutical grade supplements, homeopathic remedies and herbs — all of which are derived from the highest quality ingredients. The store also offers a nice selection of natural health products, including nontoxic sunscreens!

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