Mixing antibiotics with a high-fat diet can seriously mess up your gut: Study

Antibiotics come with their fair share of dos and don’ts. If this new study is to be believed, then combining the meds with a high-fat diet can have serious consequences.
High fat diet with antibiotics can wreck your bowel movement. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Published: 20 Jul 2020, 06:48 pm IST
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High-fat diet has always been on the radar then may it be for weight gain or other lifestyle issues like cardiovascular problems. But did you know that a high-fat diet also leads to major gut issues like gut inflammation and constipation as the fibre content is very less in fatty foods? So, if you are in love with such diets and are on antibiotics then this can cause major bowel problems for you. 

In fact, according to a recent study, if you combine a fatty diet with antibiotics then it can become a risk factor for pre-irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What is irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable bowel syndrome affects about 11% of people worldwide according to this study. It is characterised by recurrent episodes of abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. IBS patients with mucosal inflammation and changes in the gut’s microbial composition are considered pre-IBD. That’s majorly because of the kind of food you eat.

The study included 43 healthy adults and 49 adult patients diagnosed with IBS. The researchers measured faecal calprotectin, a biomarker for intestinal inflammation of participants. Elevated levels of faecal calprotectin indicated a pre-IBD condition. The study identified 19 patients with IBS as pre-IBD.

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Do you know your gut has been keeping your heart healthy? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The researchers found that all participants who consumed a high-fat diet and used antibiotics were at 8.6 times higher risk for having pre-IBD than those on a low-fat diet and no recent history of antibiotic use. Participants with the highest fat consumption were about 2.8 times more likely to have pre-IBD than those with the lowest fat intake. A history of recent antibiotic usage alone was associated with 3.9 times higher likelihood of having pre-IBD.

“Our study found that a history of antibiotics in individuals consuming a high-fat diet was associated with the greatest risk for pre-IBD,” said Andreas Baumler, professor of medical microbiology and immunology and lead author on the study. 

“Until now, we didn’t appreciate how different environmental risk factors can synergise to drive the disease.”

High-fat diet and antibiotics can also damage your intestinal lining, says study
The study also tested the effect of high-fat diet and antibiotic use on the cells in the intestinal lining. It found that a high-fat diet and antibiotics cooperate to disrupt the work of the cell’s mitochondria, shutting its ability to burn oxygen. This disruption causes a reduction in the cell’s oxygen consumption and leads to oxygen leakage into the gut.

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Our gut needs good bacteria too but mixing high-fat diet and antibiotics can disrupt this. The body’s beneficial bacteria thrive in environments lacking oxygen such as the large intestine. Higher oxygen levels in the gut promote bacterial imbalances and inflammation. Due to this the good bacteria gets replaced with bad bacteria which are potentially harmful proinflammatory microbes that are more oxygen tolerant. All this results in gut inflammation

“The best approach to a healthy gut is to get rid of the preferred sustenance of harmful microbes. Our study emphasised the importance of avoiding high-fat food and abuse of antibiotics to avoid gut inflammation,” Lee concluded.

(With inputs from ANI)

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