Beneficial intestinal bacteria can easily become harmful.

A huge amount of research proves thatintestinal microbes play a large role in human health. For example, they can affect the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, and even depression, so it is important for people to maintain a balance of intestinal microflora. To do this, yogurt and some other products have a class of beneficial microorganisms called probiotics, but a study by Washington University in St. Louis has shown that they can evolve and become harmful.

If you think, then this assumption seemsvery obvious - microbes can adapt in different ways to different habitats, and subsequently turn from useful to harmful. According to the study leader Gautam Dantas, if humanity is going to use living organisms as a medicine, they should remember that their functions may vary depending on the environment.

Microbes that are immune to evolution are not there, but this does not mean that it’s time for people to stop developing probiotic-based treatment methods.

Gautam Dantas, author of the study

To find out when microorganisms arecan become dangerous, scientists have introduced the probiotic E. coli Nissle (EcN) into organisms of mice with different states of the intestinal microflora and different diets. After five weeks of research, the scientists tested the DNA of the implanted microorganisms. It turned out that in healthy mice they almost did not evolve at all, but changes were observed in sick individuals. In particular, scientists have noticed that microorganisms have developed resistance to antibiotics, and some have learned to eat intestinal mucus, turning against the owner.

In a healthy microflora, we did not catch muchadaptation, perhaps because these conditions are already familiar to probiotics. But it is important to remember, in most cases, no one will prescribe probiotics to those who are healthy. Just the opposite - they are assigned to people with impaired microflora, and it is in such conditions that probiotics evolve.

Aura Ferreiro, one of the authors of the study

According to Gautam Dantas, the new discovery is notcomplicates the use of probiotics in treatment, and opens up new possibilities. For example, doctors will be able to prescribe treatment depending on the state of the patient’s intestinal microflora.

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