Fiber May Weaken Antibiotic Resistance in the Gut
Antimicrobial resistance is a persistent issue of increasing seriousness. In fact, the CDC estimates that 2.8 million AMR infections occur annually in the US, 35,000 of which end fatally. The danger here lies in the ability of various microorganisms to change and grow immune to the effects of antimicrobial drugs. Scientists aim to explain why this phenomenon occurs and how to counteract it. Hence, much of related research has focused on whether and how this goal can be achieved (or assisted) through our dietary choices.
A recently published study focused on how fiber may affect AMR in the gut. Interestingly, the research team learned that consuming more high-fiber foods could lower the chances of gut bacteria growing resistant to antibiotics. The researchers considered the diets of more than 250 people who took part in the study, primarily checking for the presence of antimicrobial genes in their gut microbiome. It’s also important to stress that all of the participants were healthy adults.
In order to compare the participants’ gut biomes, the team needed their blood and stool samples, as well as information on their physical activity and nutrition. What they found out was that the participants had a variety of antimicrobial resistance genes—in high numbers. They also noticed that people who had regularly consumed different foods rich in fiber and low in animal protein had a smaller amount of AMR genes.
However, this study was only observational. As a result, scientists call for further studies that will include more participants who follow diverse diets to establish whether this approach could lower antibiotic resistance in the gut.
Fiber is a type of indigestible carb and plays a vital role in maintaining gut health. The two main kinds are:
- Soluble fiber (which can dissolve in water)
- Insoluble fiber (which cannot dissolve in water).
Furthermore, this nutrient boasts many health benefits. For instance, it can aid digestion and bowel movement, help regulate blood sugar and body weight, and lower the risk of developing several types of cancers. If we consider the findings of the aforementioned study, it’s safe to say there are still many other significant benefits to be discovered.
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