Antibiotics associated with long-term behavioural changes

health Aug 02, 2017
Dr Cheryl Kam - Blog - Functional medicine coach - Singapore - Antibiotics associated with long-term behavioural changes

Antibiotics may cause long-term behavior changes. Whether you agree with this or not, it's vital to know how to lessen their negative effects on us.


Now that we know that antibiotic resistance is very real, the second issue might be even more surprising.  

Mice were given antibiotics just before their birth, and during weaning, were found to have more impairments in social behaviors, anxiety, and aggression later in life.  


What is the mechanism of brain change, as affected by antibiotic use?

Antibiotics, while killing off pathogenic or harmful bacteria, at the same time also kill off the good bacteria that populate our gut lining.  

Increasingly, the gut has been shown to host a tonne of good bacteria and their role in our health is just coming to light in recent years.  One of these is how dysbiosis can be linked to behavioral and mood issues.  


What can I do to lessen the negative effects of antibiotics?

Take probiotics.  It has been shown in this particular mice study to lessen the effects of antibiotics on the gut microbiome.  

Can probiotics be used to treat mental health conditions?

While the gut microbiome takes years to be cultivated, it takes minutes to be altered or destroyed.

Regrowing the microbiome with naturally found environmental bacteria and probiotic supplements requires at least 3 months, and can take years.  This might prove too long for when a quicker solution is required, but certainly can be part of the ongoing treatment plan.

After this, comes the question of which probiotic?  Research is still ongoing on which strain is most associated with improvements of mood, so in general, I would use a reputable wide spectrum probiotic with enough colony-forming units (CFU) to reach the lower gut.

I am a fan of Kefir and Kombucha due to the wider range of beneficial bacteria used in the culture, and in larger amounts, than in store-bought yogurt.  

Try it!  And don't give up as I needed to cultivate a taste for it, too!

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