"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Studies show a surprising link between malnutrition and increased antibiotic resistance.

University of BC researchers have revealed startling links between early-life micronutrient deficiencies and the makeup of gut microbiomes which will help explain why antibiotic resistance is on the rise around the globe. has been

The team investigated how deficiencies in key nutrients equivalent to vitamin A, B12, folate, iron, and zinc affect the community of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes that live within the digestive tract.

They discovered that these deficiencies led to significant changes within the mice's gut microbiome—particularly an alarming proliferation of bacteria and fungi often known as opportunistic pathogens.

Importantly, micronutrient-deficient mice also exhibited high enrichment of genes related to antibiotic resistance.

“Micronutrient deficiencies have been an overlooked factor in the conversation about global antibiotic resistance,” said Dr. Paula Littlejohn, a postdoctoral research fellow with UBC's Department of Clinical Genetics and Department of Pediatrics, and B.C. Children's Hospital Research Institute. “This is an important finding, as it suggests that malnutrition may make the gut environment more conducive to the development of antibiotic resistance, which is a major global health concern.”

Bacteria naturally carry these genes as a defense mechanism. Certain conditions, equivalent to antibiotic stress or dietary stress, cause a rise in these mechanisms. It's a risk that might render many powerful antibiotics ineffective and result in a future where common infections can turn fatal.

Antibiotic resistance is commonly attributed to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, however the work of Dr. Littlejohn and his UBC colleagues suggests that the 'hidden hunger' of micronutrient deficiencies is one other essential factor. Is.

“Globally, approximately 340 million children under the age of five suffer from multiple micronutrient deficiencies, which not only affect their growth but also significantly alter their gut microbiome. ” said Dr. Littlejohn. “Our findings are particularly concerning because these children are often prescribed antibiotics for nutrition-related illnesses. Ironically, their gut microbiome is depleted of essential micronutrients by antibiotics.” will be primed for resistance.”

The research, published this week, offers essential insights into the far-reaching consequences of micronutrient deficiencies in formative years. It emphasizes the necessity for a comprehensive strategy to deal with malnutrition and its impact on health. Addressing malnutrition is greater than just controlling malnutrition, it could possibly even be a very important step in fighting the worldwide scourge of antibiotic resistance.