Recent research has revealed that gut microbes can alter how a medication works in our bodies, sometimes with undesirable — or even toxic — results.
senior holding pills in one hand and a glass of water in the other
Our gut bacteria can influence the effectiveness of the drugs we take.
A healthy human gut microbiome is made up of over 1,000 species of bacteria that work to help break down food and keep the digestive system in functioning order.

Bacteria are an essential part of overall good health.

However, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco have found that sometimes, gut bacteria can interfere with the way a certain medication is supposed to work.

“[T]his kind of microbial metabolism can also be detrimental,” says Vayu Maini Rekdal, a graduate student in the laboratory of first study author Prof. Emily Balskus. Their paper now appears in the journal Science.

“Maybe the drug is not going to reach its target in the body, maybe it’s going to be toxic all of a sudden, maybe it’s going to be less helpful,” adds Maini Rekdal.

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