Probiotics instead of Antibiotics?

As many people already know, the need to find new antibiotics is an urgent priority. Many bacteria are resistant to current antibiotics and therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to treat them. Of course, efforts are being made to try and find new antibiotics. However, it seems that probiotic bacteria could infact help to prevent life-threatening infections.

Bacteria naturally have antibacterial properties in order to compete with other bacteria for dominance over living space and food. As a result of this, Catherine O’Neill, Ph.D. – senior lecturer in the Division of Musculoskeletal and Dermatological Science at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom decided to set up a team and try to use these antibacterial properties in order to combat pathogenic infections. Catherine used lactobacillus bacteria, a group of ‘friendly’ bacteria, and through this, it was shown that bacteria could in fact protect skin cells from an infection by S. aureus (a type of bacteria that is one of the five most common causes of infection after injury or surgery).

To investigate this even further, further studies have been done to test the effects of probiotics in mouse models in relation to the healing of burns and wounds. These studies have shown that probiotics can increase levels of oxytocin – a hormone important in reproduction, childbirth, lactation, and social behaviour – which leads to faster wound healing in older mice.

Now, moving onto humans. A study led by Dr. Valdéz found that in patients with second and third degree burns, probiotics can be as efficient as commonly used antimicrobials in preventing and reducing burn wounds. In addition to this, a clinical study in the Journal of Burn Care & Research showed that ‘the wounds of patients treated with probiotics healed at a faster rate than those of patients treated with a placebo.’

Even after so much success with the use of probiotics, its proper use will only come into the picture with more evidence. After all, bacteria are known to be more harmful than good. But even so, alternatives to antibiotics are desperately needed so maybe, the use of probiotics instead of antibiotics will become prominent.

Thank you for reading my blog this week, I hope you found it an interesting read! If you did, feel free to comment down your opinion or any questions below.



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