Health In Focus
  • Probiotic supplementation can alter an infant’s gut microbiome.
  • Bacterial supplementation can also reduce antibiotic resistance genes in children
  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health

A novel approach has been identified for reducing the number of genes that resist antibiotics in children. Probiotic supplementation in breastfed infants was found to reduce antibiotic resistance, reveals a new study.

Breastfed infants who were also fed with a specific probiotic strain of Bifidobacterium Infantis (B. Infantis) were found to have 87.5 percent less antibiotic resistance genes in their gut microbiome than those breastfed infants who only received lactation support.

Antibiotic Resistance: Global Health Concern

In this study, the results showed that about 38 antibiotic resistant genes were reduced in infants who took the probiotic supplementation, such as genes associated with resistance to a wide range of drugs, which are prescribed to treat acne, chlamydia, respiratory, intestinal and urinary infections.
Probiotics Help Reduce Antibiotic Resistance in Infants

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified antibiotic resistance, as one of the biggest threats to global health. The prevalence of antibiotic resistance gene carriage is increasing and is a growing public health concern.

Antibiotics are largely being misused in both humans and animals, and there is an increase in the number of infections that are becoming difficult to treat, as antibiotics are becoming less effective.

More than half of all the antibiotics that are taken by humans are not required at all. They are often fed to livestock to increase food production and when new generations inherit antibiotic resistance genes, resistance can spread 'vertically.'

Probiotic Supplementation: Impact on the Infant's Gut

Dr. Giorgio Casaburi, lead author of the research, comments, "These results demonstrate that targeted bacterial supplementation is capable of remodeling the ecology of the infant gut microbiome and therefore reduce antibiotic gene reservoirs in children. We found that supplementation with the infant gut symbiont significantly diminished both the abundance and diversity of antibiotic resistance genes".

Dr. Casaburi and his team evaluated infants for about 21 days, especially those who were breastfed and also received supplementation of the probiotic.
After two weeks of probiotic supplementation, the research team collected fecal samples to evaluate the presence of antibiotic resistance genes and compared the results with infants who had received only breast milk.
  • In this study, the probiotic utilized is uniquely adapted to thrive in the gut of the infant and was found to be missing from the microbiome of infants who were born in Europe and the US.
  • In the absence of this protective bacterium, various other bacteria colonize in the gut microbiome leading to the evolution, persistence, and dissemination of antibiotic resistance genes.
"The supplementation offers a novel approach towards providing an alternative, safe and non-invasive method to decrease the number of genes that resist antibiotics in infants," added Dr. Casaburi.

The research team said that this is the first demonstration of remodeling of the infant gut microbiome, which can help reduce the burden and diversity of antibiotic resistance genes in the present and future generations.

References :
  1. Antibiotic resistance - (
  2. Birth in a time of antibiotic-resistant bacteria - (
  3. About Antibiotic Resistance - (

Source: Medindia

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