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Antibiotics Negatively Affect Bone Health Through Alterations in Gut Bacteria

Antibiotic therapy disrupts the gut microbiome and results in a pro-inflammatory response that negatively affects bone health. Previous studies have uncovered the direct relationship between a balanced microbiome and healthy bone development. A February 2019 study took this relationship further and investigated the use of a broad-spectrum antibiotic in mice to determine if there were any microbiome-mediated alterations in skeletal formation on a cellular level. After administering antibiotic therapy during the post-puberty phase (this phase is responsible for 40% of our bone accumulation), researchers found that the antibiotics led to significant disruptions in gut bacteria that altered the communication between immune cells and bone cells. These alterations led to substantial changes to trabecular bone – the bone type that experiences high rates of bone metabolism. The American Journal of Pathology 

Takeaway: Antibiotics, especially broad-spectrum ones, significantly alter the gut microbiome, which may have negative and lasting effects on skeletal health. Researchers hope to conduct more studies to determine how these alterations affect overall skeletal health. They also believe these findings could open doors for interventions that target the microbiome in preventing and treating conditions that involve bone deterioration. When prescribed an antibiotic, be sure to ask your doctor if the antibiotic is absolutely necessary and if so, if there is another option other than a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

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