Gut microbes may gobble up the medications we take before drugs have a chance to reach their targets، a new study suggests، as the Daily Mail said.
Our guts are essential to our ability to make use of all kinds of nutrients that wouldn't otherwise be available to our systems - and the more we learn about the microbiome، the more it becomes clear it's essential to our overall health.
But the trillions of gut bacteria that we coexist with (mostly) peacefully can work against us sometimes، too.
Researchers at Harvard University discovered that some gut bacteria can break down drugs، like those used to treat Parkinson's disease، rendering them ineffective، or even toxic.
Their discovery may one day help scientists develop drugs that block or bypass the gut's attempts to devour drugs before they hit their targets. Americans spend hundreds of billions of dollars on medicine every year - but that expenditure is no guarantee that the drugs we take will be effective.
Medications are، bottom line، not 100 percent effective، and how well they work varies from person to person، based on a nearly infinite array of factors، including other medications، body weight، and، we now know، two types of metabolism.
Any drug that's taken orally - in the form of a pill، capsule or liquid - has to travel through the gastrointestinal system.
But in order to reach a target that is outside the gastrointestinal tract، the drug has to designed to withstand the human body's attempts to digest it.
Already، we knew that drugs had to have coatings or other features to make them impermeable to gastric acids innate to the human body، which allow us to break down and glean energy from most of the food we eat.
However، as we learn more about the trillions of other life forms - namely، bacteria - that live in the human gut، scientists have begun to see that those bacteria act as 'brilliant chemistry' to break down other things our body's wouldn't otherwise be able to، including fiber، and some drugs.
After discovering how microbes act on a heart failure medication، Harvard researchers turned to a Parkinson's medication to see how what else gut flora might do to drugs.