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Microbe Perceived To Be Harmless Can Actually Damage Gut Bacteria, Study Reveals

A microbe population of trillions is there in the human gut. Majority of these are bacteria. But, other varieties, including single-celled eukaryotes (SCE) and viruses exist. Several studies have tested SCEs because many are of the opinion that they are not harmful.

However, new research under the Medicine School of Yong Loo Lin in Singapore discovered that a common SCE called Blastocystis, can be potentially leading to the destruction of “good” bacteria.

As per CDC or the Prevention and Control of Disease Centers, Blastocystis can be transmitted through consumption of contaminated water or food that has been exposed to affected animals. Certain people have the belief that this may be the reason behind intestinal infection. However, staying healthy in presence of the microbe is also possible.

A Blastocystis subtype known as ST7 appears to be different from the remaining. Instead of staying harmless, it leads to the endangerment of other bacteria. Researchers removed this subtype from stools of individuals having reported problems of the gastrointestinal nature. They kept 2 cultures of ST7, named ST7-B and ST7-H, along with certain non-harmful bacteria of the gut, including Lactobacillus brevis, Escherichia coli and Bifidobacteriumlongum.

Two of them are beneficial bacteria, helping in keeping the lining of the intestines intact. While Bifidobacterium is capable of digesting fiber and preventing infection, Lactobacillus helps in producing lactic acid which is believed to be able to prevent harmful forms of bacteria from surviving in the intestines.

It is also possible for people to take these two bacteria types in the form of probiotic supplements, thereby aiding gut health.

The research findings have been published in the Microbiome journal. These findings have revealed that ST7 Blastocystis has resulted in elevated amounts of some particular gut bacteria. But, this kind of positive relationship was not found to apply in the case of every possible bacteria type.

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