When we take medicine, there are often unintended consequences. In the most common scenarios, these are known as side effects.
But ‘side effects’ don’t begin to encompass the multitude of strange things that can happen when various compounds enter our system.
Sometimes, these unintended consequences occur after drugs physically exit the body, with medicine finding a second life in animals accidentally exposed to the formulations downstream.
Yet even before drugs have a chance to leave your body, they most likely will also interact with organisms other than just you, such as the gut microbiome.
In a new study, scientists found that numerous species of bacteria that live in the human gut can interact with and accumulate a number of different types of medicines taken by people, including antidepressants, pain relief, heart medication, and more.
“This calls for us to start treating the microbiome as one of our organs,” says one of the study authors, bioinformatician Peer Bork from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Germany. [Continue reading…]