Are Antibiotics Causing Brain Function Problems?

Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

September 4, 2023


Many people think that overall brain function and cognitive disorders are just a fact of life that goes with getting older.

But did you know that your gut can actually affect how your brain works?

If you have an imbalance of the bacteria that live in your digestive system, it can cause ripple effects that manifest themselves in your brain. What’s more, antibiotics can play a role.

Austrian researchers investigated this imbalance, known as dysbiosis, in mice. So they treated a group of mice with the antibiotic ampicillin. As expected, the antibiotic created dysbiosis in the colon.

The dysbiosis caused a shift in the fatty acids in the plasma. The result was that the mice’s recognition memory was impaired. Their brains didn’t work as well.

This study provides yet another piece to the puzzle of how important our gut bacteria are to our overall health. Even the brain relies on these bacteria to do important jobs throughout the body.

It’s important to keep your gut bacteria healthy, happy, and present in large numbers. You can do this by eating probiotic and prebiotic foods, such as fruits, vegetables, yogurt, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.

And, as this study indicates, focusing on your gut bacteria is especially important if you’ve been taking an antibiotic. Antibiotics can’t differentiate between “good” and “bad” bacteria. They try to wipe out everything.

So if you’ve been taking an antibiotic, you should consider supplementing with a probiotic, to restore the “good” bacteria to your system as quickly as possible.

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