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Dietary Fiber Found To Increase Healthy Gut Bacteria In People Receiving Antibiotics

Taking antibiotics can alter the gut microbiota by killing friendly gut bacteria and result in antibiotic-associated diarrhea. A new study has found that dietary fiber may help increase beneficial gut bacteria in hospitalized people receiving IV antibiotics.

Twenty adults who were hospitalized in ICU and receiving IV antibiotics for sepsis participated in the study. Half were given 14.3 grams of soy and oat fiber daily via tube feeding until they were able to transition to oral diets. The other half were given a similar formula that did not contain fiber. The researchers took rectal swabs at baseline, day 3, day 7, day 14, and day 30 to measure the amount of short-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria (friendly gut bacteria).

Participants in the fiber group saw a 61% increase in short-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria by day 3, compared to a 46% decrease in the control group. Participants in the fiber group also had higher short-chain fatty acid-producing bacteria content in their stool and improved stool consistency compared to those in the control group.

The study was conducted by researchers from Columbia University Medical School. It was published online ahead of print on June 11, 2020 in the journal Critical Care Explorations.

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