Can the bacteria in my gut affect how I react to medication?

16th September 2020

Dr Hamid Merchant got in touch with Guts UK to inform us of his exciting work and some very interesting research looking at the gut microbiome (the bacteria in our gut) and medicines.

Hamid is a lecturer and course leader in pharmacy at Huddersfield University with over 17 years of experience in drug research and development. He has a specialist interest in medicine delivery research, specifically for medicines that are delivered to or absorbed through the digestive tract.

Like Guts UK, Hamid is very passionate about the gut and believes that it holds many secrets to a healthy life. He believes that the symbiotic relationship of our body with the gut microbiota can open the doors to manage various chronic illnesses.

Dr Merchant explained that the microbes found in our gut can affect the ability of how medicines work, sometimes even making them less effective in some than others.

“We are still learning about the interaction of our gut microbiome with our body. The gut microbiome varies between individuals, which may possibly be one explanation of the varying effectiveness of medicines between different people” Hamid explained. “Knowing more about the enzymes that these microbes produce in our gut may alter the structure of some medications, will change medicine development in the future. It is entirely possible, that depending on a person’s gut microbe profile, medicine could be better targeted. In the future, some people may benefit from a microbiome altering probiotic or prebiotic taken with the medicine to improve its effectiveness,” Hamid told us.

At Guts UK, we found this absolutely fascinating and we hope you share our fascination.  If you are more technically inclined, you can read more details by downloading here.

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