University of B.C. researchers have uncovered startling connections between micronutrient deficiencies and the composition of gut microbiomes in early life that could help explain why resistance to antibiotics has been rising across the globe.
The team investigated how deficiencies in crucial micronutrients such as vitamin A, B12, folate, iron, and zinc affected the community of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that live in the digestive system.
They discovered that these deficiencies led to significant shifts in the gut microbiome of mice — most notably an alarming expansion of bacteria and fungi known to be opportunistic pathogens.
Importantly, mice with micronutrient deficiencies also exhibited a higher enrichment of genes that have been linked to antibiotic resistance.
“Micronutrient deficiency has been an overlooked factor in the conversation about global antibiotic…