The average human has about one kilogram of bacteria in their gut.
These 'good bacteria' aid digestion and prevent harmful bacteria from reproducing.
But the thousands of types of bacteria exist in a delicate balance, and a dysfunction in any one species of bacteria could cause illnesses.
"The imbalance of gut bacteria destroys the intestinal environment and the bacteria can cause atopic dermatitis, drive autoimmune diseases or, even worse, induce mental illnesses."
The main cause of bacterial imbalance is antibiotics.
Korean researchers found that, upon sensing the presence of antibiotics, gut bacteria created a stress-sensing molecule known as an alarmone.
Alarmones adjust the genes within bacteria, slowing their activity and inhibiting their growth, …resulting in genetic variation and mutation.
"The problem is that stopping antibiotic treatment and being careful does not quickly recover the damage."
The study stresses the importance of the appropriate use of antibiotics, and is expected to aid the development of medicines for conditions linked to gut bacteria.
Park Se-young, Arirang News.