The Emerging Science of Gut Health and Probiotics

Jun 25, 2015
Ryan Snyder / Flickr / Creative Commons

Scientists have long known that bacteria live in the human gut, working with the digestive system to break down food. But researchers have recently discovered even more far-reaching effects of the trillions of microbes living in our bodies, impacting everything from our immune systems to chronic illness. We examine the science of gut health.

Photo by Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

Part 1:

The "TraditionalĀ Marriage" Glass Ceiling

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said today it is calling on the nation's pork, beef, and poultry producers to reduce their use of antibiotics. But some watchdog groups say this voluntary guidance doesn't go nearly far enough.

The issue has been contentious for decades. Just last month, a federal judge ruled that the FDA had to go ahead with a plan it proposed in 1977 that would ban the use of some antibiotics as a growth promoter in animals.

The new concerns over the prolific use of antibiotics and their connection to the obesity epidemic. New research from New York University indicates that over-prescription of antibiotics could harm communities of bacteria that keep digestive systems healthy and help the body fight fat.

Researchers have nailed down something scientists, government officials and agribusiness proponents have argued about for years: whether antibiotics in livestock feed give rise to antibiotic-resistant germs that can threaten humans.