[Skip to Navigation]
February 1958

Some Effects of Antibiotics on Nutrition in Man: Including Studies of the Bacterial Flora of the Feces

Author Affiliations


From the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, Second and Fourth (Harvard) Medical Services, Boston City Hospital, and the Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston. During tenure of a Welch Fellowship in Internal Medicine of the National Research Council (Dr. Gabuzda).

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(2):476-513. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260140308042

In addition to the established efficacy of antibiotics in the prevention and treatment of diseases due to infectious agents, there are numerous observations which suggest that they may influence the nutrition of animals and man. Some reports indicate that certain antibiotics enhance the growth of several animal species and also of infants and children,1 and although the mechanisms of this action are not clearly understood, the observed effects frequently have been attributed to an alteration of the bacterial flora of the gastrointestinal tract. Such alterations might influence nutrition by increasing or decreasing the quantities of certain nutrients available to the host through synthesis or utilization of vitamins and possibly of other essential nutrients by the bacteria in the intestinal tract. The possibility that certain antibiotics may influence nutrition by some direct effect on tissue metabolism must also be considered. Physical changes resembling those which occur in patients with vitamin

Add or change institution