Antibiotics. Antibiotics. Antibiotics. Research continues to reveal the toll that these drugs take on human health. Antibiotics (meaning, “Against Life”) have been associated with many diseases in adults and children – obesity, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, malnutrition, diabetes, neurodegeneration, and many others. Two new studies, just published in the International Journal of Obesity and Nature Journal, cite once again the link between antibiotic use and weight gain in children. Antibiotics are given to farm animals to increase their weight. This type of use alone can be considered to be practical scientific evidence that similar effects in humans should be expected. While researchers continue to demonstrate the effect on mice in labs, farmers show even more convincing evidence as they fatten up chickens, cows, pigs, turkeys, and fish on a daily basis. Antibiotics cause a shift in the make-up of the intestinal flora that favors weight gain. This is a permanent shift unless we take corrective actions to restore health and function to the gut. Here are the two new studies:

From – http://the-scientist.com/2012/08/23/could-drugs-be-plumping-up-kids/
Analysis of the mouse gut microbiota showed that the microbial community had shifted to include a greater proportion of Firmicutes species, which the author speculated could make more calories available to the host than other groups of commensal bacteria.

From – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821093930.htm
Treating very young infants with antibiotics may predispose them to being overweight in childhood, according to a study of more than 10,000 children by researchers at the NYU School of Medicine and the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and published in the online August 21, 2012, issue of the International Journal of Obesity.
“We typically consider obesity an epidemic grounded in unhealthy diet and exercise, yet increasingly studies suggest it’s more complicated,” said Dr. Trasande. “Microbes in our intestines may play critical roles in how we absorb calories, and exposure to antibiotics, especially early in life, may kill off healthy bacteria that influence how we absorb nutrients into our bodies, and would otherwise keep us lean.”

Dr Julie Gerberding, former director of the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), declared that obesity is the nation’s number one health problem. As many as 1 in 5 children are obese, and over 1 in 3 adults are obese. Interestingly enough, but not unexpected, the medical field continues to ignore such research. While the medical field continues to blame the obesity epidemic on over-eating, science shows that to be only one aspect of the picture. The change in the bacterial flora can increase the amount of calories absorbed from the foods we eat.

On the other side of the antibiotic issue, research continues to show that Probiotics (meaning, “For Life”) reverse or negate the effects of antibiotics. A study by Stanford School of Medicine showed that a post-surgical group of patients taking probiotics for three months had greater weight loss than the control group. (http://med.stanford.edu/news_releases/2009/july/probiotics.html).

Parents are more educated now than they have been in the past. Their ability to make choices based on science can help them to make better choices for their children. It is my hope that posts like these will provide useful information that assists them to do so.