A study just published in the International Journal of Obesity shows that kids who take antibiotics regularly (about 7 courses through childhood) gained significant weight, and do it faster than those who’ve never taking antibiotics. The study also demonstrated that this effect lasts long into adulthood.
“Not only did antibiotics contribute to weight gain at all ages, but the contribution of antibiotics to weight gain gets stronger as you get older,” said Dr. Brian S. Schwartz, the first author and a professor in the department of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
This shouldn’t necessarily come as a huge surprise given that antibiotics have been used to fatten up livestock for decades.
The largest weight gain was associated with macrolides (azithromycin, erythromycin).
We know antibiotics alter the microbiome, wiping out good bugs. And new data are emerging regularly demonstrating lasting alterations to the microbiome, favoring a dysbiotic, potentially disease-promoting, metabolic-altering milieu. Certainly anyone working in functional medicine these days is challenged by patients with myriad bacterial overgrowth scenarios that can be quite challenging to reverse. Food cravings, mood changes, inflammation (of any stripe) all point to microbiome imbalance as a contributing factor.