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Study links antibiotics to childhood obesity

Pioneering research dives into the impact antibiotics have on childhood obesity. What does this mean for probiotics' benefits?

Antibiotics have a slew of side effects associated with them, including diarrhea and upset stomach, among others. But a new study published by the International Journal of Obesity suggests that we need to add another tick to the ill effects of antibiotics: obesity.

Researchers from New York University aimed to determine if antibiotics taken in the first two years of life had any impact on the prevalence of childhood obesity. After examining data from 11,532 children born during the span of 1991 and 1992, it was found that infants who took antibiotics during their first six months are significantly more likely to be overweight between 10 months and 3 years old. “Although effects of early [antibiotic] exposures are modest at the individual level, they could have substantial consequences for population health,” according to the study.

The probiotic connection

These findings are interesting considering the prevalence of antibiotic use for infants, and while more research is needed to delve into the particular correlation between antibiotics and obesity, it springboards a conversation about the importance of probiotics in our bodies.

Earlier this year I explored the connection probiotics have to our brains. It appears probiotics may suppress stress hormones, making us calm in times of intense pressure.

This study props open the door for more research concerning good-bug bacteria. Antibiotics “may kill off healthy bacteria that influence how we absorb nutrients in our bodies and would otherwise keep us lean,” according to a statement by lead researcher Leonardo Trasande. While the effects are seen earlier in life due to the vulnerability to infant’s digestive tracts, can our hardened, adult-sized guts also be affected in a similar way?

I look forward to further developments in the probiotic field.

Will probiotics gain even more attention in the coming years? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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