Early Antibiotics Change Gut Microbes, Fuel Obesity – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science

by Ed Yong

What’s the short version?

There are tens of trillions of microbes in our guts, which are important for our digestion and our health. The antibiotics that we take to kill off disease-causing bacteria also indiscriminately nuke these beneficial bugs. Now, a new set of experiments in mice have shown that low, regular doses of antibiotics at an early age can disrupt these microbe communities, leading to weight gain later in life. The increase in body weight was small, but compounded by a high-fat diet. If the results apply to humans, they would add to the large body of evidence suggesting that antibiotics should be used more carefully in infants and children.

“I’m not saying people should never take antibiotics,” says Martin Blaserfrom the NYU Langone Medical Centre, who led the study. “But we need to be more judicious. Antibiotics can have long-term consequences. I hope that knowledge will enter the examining room, so that parents don’t demand antibiotics and doctors are more cautious about using them.”via Early Antibiotics Change Gut Microbes, Fuel Obesity – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science.