Kids who receive antibiotics throughout the course of their childhoods gain weight significantly faster than those who do not, according to new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research.
The findings, published online Oct. 21 in the International Journal of Obesity, suggest that antibiotics may have a compounding effect throughout childhood on body mass index (BMI), a measure often used to determine whether someone is at a healthy weight.
…Scientists working with penicillin learned early on that its byproducts caused weight gain in animals. This led to the modern industrial farming techniques of including small quantities of antibiotics in daily animal feed to fatten up the animals in an accelerated time frame. So a connection with weight gain does make biological sense, Schwartz says.
Source: Children Who Take Antibiotics Gain Weight Faster Than Kids Who Don’t
Cattle are given monensin sodium under the trade name Rumensin in order to prevent coccidiosis, a condition causing incomplete digestion whose source is a parasitic protozoan in the animal’s digestive tract. Antibiotic treatmment increases the animal’s muscle mass whereas this study is alleging that it simply makes humans fat. However, rodents raised in a sterile environment and lacking in gut flora need to eat 30% more calories just to remain the same weight as their normal counterparts.
The microbiome composition is known to influence the uptake of nutrients, so it is a good hypothesis that antibiotics are influencing the composition of human gut flora, and in turn, leading to a change in nutrient absorption.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give kids antibiotics, it just means that they should prescribe probiotics for consumption after the treatment is done. If a kid has strep or an ear infection, waiting it out like you would a virus is dangerous. Pro-, and perhaps more importantly, pre-biotics should be taken during treatment.