antibiotic

Antibiotics May Make Us Fat

Friday, July 30, 2010 by: Dana Ullman, MPH
Tags: antibiotics, body fat, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Delicious Pin It
(NaturalNews) The obesity epidemic is rampant, and there are many reasons for this big fat problem. Although asking if antibiotics make us fat may initially sound like some type of joke, recent articles in Scientific American and Science magazine shows that some researchers are taking it seriously.

Actually, evidence suggesting that antibiotics may make people fat is old (but forgotten and ignored) knowledge. As far back as 1955, research published in a leading nutrition journal showed that weight gain may be linked to prolonged antibiotic usage.(1)

It is well-known that farmers supply livestock with frequent doses of antibiotics in the guise of "preventing disease," but it is also widely known that prolonged antibiotic usage causes such disruption in the digestive tracts of these animals and that the food that they eat is not properly assimilated, leading to significant weight gain. Normal bacteria in the gut help animals (and humans) metabolize fat, but the deficiency of these normal bacteria, caused by antibiotic usage, disrupts proper fat metabolism, leading to weight gain. The farmers benefit from being able to sell fatter and heavier meat, even though meat quality is significantly compromised.

An article in the December 16, 2009, issue of Scientific American expresses serious concern that antibiotics kill off many important microbes essential for human life.(2) The Scientific American has even chosen the word "extinction" to refer to the disappearance of certain important bacteria that are killed off by antibiotics.

This article reports some impacts from antibiotic usage are short term, but other impacts are much more long-lasting and deleterious. Martin Blaser, a professor of microbiology and chair of the Department of Medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City, notes, "the [antibiotic resistance] selection can persist for years and possibly permanently." The gastric Helicobacter pylori bacteria (commonly referred to as "H. pylori"), for example, have been facing eradication in the U.S. and other developed countries in large part as a result of widespread antibiotic use. Although the demise of these bacteria has some medical benefits, including a decrease in the incidence of ulcers and gastric cancer, its reduced population can also increase the risk for various reflux diseases by upsetting the regulation of hormones and pH levels.

However, even more serious problems result from killing off of the H. pylori. Blaser and Stanley Falkow, of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford School of Medicine, note, "H. pylori-positive individuals have lower risks of childhood asthma, allergic rhinitis and skin allergies than those without H. pylori." These scientists also posited that the bacteria's role in mediating the hormone ghrelin, which helps regulate fat development and hunger, might also "be contributing to the current epidemics of early-life obesity, type 2 diabetes and related metabolic syndromes."

Blaser wonders, "If [H. pylori is] disappearing...might there be other things that are disappearing?" He worries that many other, less well-known or understood microbial species and even certain metabolic pathways might also be on their way out due to antibiotic use.

Science magazine has just published on March 4, 2010, other important research that observed similar phenomena as Blaser.(3) Researchers at Cornell, Emory, and the University of Colorado have found that gut microbiota determines how food is digested and fat is stored in the body. They too noted that antibiotics disrupt certain bacteria in the gut that can lead to obesity as well as to increased inflammatory processes that can cause metabolic syndrome, a serious condition that can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and a higher risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.

The uniquely American obsession with eradicating germs is also creating other problems, not just obesity. A study published in the December 9, 2009, issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, is the first to investigate whether microbial exposures early in life affect inflammatory processes related to diseases in adulthood.(4) Remarkably, the Northwestern study suggests exposure to infectious microbes in childhood may actually protect youngsters from developing serious illnesses, including cardiovascular diseases, when they grow into adults.

"Contrary to assumptions related to earlier studies, our research suggests that ultra-clean, ultra-hygienic environments early in life may contribute to higher levels of inflammation as an adult, which in turn increases risks for a wide range of diseases," states Thomas McDade, lead author of the study.

"Medication-related weight gain has become far more important over the past decade as obesity increases in prevalence and more people are taking medications for chronic illnesses,"(5) says Lawrence Cheskin, M.D., Director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center.

Ultimately, microbial flora in the digestive tract plays a role in converting nutrients into calories. Reduced variations in microbiota composition are found in obese humans and mice.

Didier Raoult, MD, PhD, full professor at Marseille School of Medicine, has found that the microbiota from an obese mouse confers an obese trait when transferred to a mouse.(6) Dr. Raoult further asserts that there is a large body of experimental evidence and empirical data in the food industry showing that both antibiotics, which modify the gut microbiota, can act as growth promoters, increasing the size and weight of animals. He therefore concludes that the current obesity pandemic in humans may be caused, in part, by antibiotic treatments.

This review of the literature on antibiotics and weight gain does not necessarily mean that a single round of antibiotics will make someone fat. However, it is increasingly common for people to take multiple rounds of antibiotics for recurrent infections and long-term usage of antibiotics to treat acne and various other diseases, such as Lyme Disease. It may be to question what short-term and long-term problems result from repeated antibiotic usage.

While repeated courses of antibiotics may sometimes lead to weight gain, there is also a case that can be made that some people experience deleterious weight loss as a result of diarrhea caused by antibiotics. This type of weight loss is rarely considered beneficial to the person's health because many important nutrients are excreted with the diarrhea, and this weight loss may be just as deleterious to the person's health as weight gain can.

In any case, antibiotics kill off the pathogenic bacteria as well as many of the important and beneficial bacteria in our bodies. Because health depends upon a complex web of life, pharmaceutical agents such as antibiotics that simplify this inner ecosystem weaken the web, thereby creating a wide variety of possible acute and chronic diseases. Even many serious diseases, such as breast cancer, have been found to have significantly increased incidence based on the degrees of higher usage of these drugs. (7) It is indeed important and even vital for health that people respect inner microbial life and reduce antibiotic usage.

Considering Alternatives to Antibiotics

Ultimately, health and medical professionals as well as the general public have to consider using various alternatives to antibiotics whenever possible. The good news is that we will ALL benefit from such actions, and further, that there IS a body of evidence to show that some alternatives are effective. When skeptics say that there is no evidence that alternative or homeopathic treatments are effective for infectious diseases, they are simply showing their ignorance of history and of modern clinical research (sadly, this ignorance does not seem to stop some skeptics, who I prefer to call "deniers", from trying to provide misinformation).

A little known fact of history is that the primary reason that homeopathic medicine became so popular in the 19th century was its remarkable results in treating people suffering from the infectious disease epidemics that raged at the time.(8)(9) Epidemics of cholera, scarlet fever, typhoid, and yellow fever were rampant and killed large numbers of people who became ill with them. And yet, death rates in homeopathic hospitals were commonly one-half or even one-eighth of the death rates in the conventional medical hospitals (at the turn of the 20th century, there were over 100 homeopathic hospitals in the US, at least one in every large population center).

Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians no longer recommend antibiotics as routine when treating children with an ear infection.(10) In fact, they assert that a viable option is to AVOID ANTIMICROBIAL AGENTS during the first 72 hours. Because ear infections represent the most common reason that children seek medical attention, knowing about the alternatives to antibiotic usage is essential.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study prescribed individualized homeopathic medicines or placebo to 75 children.(11) There were 19.9 percent more treatment failures in children given a placebo. Diary scores showed a significant decrease in symptoms at 24 and 64 hours after treatment in favor of those given a homeopathic medicine. What was particularly impressive about these results was that improvement from homeopathic medicines occurred rapidly, within the first day of treatment.

Another study that also provided evidence of rapid resolution of ear infection in children given a homeopathic medicine was a trial of 230 children.(12) These children were given an individually chosen homeopathic medicine. If pain reduction was not sufficient after just six hours, another individually-chosen homeopathic medicine was prescribed. The researchers found that 39 percent of patients experienced sufficient pain reduction in the first six hours and another 33 percent after just 12 hours. This improvement was 2.4 times faster than in children prescribed a placebo (the speed of improvement for patients given a placebo was determined by an earlier meta-analysis of those children given a placebo in a conventional medical treatment trial).

A study was conducted with 499 children between 18 months and four years of age who had had at least five bouts of acute rhinopharyngitis (cold and sore throat) in 1999 and who had consulted a physician in 2000 either for preventive treatment or for treatment of a current episode.(13) A post-hoc analysis was conducted of these children, 268 of whom were treated by a homeopathic MD and 231 who were treated by a non-homeopathic MD. The researchers evaluated the children who had received at least one homeopathic medicine but no antibiotics and compared them with those children who were treated with antibiotics but no homeopathic medicines.

The researchers found that the children prescribed a homeopathic medicine were significantly more likely to experience a positive result of treatment compared with those children prescribed an antibiotic (the number of episodes of acute rhinopharyngitis: 2.71 vs. 3.97, P<0.001). The researchers also found that the children given a homeopathic medicine had significantly fewer complications and a higher quality of life. Further, the study found that the parents of the children given the homeopathic medicine had significantly less sick-leave days than the parents of children given an antibiotic (9.5 percent vs. 31.6 percent; P<0.001).

Research has also shown that homeopathic medicines can be real lifesavers for people with serious, even life-threatening infections, such as severe sepsis. The incidence of severe sepsis in the United States is between 70,000 to 300,000 patients per year. Septic shock often leads to death in-between 40 percent -- 90 percent of cases.

At a University of Vienna hospital, 70 patients with severe sepsis were enrolled in a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, measuring survival rates at 30 days and at 180 days.(14) Those patients given a homeopathic medicine were prescribed it in the 200C potency only (in 12 hour intervals during their hospital stay). The survival rate at day 30 was 81.8 percent for homeopathic patients and 67.7percent for those given a placebo. At day 180, 75.8 percent of homeopathic patients survived but only 50.0 percent of the placebo patients survived (p=0.043). One patient was saved for every four who were treated.

The researchers concluded that homeopathy may be a useful addition with long-term benefit for severely septic patients.

Today's medicine needs alternatives to antibiotic treatment and, more than ever, we need an integrative model of medicine that brings together the best of conventional medicine and the variety of natural therapeutic interventions. Welcome to the 21st century!

[Editor's Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.]

References:

(1) Haight T, Pierce W. Effect of Prolonged Antibiotic Administration on the Weight of Healthy Young Males. Journal of Nutrition. May 1955, Volume 56, Issue 1. http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/reprint/56/1/151.pdf

(2) Harmon K. Bugs Inside: What Happens When the Microbes That Keep Us Healthy Disappear? Scientific American, December 16, 2009. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=human-microbiome-change

(3) Vijay-Kumar et al. Metabolic Syndrome and Altered Gut Microbiota in Mice Lacking Toll-Like Receptor-5. Science 4 March 2010: science.1179721v1-1179721
DOI: 10.1126/science.1179721. Reported in: Park A. A Hidden Trigger of Obesity: Intestinal Bugs. Time. March 5, 2010. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1969807,00.htm

(4) McDade T. Early Origins of Inflammation: Microbial Exposures in Infancy Predict Lower Levels of C-reactive Protein in Adulthood," Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. December 9, 2009. http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2009/12/germs.html

(5) http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/alerts/prescription_drugs/JohnsHopkinsPrescriptionsDrugsHealthAlert_656-1.html

(6) Raoult D. Obesity pandemics and the modification of digestive bacterial flora.
European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases. 27, 8(August, 2008): 631-4.

(7) Velicer CM, Heckbert SR, Lampe JW, Potter JD, Robertson CA, Taplin SH. Antibiotic use in relation to the risk of breast cancer. JAMA. 2004 Feb 18;291(7):827-35. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14970061

(8) Bradford TL, The logic of figures: The comparative results of homeopathic and other treatments. Philadelphia: Boericke and Tafel, 1900.

(9) Coulter H.L., Divided Legacy (vol. II, III). Berkeley: North Atlantic, 1975, 1977.

(10) http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;113/5/1451#SEC10

(11) Jacobs, J, Springer, DA, Crothers, D, "Homeopathic Treatment of Acute Otitis Media in Children: A Preliminary Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial," Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 20,2 (February 2001):177-183.

(12) Frei, H, and Thurneysen, A, "Homeopathy in Acute Otitis Media in Children: Treatment Effect or Spontaneous Resolution?" British Homeopathic Journal, October, 2001,90:180-182.

(13) Trichard, M, Chaufferin, Nicoloyannis, N., Pharmacoeconomic Comparison Between Homeopathic and Antibiotic Treatment Strategies in Recurrent Acute Rhinopharyngitis in Children, Homeopathy (2005)94, 3-9.

(14) Frass M, Linkesch, M, Banjya, S, et al. Adjunctive homeopathic treatment in patients with severe sepsis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in an intensive care unit. Homeopathy 2005:94;75-80.



About the author

DANA ULLMAN, MPH, is one of America's leading advocates for homeopathy. He has authored 10 books, including The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy (foreword written by Dr. Peter Fisher, Physician to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II), Homeopathy A-Z, Homeopathic Medicines for Children and Infants, and (the best-selling) Everybody's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines (with Stephen Cummings, MD). He is the founder of Homeopathic Educational Services (http://www.homeopathic.com), America's leading resource center for homeopathic books, tapes, medicines, medicine kits, software, and distance learning courses. Homeopathic Educational Services has co-published over 35 books on homeopathy with North Atlantic Books (which are distributed by Random House).

Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Join over four million monthly readers. Email privacy 100% protected. Unsubscribe at any time.


Have comments on this article? Post them here:

comments powered by Disqus

Take Action: Support NaturalNews.com

Email this article to a friend

Permalink to this article:

Reprinting this article: Non-commercial use OK, cite NaturalNews.com with clickable link.

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):
Most Popular
Today | Week | Month | Year

See all Top Headlines...



GET SHOW DETAILS
+ a FREE GIFT

Now Available at ShopNaturalNews.com

O3 Essentials OraJuvenate™
A powerful, cleansing dental cream for maximum oral/dental health.
New Cancer Solutions
Over 3 hours of content covering today’s best cancer tests, how to kill cancer cells and the best diets and exercise routines.
Freeze-Dried 100% Organic Whole Corn
Our freeze-drying method preserves taste, texture and nutrients better than any other food preservation method ever invented.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Tough, waterproof, extremely bright and it’s touted to throw an 800+ lumen beam more than 1,000 feet into the night.
Inca Treasure Smoothie Pack
This pack of our four most popular superfoods from South America is the perfect combo pack for smoothie lovers.
Pink Himalayan Salt
This salt delivers significant levels of magnesium, zinc and selenium, with trace levels of dozens of other elements.
Pinhole Glasses - Aviator Style
Pinhole glasses are becoming famous for helping people improve their vision without the risks of laser surgery.
Oxy-Rich Facial Serum
O3 Essentials Jojoba Oxy-Rich Facial Serum is cellular nourishment for your skin. Helps smooth fine lines while enhancing tissue elasticity.
Freeze-Dried 100% Blackberry Halves
Our freeze-dried blackberry halves are grown in Serbia under strict organic standards.

Also on NaturalNews:

Health Ranger Videos
Activist music
CounterThink Cartoons
Food documentaries
FREE Special Reports
Podcasts
Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Most Popular Stories

Flu shot kills 19-year-old, but vaccine industry still has total immunity against lawsuits
Here's a nutty fact: Eating more tree nuts lowers the risk of all-cause death by up to 20 percent
Six important facts you're not being told about lost Malaysia Airlines Flight 370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 now clearly a government cover-up: All evidence contradicts official story
10 other companies that use the same Subway yoga mat chemical in their buns
BLM fracking racket exposed! Armed siege and cattle theft from Bundy ranch really about fracking leases
High-dose vitamin C injections shown to annihilate cancer
U.S. treating meat with ammonia, bleach and antibiotics to kill the '24-hour sickness'
USDA to allow U.S. to be overrun with contaminated chicken from China
Vaccine fraud exposed: Measles and mumps making a huge comeback because vaccines are designed to fail, say Merck virologists
Battle for humanity nearly lost: global food supply deliberately engineered to end life, not nourish it
Diet soda, aspartame linked to premature deaths in women

25 Amazing Facts About Food

This FREE downloadable report unveils a collection of astonishing and little-known facts about the food we eat very day. Click here to read it now...

 

Resveratrol and its Effects on Human Health and Longevity - Myth or Miracle.

Unlock the secrets of cellular health with the "miracle" nutrient Resveratrol Click here to read it now...

 

Nutrition Can Save America

FREE online report shows how we can save America through a nutrition health care revolution. "Eating healthy is patriotic!" Click here to read it now...

The Healing Power of Sunlight and Vitamin D

In this exclusive interview, Dr. Michael Holick reveals fascinating facts on how vitamin D is created and used in the human body to ward off chronic diseases like cancer, osteoporosis, mental disorders and more. Click here to read it now...

Vaccines: Get the Full Story

The International Medical Council on Vaccination has released, exclusively through NaturalNews.com, a groundbreaking document containing the signatures of physicians, brain surgeons and professors, all of which have signed on to a document stating that vaccines pose a significant risk of harm to the health of children. Click here to read it now...

Health Ranger Storable Organics

GMO-free, chemical-free foods and superfoods for long-term storage and preparedness. See selection at www.StorableOrganics.com



Recommended Resources On:

Natural News trends
Health Ranger news
Natural News GMOs
Mike Adams tracker
Natural News photos
Natural News Global
Natural News in focus
Natural News connect
Natural News shocking stories
Natural News radar
GMOs
Quackwatch
Vaccines
Health freedom
Dr. Paul Offit

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2014 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

eTrust Pro Certified Android app on Google Play

Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of NaturalNews.com, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source: Alexa.com)

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.