New study: Early antibiotic usage alters gut flora causing adulthood illnesses
(NaturalHealth365) As though the threat of antibiotic-resistant, disease-causing bacteria weren’t enough to keep parents and medical providers away from the overuse of antibiotics, research has now shown that early antibiotic usage can cause changes in gut flora that lead to an increase in adulthood illnesses. University of Minnesota researchers have discovered that antibiotics destroy helpful bacteria in the gut that enable the production of allergen-fighting immune cells – causing long-lasting changes in gut health.
Researchers have found that antibiotics can alter critical gut microbiota that affect vulnerability to contracting a number of infectious diseases. These differences in intestinal flora may have long-reaching impacts on overall wellbeing and most conventionally-trained physicians are unaware of this reality.
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It is well-known that exposure to certain health risks in childhood can have an impact many years down the road. But research now shows that the administration of antibiotics to infants is another one of those potential health risks with devastating consequences. Antibiotics can alter gut bacteria to a point that the human body becomes more vulnerable to disease in adulthood.
The University of Minnesota study, published in the scientific journal Cell Host & Microbe, revealed that an imbalance in gut microbes caused by antibiotics is called dysbiosis. This condition has been tied not only to infectious diseases, but allergies, other autoimmune disorders, and even obesity, well into adulthood.
Researchers believe that in the case of allergies, it is probably the use of antibiotics which eliminate important gut bacteria that would otherwise help immune cells grow to maturity. This lack of mature cells puts the body’s immune system at risk when confronted with allergens. Even if the gut’s bacteria could eventually be re-established through consumption of fermented food products, the immune system would remain impaired.
In the case of obesity, it is thought that antibiotics impair certain gut microbiota, causing an increase in levels of short-chain fatty acids impacting metabolism.
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Shocking realities exposed about the use of antibiotics
These findings are particularly significant because antibiotics remain the most-often prescribed drug to children, representing approximately one-fourth of all childhood medications given. But research suggests that about one-third of all prescriptions are not actually necessary. The University of Minnesota study’s senior author, Dr. Dan Knights, sees the findings as clear evidence that more careful attention needs to be given when prescribing antibiotics.
Knights adds that his team reviewed hundreds of studies and found evidence of positive correlations between antibiotic use, alterations in gut bacteria, and onset of disease in adulthood. He goes so far as to say that the study’s findings may give clues to the cause of the known increase in metabolic and autoimmune diseases. He describes the study’s results as presenting a roadmap for determining how to prescribe antibiotics in the future to lessen the risk of later health implications.
The study’s researchers used their findings to develop a predictive model with potential clinical significance for measuring healthy development of bacteria in the gut of young children. Clearly, we must focus our attention on better nutrition, detoxification protocols and other natural therapies to eliminate the threat of disease or suffer the consequences.