A new study suggests that antibiotic use early in life can lead to permanent changes in the gut, increasing the risk of developing diabetes and obesity.
The research — led by Laura M. Cox, of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York — is the latest to suggest antibiotics may alter the natural balance of good and bacteria in the intestinal system in ways that may make some individuals more prone to disease.
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The latest findings, published in the journal Cell
, follow research reported last year that antibiotic use within the first year of life boost the risk for eczema by 40 percent and that infants given such drugs are far more likely to develop asthma later in life, Medical News Today
In the latest study, Cox and her colleagues found that mice given antibiotics early in life had altered gut bacteria, which reprogrammed their metabolism and made them more prone to weight gain.
"This showed that mice are more metabolically vulnerable if they get antibiotics earlier in life," said Cox.
"When we put mice on a high-calorie diet, they got fat. When we put mice on antibiotics, they got fat. But when we put them on both antibiotics and a high-fat diet, they got very, very fat," explained researcher Martin Blaser, M.D., professor of microbiology at the NYU Langone Medical Center.
In addition to the weight gain, the mice also had high levels of fasting insulin and gene alterations linked to liver regeneration and detoxification. These effects, the researchers say, are normally found in obese patients with metabolic disorders, such as diabetes.
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