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Are Antibiotics Making You Fat?

It’s no secret that the United States is witnessing an “obesity epidemic.”

One course of antibiotics—especially during infancy—can forever change the communities of good bacteria and yeast living in the body.

Experts tell us that each year more children are obese and more adults are obese.

With this excess weight comes an increased risk for serious disorders like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

In fact, Marion Nestle, chair of the department of nutrition and food studies at New York University, tells us that the cost of obesity-related disease will be “astronomical.” (1)

The Elephant in the Room: Antibiotic Overuse

Do antibiotics cause weight gainAntibiotics can be helpful to treat bacterial infection, but they will disrupt the balanced community of bacteria and yeast in the gut. After a course of antibiotics, your body needs probiotics, like those found in InnergyBiotic, to rebalance the gut.

Almost anyone you speak with will blame the obesity epidemic on too much food and too little exercise. Some people will look at the quality of food—which tells us that some foods are more harmful than others.

Very few people will look at their inner ecosystem.

Pagan Kennedy at The New York Times recently wrote an article that exposes the dysfunctional relationship we have developed with antibiotic therapy. (2)

She recounts a discovery that occurred in 1948—when scientists found that antibiotic drugs drive up the weight of farm animals. This caused farmers to feed their animals less “slop” and more antibiotics, yielding heftier animals. Conveniently for the farmers, large-scale antibiotic use also meant that their animals could be kept indoors and in filthy living conditions.

Then in the 1950s, we experimented on humans when a team of scientists fed antibiotics to schoolchildren in Guatemala for over a year. Similar experiments were conducted with a group of mentally disabled children in Florida and a group of 700 Navy recruits.

Researchers found that—like farm animals—we grew larger when given antibiotics.

Antibiotics and Your Metabolism: Do Antibiotics Cause Weight Gain?

These days, children in the United States are given about one course of antibiotics each year. In her article, Pagan Kennedy asks, “Could these intermittent high doses affect our metabolism?”

Martin Blaser is the director of the Human Microbiome Program and a professor of medicine and microbiology at New York University. According to Dr. Blaser, our “modern high-calorie diet alone is insufficient to explain the obesity epidemic and…antibiotics could be contributing.”

In other words, while processed foods, added sugars, and rancid oils aren’t doing anyone any favors, many researchers now believe that there is more to the obesity epidemic than poor diet and lack of exercise.

The answer to obesity may lie with the microbes in our gut.

Antibiotics versus Probiotics

Antibiotic therapy is used to treat infection. It’s useful only during a bacterial infection (antibiotics won't work for bugs like the flu virus). While antibiotics can be effective at killing off an infection, they can also destroy the inner ecosystem of the gut.

One course of antibiotics—especially during infancy—can forever change the communities of good bacteria and yeast living in the body.

Antibiotics reduce the diversity of microbes living in the gut. They also reduce the population of good bacteria living in the gut, paving the way for Candida overgrowth.

These changes have other serious consequences. Because up to 80% of the immune system is found in the gut, antibiotic use puts us at a greater risk of both food and respiratory allergies. And finally, as Dr. Blaser’s research implies, antibiotic use can make us obese. (3)

Probiotics are the antidote to antibiotic therapy—or at least, they are the best antidote we have been able to come up with. While human beings were never meant to manage the effects of a devastated inner ecosystem, probiotics offer a way to repopulate the gut with good bacteria and yeast.

Probiotics with the Wisdom of Nature

Body Ecology’s probiotic beverages, homemade coconut water kefir, and fermented vegetables are first generation probiotics—meaning, they are more robust than the kind of probiotics you would find in a probiotic capsule.

Because they are living and active, the bacteria and yeast in fermented foods form a complex, symbiotic relationship. Indeed, research now tells us that probiotics are more effective when taken as food—rather than as a supplement.

Unfortunately, probiotics are the one food group missing from most plates.

While standard nutrition classes may discuss calories and break down food into its basic units of fat, sugar, and protein, the living probiotic value of food has been nearly forgotten!

The good news is that we are seeing a resurgence of interest in probiotic foods, especially as researchers discover just how complex our relationship is with our inner ecosystem. With this renewed interest in our body’s ecology, people are losing weight and bringing their metabolism back into a state of balance.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

Is there a deeper cause of the obesity epidemic plaguing the US? Most experts believe that obesity is related to too much food and a sedentary lifestyle. But routine antibiotics may contribute to a rise in obesity by increasing weight and disrupting metabolism.

Antibiotics can be useful to treat bacterial infection, but it is important to understand that they will simultaneously destroy the protective inner ecosystem of the gut. Antibiotics reduce microbial diversity and good bacteria in the gut to open the door for Candida overgrowth. Since up to 80% of the immune system is found in the gut, this turn of events can wreak havoc on immunity.

Probiotics are the key to balance out courses of antibiotic therapy. Probiotic beverages, coconut water kefir, and fermented vegetables come from real food sources that have been proven more effective than probiotic supplements. Probiotics can remedy the destruction caused by antibiotic use to promote healthy weight and metabolism.

REFERENCES:

  1. "Obesity Epidemic "Astronomical"." WebMD.
  2. Kennedy, Pagan. "The Fat Drug." The New York Times.
  3. Cox, L. M., & Blaser, M. J. (2013). Pathways in microbe-induced obesity. Cell metabolism, 17(6), 883-894.

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Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

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