Over the next few weeks, we are pleased to share a series of posts taken from the article titled: “Antibiotics: 21st Century Time Bomb” by Keith Wassung. This series focuses on the issues caused by overuse of antibiotics in today’s society. Last week’s article focused on the way antibiotics are (over)prescribed in both animals and humans and the effects of antibiotic overuse. This week looks at how antibiotics could mess up an infant’s metabolism.

Part 4: Antibiotics Could Mess Up an Infant’s Metabolism

When antibiotics are given early in life, the recipient has a greater chance of becoming obese. Researchers discovered that when antibiotics were given during a critical part of early development, the bacteria or microbes in the digestive system were reprogrammed.

ANTIBIOTICS - COULD MESS UP AN INFANT'S METABOLISMScientists say that disrupting the bacterial make-up of the gastrointestinal tract could affect the way the body’s metabolism works. A slower metabolic lead to obesity, because the body does not burn calories as quickly.

Childhood obesity creates a substantial increase in family expenses with the price tag coming out to $19,000 per child,according to researchers from Duke Global Health Institute and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in who published their findings in the journal Pediatrics.

“Infancy is a time of growth and development where stem cells are dividing —they’re choosing if they’re going to become muscle or fat or bone. There have been other studies that show changes early in infancy can impact body composition later on. We know microbes can affect metabolism, so potentially these metabolic early life interactions could be either speeding up a child’s growth or not.”

Laura Cox, Ph.D.