Could Antibiotics Lead To Weight Gain?

pillsembedPhoto: REX USA/Image Source/Rex.
Antibiotics are an important part of your doctor's tool kit, preventing infections from spreading totally out of control. But, could they also negatively affect your weight? Kiera Butler, a senior editor at Mother Jones, has an interesting theory. After reading the results of a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that examined antibiotic prescription rates across the country, she found that there was a wide variation in rate by state. So, she asked Lauri Hicks, a lead author of the study, if those rates correlated to any other patterns.
Advertisement
Sure enough, the states with the highest prescription rates also had the highest rates of obesity. Additionally, the study's team found that those same states typically had below-average median incomes. The relationship between obesity and lower income is well established. And, it makes sense. Often it's less nutritious, processed foods that are least expensive (and most calorically laden).
But, Butler suggests that the high rates of obesity might actually be caused by antibiotics, as mounting evidence has drawn a link between gut bacteria and body weight, among many other health issues. Eradicating gut bacteria that promotes thinness with antibiotics could, in theory, lead to weight gain. Our bodies are a complex world for the bacteria that inhabit them — and altering our bacterial balances can throw lots of (unexpected) things off.
Now, it's important to remember that correlation does not imply causation, and there could be a host of other factors at play in areas with high antibiotic prescription rates: environment, income (for example, someone who doesn't have insurance might wait until an illness gets bad enough to require antibiotics before paying for a doctor's visit) or the fact that obesity is also correlated with an increased risk of health problems that might require treatment with antibiotics.
Still, the fact that these three data sets all overlap demands more investigation, as Hicks notes to Mother Jones. In the meantime, read up on your gut. It's endlessly fascinating — and it might be affecting more than you ever thought. (Mother Jones)
Advertisement

More from Body

Julie Krause writes about all things mom, parenting, and relationships at her blog, Baby Rabies, and she has some words of advice for the non-pregnant ...
Let me introduce you all to the love of my life, Sienna Harper Gernon! I've never felt love like it! @justchrisgernon thank you so much, you have been...
Ragazzi mi state seguendo in tanti e vorrei ringraziarvi e scusarmi se non riesco a rispondere a tutti...vi proprio ho una foto che mi ricorda tutte ...
Pregnant women get a lot of advice about motherhood, even when they don't ask for it. And in the first episode of Expecting, from Refinery29's comedy ...
Update: Kopp's original Facebook post has been removed, and, as Shape reports, the chances of contracting an infection so severe that draining is ...
Breast-feeding has numerous benefits for both mother and baby, but it doesn't always come as naturally as we might assume. And, as one viral photo shows, ...
Last week, Kelly Stanley was breast-feeding her 9-month-old baby during dinner when someone else at her table decided to grab a cloth napkin and try to ...
(Paid Content) Stress sweat is different from regular sweat in that it feeds off bacteria and causes odor. Then you start to think about it — producing ...
Periods may be annoying, but at least they're predictable — sort of. If yours is a little delayed this cycle, and you're not trying to get pregnant right ...
It sustains life. It boosts immunity. It may or may not taste like the milk left over from a bowl of Lucky Charms. (Full disclosure: I sampled mine just ...
Gina Rodriguez is the master of keeping it real. She's been open about everything from losing her virginity to coping with thyroid disease, so it makes ...
When you see your friend's adorable baby, your first instinct, understandably, is probably to hug and kiss her all over. However, you might want to think ...
Two years ago, Ericka Hart was about to walk into a Sephora in Lower Manhattan when she looked down at her ringing phone, and stopped right there on Wall...
Eve Torres Gracie, former WWE wrestler and current very dangerous person, posted a moving Instagram photo of her post-baby body today. Inspired by the ...