Antibiotics are valuable, potentially life-saving tools that have significantly reduced human morbidity and mortality. Unfortunately, antibiotics may also have unintended consequences from their off-target effects that may increase the risk of many long-term conditions. Recent epidemiologic studies have detected a possible link between antibiotic use in childhood and weight gain1 – with disruption to the normal gut microbiota considered the most likely cause.
“Infancy is an important time in the development of the human microbiota and these studies provide evidence that early exposure to antibiotics may disrupt the early-life microbiota and lead to changes in growth and metabolic development,” says Dr Laura Cox (New York University, USA). “In animal studies, we are carefully trying to understand how the intestinal microbiota influences body composition and metabolism and what impact antibiotics might have.”
Her talk was one of the topics presented at the Gut Microbiota for Health World Summit in Miami, FL, USA.