More and more physicians and health care providers are reluctant to prescribe antibiotics. There’s good reason for that. It’s the fear of creating super bugs that are antibiotic resistant. However, there are other issues that need to be addressed when it comes to antibiotics. The comparison of data based on health and antibiotic use throughout the United States shows that areas with high antibiotic use coincide with areas that have high obesity levels. Is it just a coincidence or do antibiotics make it harder to lose weight?
The good and the bad of antibiotics.
The good part of having antibiotics available is that it kills off bacterial infections and helps you get well. That’s pretty obvious. However, antibiotic use has a dark side. One of the biggest problems is that it kills bacteria indiscriminately and not all bacteria is bad. You need the right balance of beneficial bacteria in you digestive system to keep your body functioning properly. If there’s a disruption in the balance, it can lead to chronic disease over time, such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. In areas with high antibiotic use there were also higher incidence of these conditions.
Farmers use antibiotics to promote weight gain of livestock.
I want to say, “Hmmmm.” Most the antibiotics produced in our country, about 70 percent, are actually used by farmers to help livestock gain weight. It’s given to healthy livestock in smaller doses, changing the gut flora, which then makes the livestock grow larger and heavier. One researcher, Dr. Martin Blaser from New York University Langone Medical Center, said that the antibiotics may cause a permanent change in the bacteria in the gut, while also disrupting the hormones related to hunger. That leads to an increased appetite and weight gain.
Studies show that friendly bacteria may help weight loss.
One animal study followed rats that were given lactic acid bacteria all the way from fetus to adulthood. They put on far less weight that the control group. Babies with higher amounts of bifidobacteria (good bacteria) had more protection against weight gain, according to another study. Another study showed that people who were obese could reduce belly fat by almost five percent and subcutaneous fat by three percent by just adding a type of fermented milk that’s rich in probiotics, to their diet for 12 weeks.
One study showed that boosting good bacteria by taking probiotics can help people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is linked to obesity.
You can boost your healthy gut bacteria with live bacteria yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables. Kimchi is also super good and good for gut bacteria.
If you have to take an antibiotic, avoid consuming sugar products and wait at least two hours after taking the antibiotic before eating or taking the probiotic.
Adding more fiber to your diet can also help good bacteria by providing them with nourishment. Vegetables, fruit, nuts and beans are good sources of fiber.