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Father holding an infant in a brightly lit room. Text says "Antibiotics For Babies: Proceed with Caution"

Antibiotics For Babies: Proceed With Caution

Early Antibiotics May Harm Your Baby’s Gut

When we discuss the overuse of antibiotics, it’s usually focused on adults who rely on them too often to treat health problems that would be resolved in time on their own.

This over-reliance can often mean these one-time “miracle drugs” may not work when they’re truly necessary, and create openings for more health problems down the road.

Few of us expect babies to be exposed to antibiotics so early, but we recently learned how often they’re prescribed — even once — for little ones under age 2 may increase the possibility of food allergies, obesity and many more health challenges.

What’s more, little good happens when infants are treated with antibiotics during their first week of life, according to a recent report in Nature Communications.

 

Too Much Exposure To Antibiotics

Experts estimate as many as 10 percent of all newborns are prescribed an antibiotic and that doctors justify them based on “suspected” infections.

This overprescribing is justified by some doctors to prevent a problem they suspect could happen and get serious in a hurry, although a small number of babies ultimately experience an infection.

With those facts in mind, a team of researchers from the UK and The Netherlands conducted a clinical trial involving 227 babies to observe how antibiotics would affect their tiny microbiomes.

Nearly 150 babies with “suspected” sepsis were treated by one of three antibiotics, with the remainder were part of a control group who received no antibiotics. All babies had fecal or rectal samples taken before and after treatments at 1, 4 and 12 months of age.

Among the infants who were prescribed an antibiotic, the harmful effects were obvious.

  • Babies experienced significant decreases in various species of Bifidobacterium, microbes that help them better digest breast milk and support their good gut health.
  • Scientists observed a change in more than 250 strains of bacteria in the guts of babies, flipping the balance in favor of more unhealthy harmful microbes.
  • Those microbial changes lasted at least 12 months and did not improve with breastfeeding.
  • Among the antibiotics prescribed, the combination of penicillin and gentamicin was the least detrimental on a newborn’s microbiome.

The start of antibiotic treatment, not its duration, appears to be trigger for gut health problems, says researcher Dr. Marlies van Houten, a pediatrician at the Spaarne Hospital in The Netherlands.

 

A Probiotic In Your Baby’s Future?

The evidence is clear that antibiotics are prescribed way too often, and breastfeeding may not restore the developing microbiomes of infants, so what are your options?

Should an antibiotic be necessary, we recommend talking to your pediatrician about giving your baby a probiotic with multiple species of beneficial bacteria that can boost the critical balance of bugs in their tiny microbiomes.

If you’re looking for a probiotic with the right made for your baby, consider EndoMune Jr. Powder formulated with 10 billion CFUs of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families plus a prebiotic that feeds their developing microbiome.

Just a half-teaspoon of EndoMune Jr. sprinkled in your baby’s formula or added to soft foods (when your baby is ready for them) once a day can make a gut-healthy difference!

 

Resources

Nature Communications

University of Edinburgh

Medscape

Photograph of infant holding mother's thumb. Text reads "Protect Your Baby's Gut Health from Allergies

The Link Between Childhood Allergies And Gut Health

Protect Your Baby’s Gut Health From Allergies

Building great gut health starts with a solid foundation. For a new mom, that’s making gut-smart choices like breastfeeding her new baby for as long as she can and doing her best to avoid a c-section birth.

Doing those two things can go a long way toward developing a diverse, balanced microbiome that protects your child from persistent health issues like allergies as he/she grows up.

Unfortunately, c-section rates remain high for new moms (even for those first-time moms with low-risk births) and breastfeeding numbers drop sharply after 6 months, according to numbers collected by the CDC.

So, we shouldn’t be surprised that childhood allergies are also on the rise due to a lack of diversity in gut bacteria, according to a pair of reports.

 

Gut Bacteria Imbalances

The findings of the two studies, appearing recently in Nature Communications and Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, mirrored each other in one important way: The balance of bacteria determined a child’s susceptibility to food or respiratory allergies.

For example, Italian researchers in the Nature study identified specific microbial signatures that stood out due to their higher inflammatory potential (thanks to an uptick in the production of pro-inflammatory molecules) and depleted levels of beneficial bacteria in fecal samples taken from allergic kids compared to healthy ones.

Overall, less than a third of the children with food allergies developed a healthy immunity to problematic foods like cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, or fruit by the end of a three-year monitoring period.

These same challenges with the lack of microbial diversity were very evident in the Pediatric Allergy and Immunology study over an extended five-year time-frame too.

Based on stool samples taken from children ages 3-5, patients with allergies had far less diverse microbiomes than healthy kids, especially among young patients sensitive to peanuts and milk.

 

A Probiotic Solution

Although there were no mentions in either study about breastfeeding or natural childbirth, based on previous reports we’ve shared, we know both have a positive impact on reducing your child’s chances of food or respiratory allergies.

Not to mention, feeding your baby formula exclusively has been found to increase the incidence of respiratory problems and asthma significantly.

Unfortunately, more than a few new moms may not have the option of having natural childbirth or breastfeeding, so what do you do?

You may want to consider giving your baby a multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Junior Advanced Powder that contains four basic building blocks of beneficial bacteria from the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus families, along with a prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the good guys in her/his developing gut.

But, before starting your baby on EndoMune Junior in its powdered form or its Chewable berry-flavored tablet, please check in with your pediatrician.

 

Resources

Pediatric Allergy Immunology

Medscape

Nature Communications

Microbiome Post.com

Image of infant with text: The Solution For Your Baby’s Colic: Probiotics

The Solution For Your Baby’s Colic: Probiotics

If we took a poll of parents and asked them about common health problems they dread the most with their healthy newborn child, there’s no doubt that the frequent and prolonged distress that comes with colic would top the list. Fussiness and crying are expected with babies during their first year, particularly when they’re uncomfortable, tired or hungry.

But, when the crying becomes intense, sudden and continuous — lasting at least three hours a day several times a week, then continuing for more than three weeks — it’s a safe bet colic is the problem.

Many factors play a role in triggering colic. A number of them are connected to a baby’s developing gut health, including acid reflux, too much gas (due to swallowing air while crying) and gut bacteria imbalances.

During a lengthy crying fit, parents may do just about anything to console their colicky babies, including treating them with drops of simethicone, an over-the-counter drug intended to break up gas bubbles in the gut.

Simethicone may be a more convenient treatment, but is it really more effective than giving colicky babies a probiotic?

Probiotic Advantages

Generally, the consensus on using simethicone is very mixed with some resources and health professionals finding very little evidence that it has any value in treating colic. On the other hand, probiotics are emerging as a far more effective and direct way to relieve colic.

A recent report appearing in the medical journal Beneficial Microbes underscores this difference, comparing the benefits of simethicone to a multi-strain probiotic among 87 babies (fed by formula or breast milk) for four weeks.

Although there were no major disparities in the number of times babies cried in either group, infants responded well to the multi-strain probiotic, reducing the number of crying days overall and how long they cried at night.

These results are further evidence that unhealthy imbalances in gut bacteria among babies who lack some key strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families may be at the root of colic and may be better addressed with a probiotic.

In fact, four of the beneficial strains and the prebiotic (FOS) used in this study are the same ones in EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic Powder, formulated for newborns through age 3.

An important doctor’s note: Please check with your pediatrician before giving your baby with a probiotic!

References

 

 

parent holding sick child with text: How Antibiotics May Harm Your Baby's Health

How Antibiotics May Harm Your Baby’s Health

When the topic of antibiotics comes up here, the concerns usually focus on adults who lean on them too often to treat common health problems. This over-reliance on antibiotics, in addition to daily exposures from antimicrobial soaps and cleaners plus drug residues hiding in the flesh foods we eat, is creating a world full of superbugs in which these powerful drugs are slowly losing their ability to work as they should.

Now, we’re learning how the health of children exposed to antibiotics is affected for the long term, and the results aren’t good.

Harmful early exposure to antibiotics

You probably wouldn’t expect infants to be exposed to enough antibiotics to create any health risks.

Yet, researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Rutgers University found evidence that even one dose of antibiotics given to children under age 2 was connected to greater risks of serious health problems as they grew up, according to a study appearing in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Among the laundry list of health problems associated with one dose of antibiotics faced by babies living in the Midwest:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Celiac disease
  • Obesity
  • Food allergies

Roughly, 70 percent of babies in Minnesota and Wisconsin had been prescribed at least one course of antibiotics but most had received multiple rounds, based on data collected by the Rochester Epidemiology Project.

What’s more, the long-term harm varied among a number of factors, including gender, the variety of antibiotics taken and how many times these drugs were prescribed. For example, penicillin was linked to higher incidences of celiac disease and ADHD in girls, obesity among boys and asthma in both sexes.

Reducing health risks with probiotics

When antibiotics were developed then prescribed for children, the emphasis was merely on controlling pathogens, not the greater effect these drugs could have on the microbiome, especially for a baby’s developing gut health, according to the study.

Now, we recognize the problems with antibiotics — an estimated 47 million are prescribed needlessly every year according to the CDC — the need to minimize their use and the collateral harm they can cause for a child’s developing microbiome.

If you’re looking to limit your child’s exposure, a recent report we shared with you showed how taking a probiotic may lessen the need for antibiotics.

What’s more, the probiotics these children were taking contained some of the same beneficial strains of bacteria in EndoMune Jr. Advanced Powder and EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Do you need guidance on how maximize the probiotic benefits for your son or daughter when they’re taking a round of antibiotics? Check out our updated to-do list of probiotic basics you need to know.

References

 

 

 

Parent Holding Preemie Baby's Foot

How Probiotics May Protect Your Preemie Baby

Premature babies have a lot of obstacles to overcome. One of the most serious health challenges they face is necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a condition that affects their intestines.

This problem occurs when bacteria attack the intestinal wall which causes inflammation, then cracks that can allow these invaders to leak into the abdomen. Without treatment, babies face serious infections and an increased risk of death very early in their lives.

Although scientists aren’t exactly sure what causes NEC, apart from being born prematurely, babies who are fed formula rather than human breast milk via breastfeeding (that’s easier to digest and full of the nutrients they need to boost their tiny immune systems) are at a greater risk for this serious disease.

Fortunately, doctors have had success treating preemie babies with probiotics to prevent risks of NEC, but how well do they really work?

The multi-strain probiotic difference

A group of European researchers compared the effect of treating three groups of preemie babies with two different mixes of probiotics from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families to infants who received no probiotics in a recent study appearing in Gut Microbes.

(Two strains of beneficial bacteria used in this study are the foundation of EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic Powder.)

Infants who were delivered mostly via C-section and up to 10 weeks early received a multi-strain probiotic or a placebo until 36 weeks. No surprise, the probiotic preemie groups experienced improved gut health (greater consistency, fewer variations) in their tiny microbiomes.

Even more promising, an analysis of fecal samples discovered reduced amounts of bacteria linked to NEC among infants given probiotics.

And, there’s even more good news!

Probiotic guidance for doctors

Many neonatal doctors struggle with making the best choices to help their preemie patients avoid NEC, but a very recent analysis of 45 trials and more than 12,000 infants published in Pediatrics gave the nod to the one-two power of probiotics and prebiotics.

Formulations of probiotics containing Bifidobacterium or Lactobacillus blends plus a prebiotic significantly reduced the odds that an infant faces NEC, compared to a placebo, by 68 and 94 percent, respectively.

What’s more, treating infants with beneficial strains of Lactobacillus and a prebiotic decreased an infant’s risks of sepsis, another potentially life-threatening problem triggered by the body due to an infection, by an amazing 82 percent.

The probiotic advantage for your baby

Are you a Mom who may need to deliver your newborn via C-section? Breastfeeding is a great way to give your baby that gut-friendly head start. Should problems arise, you may want to take that extra step — with guidance from your pediatricians — to give your baby a probiotic tailored to his/her needs.

Protecting your baby’s developing immune system can be as easy as sprinkling a multi-species probiotic powder like EndoMune Junior in a liquid or noncarbonated formula or on soft foods once a day.

EndoMune Junior Infant Probiotic Powder features four beneficial strains of beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families, plus a prebiotic (FOS), that’s formulated to help reduce your newborn’s risks of NEC.

 

Resources

 

 

photo of sleeping preemie baby

How Multi-Strain Probiotics May Help Preemie Babies

There’s plenty of steps that moms can take to protect the health of their newborn babies. Most experts agree breastfeeding and natural childbirth — both providing great gut health benefits too — sit at the top of that to-do list.

But, even the best-laid plans of moms and pediatricians can fall by the wayside when a newborn arrives prematurely (before the 37th week of gestation).

After a period of decline, preemie births have rebounded upward to nearly 10 percent of all births in the U.S. This creates opportunities for many more health problems among infants, according to the CDC.

Fortunately, moms and pediatricians may have a new weapon to help preemies, according to Cell Reports Medicine: Multi-strain probiotics.

The probiotics-breastfeeding combo

Few hospitals treat preemie babies with probiotics out of caution. Some health experts believe probiotics aren’t used because there’s been little evidence to demonstrate their benefits.

However, a sizeable number of preemies are delivered via C-section, creating many more health obstacles for infants and their developing immune systems in the gut.

That’s where multi-strain probiotics come in. A group of British researchers studied the benefits of probiotics via fecal samples collected from a group of 234 infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) over their first 100 days of life.

All infants in this trial were fed human breast milk. In addition, 101 babies received a probiotic containing Bifidobacterium bifidum and Lactobacillus acidophilus. (Both are among the four featured strains in EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic Powder recommended for children up to age 3.)

The probiotic difference

The combination of breast milk and multi-strain probiotics was a difference-maker for that group of infants due to the addition of Bifidobacterium bifidum to their tiny bodies, according to researchers.

This strain of Bifidobacterium allowed infants to better digest breast milk, giving their developing immune systems a gentle boost in two important ways:

  1. Bifidobacterium bifidum contains genes that enable babies to better digest specific sugars in breast milk for use as prebiotics. (Prebiotics function as food for the good bugs in their guts.)
  2. pH levels dropped in stool samples, a good sign that health-harming bacteria won’t thrive.

“We hope that our findings will help direct future clinical trials and practice and help clinicians and healthcare professionals make a rational choice when it comes to diet-microbe combinations and ultimately help these at-risk preterm babies,” says Dr. Lindsay Hall, study co-author and a researcher at the Quadram Institute.

Despite the best of plans, however, many moms don’t have a choice whether to deliver their babies prematurely or via C-section. However, EndoMune Junior Advanced Probiotic Powder makes it easy to support the healthy immune development of young infants.

Sprinkling a tiny scoop of EndoMune Junior in your baby’s food or formula once a day can make a big difference!

(Please consult with your pediatrician before starting your baby on EndoMune Junior or any probiotic.)

 

References

University of East Anglia

Cell Reports Medicine

Penn Medicine News

Nature

CDC

 

 

 

 

pregnant woman holding belly

Could Beneficial Bacteria Protect Babies from Autism?

The cluster of developmental disorders linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the greatest challenges many American families will face.

Autism presents itself uniquely in each child depending on the range and intensity of his/her symptoms, typically with communication and social skills.

One out of 54 children (18.5 out of every 1,000) experience ASD to some degree, according to recent statistics reported by the CDC just from 2016, and the numbers keep climbing.

Over the years, evidence has shown connections between gut health and ASD that are hard to ignore. Often, studies show ASD children possess a distinctly different mix of gut bacteria than those who aren’t living on the spectrum.

Although consistent treatments remain elusive, future moms may be able to reduce some ASD risk factors for their newborns with some gut-friendly help.

Moms: Don’t stress out!

Stress can be a real problem, not only for new moms but their babies (both before and after they’re born). Stress may lead to serious problems, including miscarriages, preemie births and developmental delays.

In previous research, University of Colorado scientists observed how female rats that were stressed and given the drug terbutaline (prescribed by doctors in some cases to delay premature birth) later gave birth to pups presenting autism-like symptoms.

For this new study appearing in Brain, Behavior and Immunity, Colorado scientists conducted essentially the same experiment with one major difference: another group of mice was inoculated with a species of beneficial bacteria known for its lasting anti-inflammatory effects on the brain (M. vaccae).

Female mice injected with beneficial bacteria had pups that didn’t experience autism symptoms compared to those that didn’t receive it.

No autism vaccine!

Researchers were quick to throw cold water on any assumptions they were creating a “vaccine” for autism, or that microbial interventions could relieve ASD symptoms in children (although there’s documented evidence that some have benefitted from it).

However, a day may come in the not-too-distant-future when stressed-out moms who are at a higher risk of having a child with challenges like ASD could be given a probiotic or be inoculated to support healthy brain development, says Dr. Christopher Lowry, co-author of the Colorado study.

Based on the positive results of studies like this one, researchers recommend that new moms consider gentle approaches to preventing potential problems with ASD with an emphasis on bacteria.

Some of these interventions for new moms include lowering their stress levels with a walk in nature surrounded by microbes (remember the hygiene hypothesis?), eating fermented foods and taking a probiotic.

For a new mom wanting to give her body a gut-friendly boost, EndoMune Advanced Probiotic provides a plethora of benefits from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families, plus a proven prebiotic (FOS) that feeds the beneficial bacteria in her gut.

Resources

Poor gut health may be responsible for the terrible toddler twos

Your toddler’s unique gut microbiome may contribute to those mood swings associated with the “terrible twos.”

There may be more going on besides fussy behavior, according to researchers at Ohio State University’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science.

Those mood swings may provide indicators for early stages of chronic diseases, like allergies, asthma, bowel disease and even obesity, according to a recent study appearing in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.

Evidence has shown that intestinal bacteria interact with stress hormones, the very same ones linked to chronic illnesses like obesity and asthma, says Dr. Lisa Christian, a researcher with Ohio State’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.

“A toddler’s temperament gives us a good idea of how they react to stress. This information combined with an analysis of their gut microbiome could ultimately help us identify opportunities to prevent chronic health issues earlier,” Dr. Christian explained.

Based on an analysis of 77 stool samples taken from young boys and girls ages 18-27 months old, there were signs of activity in the gut-brain axis, says Dr. Michael Bailey, study co-author, microbiologist and member of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research.

“There is definitely communication between the bacteria in the gut and the brain, but we don’t know which one starts the conversation.”

No matter which side “started the conversation,” evidence appears to link young temperaments to the amount and diversity of gut bacteria, even after taking into account their diets, the mother’s birthing method and whether or not they were breast fed.

Matching gut bacteria to behaviors

Mothers were asked to assess their child’s behaviors using questionnaires that gauged 18 specific traits that fed into specific scales of emotional reactivity.

Based on those reports, researchers analyzed the different genetic types and quantities of gut bacteria in those stool samples (along with diets).

With improvements in DNA testing, which enable scientists to spot individual bacteria and concentrations in stool samples, “All of the predominant bacteria we found in our study have been previously linked to either changes in behavior or immune responses,” says Dr. Bailey, according to a press release.

Girls vs. boys

Generally, children who had the most genetically diverse gut bacteria more often displayed the behaviors connected with positive mood, impulsivity, sociability and curiosity.

Scientists have also been able to link extroverted personality traits in boys to an abundance of gut microbes from specific families (Ruminococcaceae and Rikenellaceae) and genera (Parabacteroides and Dialister).

“It’s possible that more outgoing kids could experience less trouble due to fewer stress hormones in their guts than those who are shy. Healthy guts regulate the production of stress hormones better or it could be a bit of both,” Dr. Bailey says.

The links between gut bacteria and temperament were less consistent in girls according to the study. Still, scientists linked some traits in girls — focused attention, self-restraint and cuddliness — to a less diverse microbiome.

Also, girls who had more of one particular family of gut bacteria (Rikenellaceae) experienced more fear than others with better balance in their gut health.

What makes a real difference?

Although researchers concluded diets didn’t make a difference in the behaviors and gut health of the toddlers they examined, they left room for the possibility that they could.

“It is certainly possible that the types or quantities of food that children with different temperaments choose to eat affect their microbiome,” says Dr. Christian.

Despite the findings in this study, evidence points to the method of birth — vaginal delivery versus caesarean — being a huge factor. Babies born via C-section had less gut diversity than those who were born naturally.

What’s more, the growing immune systems of small children aren’t nearly as prepared for challenges to come if they don’t have the right balance of gut bacteria. That’s where probiotics can help your child, whether he or she is a newborn, toddler or school age child.

That’s why EndoMune Junior now comes into two varieties: a powdered formula, ideal for mixing into food or drinks and a delicious chewable berry-flavored tablet that will leave them wanting more.

Each dose of EndoMune Junior contains 10 billion CFUs, including four species of proven health-promoting bacteria, and a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria already in your child’s gut.

A healthy gut protects your newborn’s brain

When discussing the gut and the brain, typically the conversation turns to the gut-brain axis, the connection that ties your brain and emotions to your intestines.

A recent study on mice conducted by researchers in Sweden, Singapore and the U.S. has discovered another connection between the gut and brain, but this one guards the brain from damaging chemicals in the blood, even before birth.

This relationship is related to the blood-brain barrier, a semi-permeable “network” of blood vessels that separates the brain from the body’s circulatory system and protects the central nervous system from toxins, blood-borne infections and other harmful substances while maintaining stability and regulating the movement of essential molecules.

Scientists found this link by comparing the development of the blood-brain barriers of two sets of mice. One group of germ-free mice was raised in a sterile environment away from bacterial contact, while the other group was exposed to typical bacteria in a “normal” environment.

Normal vs. Sterile Environments

The results of this study aren’t surprising if you recall our recent posts about the quest for too much cleanliness via the hygiene hypothesis, causing so many health problems.

The differences between both sets of mice started before birth. The gut health of mothers raised in a normal environment protected the brains of mice before they were born by blocking labeled antibodies from circulating into brain tissues. Conversely, those same-labeled chemicals “leaked” into the brains of pups from germ-free mothers.

Also, the leakiness of the blood-brain barrier among germ-free mice continued as they aged from babies to adulthood. While the exact process is still being identified, researchers determined tight junction proteins (important to the permeability of the blood-brain barrier) changed structurally and acted differently in the absence of bacteria.

“These findings further underscore the importance of the maternal microbes during early life and that our bacteria are an integrated component of our body physiology,” says Prof. Sven Pettersson, the principal investigator at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology at the Karolinska Institute in a press release.

“Given that the microbiome composition and diversity change over time, it is tempting to speculate that the blood-brain barrier integrity also may fluctuate depending on the microbiome. This knowledge may be used to develop new ways for opening the blood-brain barrier to increase the efficacy of the brain cancer drugs and for the design of treatment regimes that strengthens the integrity of the blood-brain barrier.”

Protecting C-Section Babies

In the human world, babies delivered via a caesarean (C-section) have serious health problems like those young germ-free mice from the beginning of their young lives due to a lack of diversity in their gut microbiomes.

This gut health challenge puts babies at a higher risk for many health problems down the road, ranging from allergies and obesity to diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

A safe, simple, non-drug solution that protects and enhances the diversity of your baby’s gut health and lessens prolonged crying and discomfort due to colic and other digestive problems: Give them a multi-species probiotic, like EndoMune Advanced Junior (for kids).

Moms: Are you limiting your baby’s exposure to antibiotics?

When taken too often, antibiotics are harmful to gut health. Medical evidence proving such damaging effects has grown significantly over the past year.

The main hazards linked to taking too many rounds of antibiotics have centered on a growing vulnerability to Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections and obesity in adults.

Unfortunately, the harm antibiotics do to human health may start much earlier, during the early stages of childhood development—even before your baby is born—and may last for a lifetime, according to a pair of recent studies.

Reprogramming your baby’s gut health with antibiotics

Researchers at NYU’s Langone Medical Center studied the effect low doses of penicillin given over a lifetime would have on the health of mice in a study published in the medical journal Cell.

The big picture conclusion: Starting in the last week of pregnancy or during nursing, mice given low doses of penicillin were more vulnerable to metabolic abnormalities including obesity than animals exposed to antibiotics later in their lives.

In the main experiment, researchers compared the effect of penicillin on three groups of rodents: Two groups received penicillin—one before birth and the other later after weaning—then for the remainder of their short lives, while a third control group was given no antibiotics at all.

Both groups of mice that were fed penicillin had higher amounts of fat on their little bodies than the control group, but the womb group was the fattest, providing solid proof that mice were “more metabolically vulnerable if they get antibiotics earlier in life,” says Dr. Laura Cox, lead author of the study.

Not only did penicillin-treated mice carry twice as much fat compared those fed only high-fat food, but their bodies also showed signs of metabolic disorders.

Do antibiotics lessen the amount of gut bacteria? Not necessarily…

Scientists took another important step by transferring gut bacteria from penicillin-treated mice and those not given the antibiotic to antibiotic- and germ-free mice shortly after the time they would be weaned (three weeks old).

Mice given gut bacteria from donors treated with antibiotics were fatter than those treated with antibiotic-free gut bacteria.

Another interesting discovery made by NYC researchers during their study may have overturned a long-standing belief that antibiotics (at least penicillin) reduces the amount of gut bacteria contained in the body.

As a whole, gut bacteria didn’t decrease, but four very important strains did: Allobaculum, Candidatus, Arthromitus, member of the Rikenellaceae family and the very popular Lactobacillus (one of the key bacteria ingredients in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic).

These results reaffirm the work conducted by one of the most popular researchers in the field of gut health research, Dr. Martin Blaser, director of the NYU Human Microbiome Program and author of the book, Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling Our Modern Plagues.

More evidence broad-spectrum antibiotics may trigger obesity

A more recent study appearing in JAMA Pediatrics gets to the heart of the problem: Health problems occur when exposing babies under age 2 and up to age 5 to broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Using electronic records spanning 2001-13 from a network of primary health clinics, scientists tracked the health of more than 64,000 children from birth to age 5. The numbers speak volumes:

  • Nearly 70 percent of all children were exposed to antibiotics more than twice on average before they reached age 2.
  • Young children who were exposed to all antibiotics or broad-spectrum antibiotics four or more times had a greater risk of obesity.
  • The prevalence of obesity or being overweight increased over time from 23 percent at age 2 to 33 percent at age 4.

One additional factoid from the study that’s worth noting: No link was found between obesity and prescribing children narrow-spectrum antibiotics, medicines that treat a more select group of bacterial types, according to the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics (APUA).

However, broad-spectrum antibiotics can handle a greater number of bacterial types and are often prescribed to treat a wider variety of infectious diseases or when the source of the infection is unknown, according to APUA. Varieties of broad-spectrum antibiotics include some synthetic penicillins, quinolones and aminoglycosides.

Because infants are so very vulnerable to antibiotics, especially soon after they’re born, it’s important for moms to work with their family pediatricians to ensure their babies get the healthy start they need to avoid metabolic problems that could lead to lifelong ailments like obesity.

The good news: A multi-species probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Junior can give your baby’s health a much-needed boost by protecting the diversity of beneficial bacteria in their gut and strengthening their tiny but growing immune systems.

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