One of the most damaging long-term effects on children’s health is the use of antibiotics. Researchers in Ireland and Canada have found that the “use of ampicillin and gentamicin in early life can have significant effects on the evolution of the infant gut microbiota, the long-term health implications of which remain unknown.” Up to 90% of medications used in children are experimental.
“This is the first sequencing-based study to demonstrate the negative effects of short-term antibiotic treatment on the beneficial gut bacteria populations in infants,” says coauthor Catherine Stanton of the Teagasc Food Research Centre, Fermoy, Cork, Ireland.
In the study, nine infants were treated with intravenous ampicillin/gentamicin within 48 hours of birth, and over the two month study period, their gastrointestinal flora were compared to that in nine control infants. At four weeks, bacteria from the beneficial genera, the Bifidobacteria and the Lactobacilli, were significantly reduced, and although the numbers bounced back by the study’s end, the species diversity did not. The researchers used advanced DNA sequencing to identify the species of gut flora, and to quantify their numbers, says Stanton.
By altering the gut microbiota, and thus the immune system very early in life, the antibiotics could negatively influence long-term health, particularly by boosting the risk of developing asthma, allergy, and obesity, according to the report. The risk is heightened by the fact that the antibiotic-driven disruption of the microbiota comes at a time “when this population is in rapid flux and can easily be unbalanced,” according to the report. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108195409.htm
The infant gut microbiota undergoes dramatic changes during the first 2 years of life. The acquisition and development of this population can be influenced by numerous factors, and antibiotic treatment has been suggested as one of the most significant. http://aac.asm.org/content/56/11/5811
The use of antibiotics is also associated with cancers, diabetes, life-threatening colitis, and development of fungal candida. In children, their use has also been linked to Autism disorders. This creates a very complicated picture as candida has over 100 symptoms associated with it.
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