The use of commonly prescribed antibiotics among infants could cause changes in the gut bacteria, which could make them vulnerable to many infectious conditions, allergies and autoimmune disorders during adulthood- the findings of a new study have revealed.
In addition, it may also increase their risk of being affected by obesity later in life.
“Over the past year we synthesised hundreds of studies and found evidence of strong correlations between antibiotic use, changes in gut bacteria, and disease in adulthood,” the researchers say.
Among the prescription drugs that are given to children, antibiotics are the most common, and several other studies have also found the short term and long term effects of these medications on the composition and diversity of the bacteria in the gut and the entire body as well.
In this study, the researchers made use of a framework to see how the changes in gut bacteria arising due to antibiotic use could cause disease later in life.
They found that antibiotics tend to eradicate the important gut bacteria that stimulate the maturation of immune cells of the body, which tends to cause an increased risk of allergies.
Furthermore, these medications also caused a change in the composition of the gut bacteria, which caused an increase in the levels of short chain fatty acids in the body, which in turn, affected metabolism and caused obesity.
“We think these findings help develop a roadmap for future research to determine the health consequences of antibiotic use and for recommendations for prescribing them,” the researchers added.
The findings of this study are now published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.