Could your antibiotic intake increase your child’s risk of disease?
According to a new study the answer is yes.
Researchers from NYU School of Medicine found that a woman’s intake of antibiotics changes not only her gut microbiome, but that of her child, and with very dangerous consequences(1).
Our microbiome refers to the vast community of bacteria which resides throughout our body, including in our intestines.
Although it’s common knowledge that antibiotics have a direct and almost immediate effect on the type of bacteria as well as the number of bacteria residing in our body, this recent study showed that when a woman is exposed to antibiotics, the microbiome in her offspring is altered as well.
Antibiotic Intake Can Lead To Painful Bowel Disorders And Cancer
The researchers discovered that these gut bacteria changes lead to long-term health consequences for both mother and baby, by promoting autoimmune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease. The study also revealed that antibiotic exposure causes the triggering of specific genes, leading to tissue damage.
An additional concern is the decrease in Erysipelotrichi bacteria noted by the NYU team. Other studies link reduced levels of this strain of bacteria to an increased incidence of developing pre-cancerous lesions in the colon, known as sessile serrated adenomas or sessile serrated polyps(2).
Erysipelotrichi is also important in the promotion of the thick and protective mucus barrier found in our colon. This barrier prevents bacteria from coming into contact with our intestinal lining – the epithelium, and a lack or degradation of this mucus barrier leads to ulcerative colitis(3).
What’s most important to note, is that most people unknowingly consume antibiotics three or more times per day via their meat and dairy intake.
- Schulfer, Anjelique F., Thomas Battaglia, Yelina Alvarez, Luc Bijnens, Victoria E. Ruiz, Melody Ho, Serina Robinson, Tonya Ward, Laura M. Cox, Arlin B. Rogers, Dan Knights, R. Balfour Sartor, and Martin J. Blaser. “Intergenerational transfer of antibiotic-perturbed microbiota enhances colitis in susceptible mice.” Nature Microbiology, November 27, 2017. doi:10.1038/s41564-017-0075-5.
- Peters, B. A., C. Dominianni, J. A. Shapiro, T. R. Church, J. Wu, G. Miller, E. Yuen, H. Freiman, I. Lustbader, J. Salik, C. Friedlander, R. B. Hayes, and J. Ahn. “The gut microbiota in conventional and serrated precursors of colorectal cancer.” Microbiome. December 30, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28038683.
- Jakobsson, Hedvig E., Ana M. Rodríguez-Piñeiro, André Schütte, Anna Ermund, Preben Boysen, Mats Bemark, Felix Sommer, Fredrik Bäckhed, Gunnar C. Hansson, and Malin EV Johansson. “The composition of the gut microbiota shapes the colon mucus barrier.” EMBO Reports. December 18, 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4328744/.