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Antibiotics May Be Behind Weight Gain

Antibiotics are known to cause digestive issues, but could they be making Americans fat? Dana Ullman, expert in homeopathic medicine, covered this issue in an article on the Huffington Post. He said scientific literature shows antibiotics play a role in weight gain, and suggested homeopathic treatments as a safe, effective way to avoid antibiotics.

He noted as far back as 1955 research showed weight gain may be linked to prolonged antibiotic usage. He said it is well known among farmers that livestock who ingest a lot of antibiotics experience disruption in the digestive tracts causing their food to not properly assimilate, leading to significant weight gain. Healthy bacteria in the gut help animals (and humans) metabolize fat, but antibiotic usage can disrupt proper fat metabolism.

A recent article in the Scientific American said antibiotic usage has almost eliminated the gastric Helicobacter pylori bacteria (H. pylori), in the United States. While this decreases the incidence of ulcers and gastric cancer, scientists have posited the bacteria’s role in mediating the hormone ghrelin, which helps regulate fat development and hunger, might also contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

Ullman discussed another study, recently published in Science magazine that found antibiotics disrupt certain bacteria in the gut, which can lead to obesity as well as to increased inflammatory processes that can cause metabolic syndrome. These bacteria determine how food is digested, how fat is stored in the body, and how nutrients are converted into calories.

Ullman pointed to another researcher, Didier Raoult, MD, PhD, full professor at Marseille School of Medicine, who found reduced variations in microbiota composition are found in obese humans and mice.

However, Ullman noted one round of antibiotics will not likely make someone fat, but there is concern for those who undergo multiple rounds for recurrent infections. Antibiotics, he wrote, kill off the both good and bad bacteria. He described health as a complex web of life that is weakened by antibiotics, thereby creating a wide variety of possible acute and chronic diseases.

As an alternative to antibiotics, he suggested homeopathic treatments, which he said are effective for infectious diseases. He noted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study prescribed homeopathic medicines or placebo to 75 children with ear infections. Researchers found a significant decrease in symptoms at 24 and 64 hours after homeopathic treatment. Another study of 230 children with ear infections who used homeopathic treatments found 39 percent of patients experienced sufficient pain reduction in the first six hours and another 33 percent after 12 hours. This improvement was 2.4 times faster than in children prescribed a placebo. And, another study of 499 children with acute rhinopharyngitis (cold and sore throat) found the children prescribed a homeopathic medicine were significantly more likely to experience a positive result of treatment compared with those children prescribed an antibiotic.

These treatments also work for adults, as Ullman pointed out a University of Vienna hospital study of 70 patients with severe sepsis. The survival rate at day 30 was 81.8 percent for homeopathic patients and 67.7percent for those given a placebo. At day 180, 75.8 percent of homeopathic patients survived but only 50.0 percent of the placebo patients survived (p=0.043).

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