Early Antibiotic Exposure Linked to Obesity

Jacob Collyer-Smith Lifestyle Writer

If you follow our blog, the link between antibiotic exposure in early life and obesity won't be new to you. Neither will the associations between the composition of gut bacteria and an individual's predisposition to gaining or losing weight. Clinical trials and studies such as these are becoming ever present in our news feeds these days, as scientific understanding grows as to how the bacteria we share our bodies with impact our wider health.

Feet on weighing scales

Can antibiotics impact later weight?

A new cohort study designed to examine the impact of antibiotic exposure during early life, suggests that antibiotic treatment during the first 6 months of life may be linked to increased weight in later life. A dutch team of scientists, led by Catherine Mbakwa of the Top Institute Food and Nutrition in Wageningen, analysed 979 children that had been exposed to antibiotic treatment at some point from birth until 6 months of age. The team found that children exposed to one course of antibiotics before 6 months had increased weight in comparison to children who had not. Interestingly, children exposed to antibiotics after 6 months of age did not see the same impact on their weight.


The team concluded that antibiotic exposure during early life were associated with increased weight. However, the team stressed that further studies must be undertaken to find the exact causality of obesity, but the researchers believe that their studies further highlights the need for restrictive antibiotic use and the avoidance of irresponsible and unnecessary antibiotic use.

Can probiotics help reduce weight?

Another new study from Japan has found that the supplementation of a fragmented probiotic, known as Lactobacillus amylovorus CP1563, may help to cut body fat and even reduce waist size. The double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised study examined the the effects of the probiotic on 197 obese people. The team from Japan found that participants who took the probiotic lost more weight than those who did not.

"The daily consumption of beverages containing fragmented CP1563 for 12 weeks by obese class 1 subjects improves anthropometric measurements and markers related to lipid and glucose metabolism without any adverse effects. Although further clinical trials and investigations of the mechanisms of action are needed, the results of the present study suggest that the consumption of foods containing fragmented CP1563 ameliorates obesity and prevents metabolic syndrome and complications."

The team believe that the probiotics' method of action is associated with the regulation of lipid metabolism in the liver, as well as how fat is stored in the body and how glucose is metabolised. Results also revealed that the probiotic group exhibited positive effects in blood sugar, insulin, and insulin resistance. Further research will hopeful reveal exactly how this interesting strain of bacteria can potentially help weight management strategies of the future.

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  1. Mbakwa, C. A. et al. (2016) Early life antibiotic exposure and weight development in children. The Journal of Pediatrics Nakamura, F. et al. (2016) Effect of fragmented Lactobacillus amylovorus CP1563 on lipid metabolism in overweight and mildly obese individuals: a randomised controlled trial. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease.