Antibiotics Harming Future Generations

It is well understood that when you use antibiotics to destroy harmful bacteria, you also lose beneficial bacteria – collateral damage.

Most of the good bacteria can be found in your gut, where it helps with your digestive processes.

In a report in the journal Nature, Martin Blaser writes:

Antibiotics kill the bacteria we do want, as well as those we don’t. These long-term changes to the beneficial bacteria within people’s bodies may even increase our susceptibility to infections and disease.

Overuse of antibiotics could be fuelling the dramatic increase in conditions such as obesity, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and asthma, which have more than doubled in many populations.

…Antibiotics are miraculous. They’ve changed health and medicine over the last 70 years. But when doctors prescribe antibiotics, it is based on the belief that there are no long-term effects. We’ve seen evidence that suggests antibiotics may permanently change the beneficial bacteria that we’re carrying.

That permanent change can be problematic for future generations, because when a child is born, and it passes through the birth canal—that is the baby’s original exposure to beneficial bacteria. If that bacteria has been compromised in the mother, the baby could be less healthy throughout its life.