Study Shows Babies Given Antibiotics Are More Likely To Have Allergies, Asthma And Other Conditions

Ally Villar
·3-min read

Ever wondered what are the effects of antibiotics on babies?

A new study published at Mayo Clinic Proceedings on Monday (15 November) showed that children under 2-years-old who take antibiotics are more likely to be at risk of health conditions. 

Effects Of Antibiotics On Babies Include Long-term Health Conditions

The effects of antibiotics on babies below age 2 include long-term health conditions, study says. | Image Source: iStock

Researchers have found that babies and toddlers who are exposed to antibiotics were more likely to have multiple health conditions. The most common conditions found were obesity, asthma, eczema, allergies, celiac disease, ADHD and other learning disabilities. 

The study included 14,572 children and 70% of them were prescribed with at least 1 antibiotic for the first 2 years of their lives. For children with multiple prescriptions, they were more likely to have combinations of the given conditions. 

The findings also showed different effects on the children according to their gender, age, type of medication and doses. 

For those who received 1 or 2 prescriptions of antibiotics, girls were found to be the most at risk of asthma and celiac disease. Kids who were given 3 to 4 prescriptions had different long-term effects on boys and girls. Girls were more at risk of ADHD and celiac disease while boys were more likely to end up with obesity. Meanwhile, both genders had higher chances of asthma, atopic dermatitis and overweight. 

“Both girls and boys who received 5 or more prescriptions had a significantly higher risk of developing asthma, allergic rhinitis, overweight, obesity, and ADHD, and girls also were at a higher risk of celiac disease,” LeBrasseur and his team add. 

They also found that for kids who were given common antibiotics at an early stage such as penicillins, cephalosporins and macrolides, had more chance of developing asthma and allergic rhinitis. 

Why Does This Happen?

Image Source: iStock

The study finds the main importance of microbiome to your baby’s immune system. 

Our bodies need certain bacteria from microbiome to absorb nutrients and protect our digestive systems from pathogens. This was said to play an important role in developing your child’s body. 

Although, researchers have found that the “widespread application” of antibiotics critically affects the microbiome. Since the main use of antibiotics is to kill all types of bacteria in our guts, it also interferes with the distribution of microbiome and so takes effect on your child’s immune system, metabolism and neural development. 

“Early life host-microbiome interactions contribute to the proper development of the immune system,” the researchers explain. “Antibiotics markedly affect microbial composition; even transient perturbations during critical developmental periods may compromise both immune tolerance and inflammatory responses.”

While the research was based on associations, not causation, the findings were meant to help further studies as well as “to optimise the benefit and minimise the risk of antibiotics in children.”


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