Antibiotic Use Could Raise Diabetes Risk

Taking repeated rounds of certain antibiotics could increase risk for type 2 diabetes, report researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.

In general, the study found that the more antibiotics taken, the higher the likelihood of diabetes.

Four categories of antibiotics were considered for the research: penicillins, cephalosporins, quinolones and macrolides.

Study looked at people with and without diabetes

Researchers looked at about 200,000 people who were given antibiotic prescriptions and who later developed diabetes. They then compared the results to data on 800,000 people who took antibiotics without developing diabetes.

People who had been given two to five courses of penicillin had an 8 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared with people who had taken one round or none. In people who had taken more than five rounds of penicillin, diabetes risk increased by 23 percent.

People who took more than two courses of quinolones, similarly, were about 15 to 37 percent more likely to develop diabetes.

The role of gut bacteria

While the study found that a single round of antibiotics wasn't associated with increased diabetes risk, taking repeated doses could interfere with gut bacteria – which has long been linked to factors that can affect metabolism and insulin resistance.

"While our study does not show cause and effect, we think changing levels and diversity of gut bacteria could explain the link between antibiotics and diabetes risk," said Dr. Yu-Xiao Yang, study author and assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Further compounding the problem, researchers said, is that many of the antibiotics human consume come from food sources, like processed meats.

Promoting healthier gut bacteria and reversing damage from antibiotic use can generally be accomplished through diet and probiotic supplements, but the study suggests a more cautious approach should be taken with long-term or repeated antibiotic use.

The research is published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.

Source: Live Science

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