Antibiotics And Weight Gain
When we think of gaining weight, antibiotics are usually not the first things that come to mind. Antibiotics heal us when we are sick, relegating to the past many of the diseases which were the bane of our ancestors. Yet antibiotics are in more than just the medications we take. The demand for cheap, fast foods and easy meals has directly caused an increase in factory farming and fast production of meat and poultry. Antibiotics are fed to animals when they get sick from the very unsanitary conditions mass-produced animals create in factory farms. An estimated 5.5 million kilos of antibiotics and related drugs are fed to chickens every year. Among cattle, there are two distinctions between clinical and non-clinical use of antibiotics. Clinical use of antibiotics involves its use to promote growth and otherwise treat sick cattle.
Antibiotics are also fed to cattle and other livestock in order to increase food and water intake. For this reason, antibiotics are used in cattle to promote growth, specifically in relation to the amount of food needed to help them grow. It has been determined that antibiotics stimulate growth, thereby requiring less feed for the animal. This results in lower cost for both the cattle growers and the consumers.
While increased antibiotic use in our nation’s livestock has been a well established cause of drug-resistant bacteria, not as many people understand how this can directly impact their health in terms of weight gain and obesity. This is in spite of the fact that studies showing the relation between antibiotics and weight gain have been around since the 1950s.
A recent article in Scientific American said that antibiotic usage has almost eliminated the gastric Helicobacter pylori bacteria (H. pylori) in theUnited States. While this may seem like good news, especially to those who suffer from ulcers, this bacteria plays an important role in regulating the hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for controlling fat development and hunger. This in turn might also contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
An additional article published by Science magazine has also found antibiotics further disrupt the balance of bacteria in the digestive system. This in turn can disrupt the digestive tract, leading to obesity and the inflammation associated with metabolic syndrome.
Any woman who has ever completed a course of antibiotics understands how antibiotics often lead to a yeast infection. This is well known. The reason behind this problem is that antibiotics kill off all bacteria, including the bacteria necessary for aiding digestion and preventing an overgrowth of yeast.
Yeast may sound harmless but in actuality are a fungus that lives in our intestines while producing about 180 different chemical toxins that can make us feel sick, dizzy and exhausted while diminishing our thyroid function and causing us to crave sugar and alcohol. All of these problems can lead to weight gain.
Yeast directly contributes to belly fat. It contributes to fluid retention, even severe fluid retention, in an attempt by the body to flush out the toxins caused by yeast. Some studies have shown that yeast can cause an additional five to seven inches of abdominal bloating. One of the many reasons antibiotics cause weight gain in cattle is due to yeast growth. This is no different in humans. Besides the bloating caused by yeast, it has also been shown to decrease thyroid function and slow metabolism. Both of which directly cause weight gain. The sluggishness you feel when your metabolism is slow makes it only that much harder to stay active, not only preventing weight loss but frequently causing additional weight gain.
In addition, those suffering from yeast infections tend to crave the very foods the yeast needs to thrive. People with high carbohydrate but otherwise low calorie diets who notice that they have gained weight may actually be suffering from an overgrowth of yeast. This will be made even worse if they convince a doctor to give them a course of antibiotics for what they believe is a bacterial infection causing them to feel sick.
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