Long courses of antibiotics may put babies and toddlers at higher risk of obesity when they grow up, according to US researchers.
Low doses of penicillin early in life can alter populations of gut microbes, which in turn may affect metabolism and lead to higher rates of obesity later in life, the scientists said. The findings emerged from experiments in mice, but build on earlier work that found children who had antibiotics before six months of age were more likely to be overweight as seven-year-olds.
"This is part of a growing body of evidence that antibiotics have a biological cost," said
Mice that had antibiotics for the first month of life were 25% heavier than controls, according to the study published in the journal Cell.
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