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Are livestock antibiotics contributing to human obesity?

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By altering the fine balance of gut bacteria which influence our metabolism, even small amounts of the drugs entering the food chain could have caused obesity rates to rise, researchers claim.

Although the use of antibiotics on farms is now banned in the EU due to the risk of germs becoming drug-resistant, it was commonplace in the 1950s and is still permitted in the US…

Prof Martin Blaser of New York University, who led the study, said: “The rise of obesity around the world is coincident with widespread antibiotic use, and our studies provide an experimental linkage…

For decades farmers in Britain and around the world fed low doses of antibiotics to cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens because the drug caused the animals to gain weight.

In the new study, researchers studied the effects of penicillin and other common antibiotics on weaning mice, using doses similar to the non-medical amounts used by farmers.

Their results, published in the Nature journal, showed that the drugs altered the balance of bacteria in their gut, causing metabolic changes which led them to gain 10 to 15 per cent more fat than untreated mice…

A related study published earlier this week by the same authors showed that young children who had taken small amounts of antibiotics were more likely to have higher amounts of body fat…

This study adds to the body of knowledge suggesting several mechanisms all of which tie antibiotics used to fatten animals to human weight gain – regardless of the lies rationales used by farmers to justify the drugs.

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Written by Ed Campbell

August 23, 2012 at 6:00 am

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