According to a new study, there is a possible link between taking antibiotics and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The team led by Dr. Ben Boursi, analyzed data from more than one million people living in the United Kingdom and observed that those who took two courses of four types of antibiotics (penicillins, cephalosporins, quinolones and macrolides) had a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Results also showed that the likelihood of developing diabetes increased in correlation with the number of prescribed antibiotics. An increase of 8 percent in diabetes risk was seen in the case of two to five courses of penicillin. The risk grew even more, by 23 percent when more than five courses were involved.
The likelihood of developing diabetes when taking two to five courses of quinolones grew by 15 percent. More than five courses of this type of antibiotic generated an increase in risk of 37 percent.
The increased risk of diabetes was calculated after conforming to other diabetes risk factors like obesity, smoking, heart disease and infections.
Study senior author Dr. Yu-Xiao Yang from the University of Pennsylvania stated that although the study did not show a cause-effect connection, it does indicate a possible explanation between antibiotic therapy and diabetes risk – the change in levels and diversity of gut bacteria.
Dr. Boursi explained:
“Gut bacteria have been suggested to influence the mechanisms behind obesity, insulin resistance [the diabetes trigger] and diabetes in both animal and human models. Previous studies have shown that antibiotics can alter the digestive ecosystem.”
This theory has been widely accepted. According to Dr. Gerald Bernstein, director of the Diabetes Management Program at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, experts have known for some time now that bacteria located in one area of the body can contribute to inflammation in other sectors.
He used the connection between gingivitis and heart disease as an example. So if a bacterial infection located in the mouth (gingivitis) can increase the risk of heart attacks, the suggested involvement of bacteria located in the gut and diabetes isn’t that hard to imagine.
Bearing in mind that frequent use of antibiotics worldwide is already a problem because bacteria start becoming immune to this medication, the new study brings another argument in favor of reducing “unnecessary antibiotic treatments that might do more harm than good.”
Image Source: The Advocates