The hidden cause of weight gain?
Have we been missing something all these years? Obviously, the main cause of weight gain is over-eating. But is there something behind that—something driving the overeating—that nobody has noticed?
I think so—and now people are beginning to recognize its importance.
We know that MSG in food is addictive and causes people to over eat.
We know that eating carbs is highly addictive, with people being driven by blood sugar spikes, followed by a drop in blood sugar. Refined carbs are the worst.
A few of us pioneers back in the 70s and 80s discovered that food addiction is often related to food allergies and that too drives people to binge eating. In fact it’s the chief mechanism behind eating disorders, if only more people knew it.
We know that insulin resistance (the early stage of diabetes) blocks glucose uptake by cells, which is then diverted to the liver and stowed away at fat.
We know that psychological hang ups can lead to “comfort eating”.
But there is something else? You betcha…
I could kick myself for not thinking of this, decades ago. But we know that farmers feed their livestock on antibiotics, to make them grow. Pigs, lambs and sheep can be up 40% bigger and fatter, because of this antibiotic treatment. But we never thought “well, that must apply to humans too”; duh!
Of course it applies to humans.
If we feed ourselves incessant antibiotics, exactly as happens to young kids these days, due to the idiotic parental obsession with getting “treatment” for every cough, cold, snotty nose and sore throat that comes along, we are raising our kids exactly the way farmers fatten their herds!
Does this make sense? When somebody lays it out in front of you, then it’s easy to join the dots: we are dooming our citizens to be grossly overweight by the unnecessary use of dangerous and powerful antibiotics.
To investigate whether overusing antibiotics could also play a part in the rise of obesity, researchers fed infant mice low doses of penicillin to mimic doses given to farm animals. After 30 weeks, penicillin-fed mice were between 10 and 15 per cent bigger and twice as fat as drug-free mice.
When the team looked at the mice’s gut bacteria, they found that the antibiotic-fed mice had a different complement of bugs to the untreated mice. Low doses of antibiotics had seemingly shifted the balance of certain gut microbes, reducing the numbers of Lactobacillus, which is a “good” bacterium linked to a lower risk of cancer recurrence.
This is the classic “dysbiosis” I write about. But the problem is actually much bigger than that (see below).
First, the researchers wanted to prove it was the altered bowel flora to blame, not some other pathway affected by antibiotics. So they turned to germ-free mice, which are bred in a sterile environment and have no gut bacteria. These mice were given gut bacteria transplanted from the mice fed antibiotics and, just 5 weeks later, the once germ-free mice were 35 per cent larger than mice with a regular microbiota.
There is more: in the initial experiment, the biggest mice were those that had started antibiotic treatment from birth. Even mice that were only given drugs for four weeks ended up as large as mice on antibiotics for the full 30 weeks.
This suggests that gut flora may be most vulnerable to disruption in the earliest moments of life. Children are exceptionally at risk, exactly as I said above.
But still: it’s even worse!
Antibiotics used to treat children may also have a detrimental effect on their immune systems.
Readers of my new book “Fire In The Belly” (Fire in the Guts) have already been introduced to the concept. It’s one of the biggest breakthroughs in understanding the full importance of the human microbiome (sometimes you will see the scientific word micriobiota). It means the composite of all the microbes living in your gut: bacteria, viruses, protozoa, molds and even parasites. It’s important to us and directs how our body responds to challenge.
The bugs down there in the warm and dark of our intestines actually educate the newborn’s immune system and teaches it what to do. It’s very important that a child is inoculated, at birth, with this gift from Momma’s bowel. Without it, the child will grow up with a malfunctioning immune system. He or she will grow up with food allergies and other miseries.
Of course, if Momma already has messed up bowel flora, from the days when SHE took antibiotics, than the child is not given the “real deal” but dysbiotic organisms instead.
In a separate study in mice, this same research team mimicked the short courses of higher dose antibiotics that young children tend to receive for infections, to see if this typical manner of administering antibiotics was bad. They found that levels of important T-cell signaling chemicals were abnormally low, meaning the immune systems were compromised.
But it’s worse even than THAT!
We now know the microbiome also educates the brain and nervous system. It’s incredible but true. Again, without healthy bowel flora, a child’s neurological growth is stunted. This may even be the real cause of the rise in autism. Bad bowel flora (including the notorious measles virus found in the gut by Andrew Wakefield) may result in the abnormal physical signs of autism spectrum disorder.
It’s all new and wildly different to anything we imagined back in the 1980s, when doctors like me were sounding the alarm but we didn’t have the least idea what was happening and why; only that we must stop taking so many antibiotics and try, with probiotics, to get our gut flora back to normal.
It’s so very important to all of us to stop using antibiotics, except as a life saving necessity, that you need to learn and understand alternatives. If you haven’t already got a copy, you may want to go over and get my encyclopedic compilation of safe, natural antibiotic alternatives, “How To Survive In A World Without Antibiotics”. You can read more about it here:
So, back to where we started, which is that antibiotics dispose to significant weight gain. As use of this class of drugs has soared in recent decades, so has the incidence of obesity.
In other words, our epidemic of obesity is probably driven by antibiotic overuse; especially the feeding of food livestock with antibiotics.
Let me emphasize that it’s a real effect; no question. Another recent study, from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, followed the development of 28,000 babies. The results showed that those infants given antibiotics within the first six months of life were more likely to be overweight at age 7, even if their mother had a healthy weight (International Journal of Obesity, DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2011.27).
It’s Down To The Quality Of Your Sh*t
OK, I’m being deliberately provocative (as usual!) The scientific word for shit is feces (proper English spelling faeces, since it’s a Greek word, not an American word).
It’s an important health-quality issue. For example feces that float in the toilet pan and stick to the sides has undigested fat; often it signals liver disease, since bile is needed to emulsify fats, to enable digestion.
But the actual make up of our feces, in terms of the organisms present, has emerged in recent years as possibly the number one health issue. As I said in “Fire In The Belly”, it’s probably true that most or all diseases have an element of this problem.
Hippocrates, 2,500 years ago, was in no doubt. He remarked that, “All diseases start in the gut”.
Now we understand the concept of our human microbiome (the DNA make up of the other passengers in SS Human), we can see there are very far reaching consequences indeed from the unwise or careless use of antibiotics.
You may want to worry more about what’s coming out of your backside than what you put in your mouth! You know, Winnie the P….
The links for those manuals:
[SOURCE: This man Martin Blaser is where I got most of the scientific info: http://www.med.nyu.edu/biosketch/blasem01/publications]