Science is brilliant at finding solutions to all kinds of problems. But as any good scientist knows, some of those solutions come with unintended consequences, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the world of medicine – just take a look at the list of side effects for any prescription drug, and you’ll get the idea. Part of the process, then, is to experiment, try new things, and tweak what we’re doing so the results get better and better. Antibiotics are a perfect example: we’ve developed medicines that save countless lives by eliminating disease-causing bacteria – but they can also wreak havoc on the community of healthy microbes living in our gut. In this insightful new video from IPEtv, Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, dives deep into the microbiome to explore the fascinating link between antibiotic use and weight gain. Tune in to learn why, whether you’re a mouse, a baby, or a full-grown adult, overuse of these important medicines could be telling your body to hang on to extra weight.
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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Greetings, friends. I’m Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. Let’s talk once more about strange things that can make us gain weight. And today we’re going to focus on antibiotic use.
So you know this. We live in a world where weight is a concern for a lot of people. Now, what few people actually realize—and this boggles my mind—is that weight is not just about calories in, calories out. That is a bunch of nonsense. Weight is a beautifully fantastically complex topic. We have to respect it. We have to be good scientists of the human body and the human soul.
So, more importantly, far too many people have been shamed by the world for what they weigh or how they look. So we’re going to approach this topic of weight, not from a perspective of making anybody wrong for what they weigh, just from an honest and nonjudgmental place of looking to see what are some of the hidden complexities that can cause unnecessary weight gain that we don’t need? And indeed there’s a lot of strange things that can make us gain weight.
And one of the strangest ones—and it really is strange—is how we use antibiotics.
Now, I’m talking about the prescription antibiotics that your doctor prescribes or your nurse practitioner prescribes or your practitioner prescribes. Now, antibiotics, yes, they have saved lives. It’s one of the great inventions of modern medicine.
Here’s the thing, though. Not only do antibiotics kill off the unwanted bacteria, they consistently kill off large amounts of healthy gut bacteria. And this is what researchers are pointing to in a big way. So one recent study conducted by researchers in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, and John Hopkins Blumberg School of Public health—and this was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics—so the study demonstrated that children who are exposed to antibiotics before the age of two are more likely to become obese than those who have not been exposed to antibiotics.
There’s been other studies that have shown that gut bacteria can affect the way that the body absorbs calories, which we’re starting to see might be a partial explanation for this link between antibiotics and obesity. We’re trying to figure it out.
Now, here’s what I find amazing. And I knew about this years ago. When you study the history of farming, as early as the 1950s, farmers knew when antibiotics for the animals started coming out, farmers realized, “Oh, my goodness. I’m giving my farm animals antibiotics. They’re getting fatter quicker.” So this is one of the ways that agriculture grows bigger cows and bigger pigs. We feed them antibiotics.
Now, research being conducted at the lab of Martin Shea Blazer at New York University has found that mice in an animal model fed a high-calorie diet along with antibiotics gained more body fat than mice that ate the high calorie diet alone. But here’s the kicker. In the female mice, the results were far more dramatic.
They gained twice as much body fat as the male mice.
Now, I know this is an animal model. But trust me, my friends, it’s all pointing in the same direction.
Here’s the deal. Stop consuming antibiotics like they’re candy. There’s a big movement in the medical profession now to look in the mirror and say, “How are we prescribing these substances? We need to be responsible.” Yes, they can be lifesaving. I’m not knocking them. But when they are overprescribed, they will wreak havoc on the gut microbiome.
What’s the gut microbiome? It’s a zoo. You are a zookeeper for trillions and trillions of trillions of tiny organisms of bacteria that live in your body that are healthy that help you digest, assimilate, absorb, calorie burn. And they factor into just about every health equation in the body. So I want you to find a doctor who practices real medicine, natural medicine. Or Google functional medicine, somebody who knows how to prescribe both pharmaceutical and natural antibiotic substances. So get a doctor who is in alignment with what you know and what you believe.
How profound is it that these hundred trillion little creatures that are in our gut can impact how we can calorie burn? So this isn’t about scaring you around antibiotics or scaring you about your body. This is all about empowering ourselves to use knowledge and wisdom and information that’s coming out so we can elevate the body, because when you elevate the body, you elevate you in this world. You make the world a better place. You make your life better. You make your health better. You make your weight better. It is all brilliantly connected, my friends.
And that is the magic of the world.