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Save Antibiotics For Kids' Significant Infections

Save Antibiotics For Kids' Significant Infections

On March 31, 1973, Mohammad Ali lost more than just a fight with Ken Norton. Ali fought 10 rounds with a broken jaw! Today research shows the average kid in the US has gone through 10 rounds of antibiotics by the age of 10 -- and that’s a losing battle, too.

Scientists from New York University Langone Medical Center have extended their lab-based investigation of the impact of frequently used childhood antibiotics (amoxicillin and a class of antibiotics called macrolides). Turns out these antibiotics are linked to immune problems and alternations in bone development, if more than two rounds are taken -- especially between birth and age two. They also suggest that exposure to antibiotics early in life upsets a child’s gut bacteria balance and permanently reprograms the body’s metabolism, setting up a predisposition for obesity.

So, Mom and Dad, where does that leave you? You want to help your kids overcome ear infections and other bacterial assaults, but you and your doctor need to discuss the risks and benefits of antibiotic prescriptions for your child. And when antibiotics are truly needed (they’re life-savers) you want to help your child restore his or her gut biome. Feed ‘em fiber-rich veggies and 100% whole grains, probiotic foods like yogurt and kefir, and, if your doc says okay, a low-dose lactobacillus probiotic. We believe the obesity epidemic may turn out to be related to a combination of factors, such as more screen time and larger portions, and maybe as important, to antibiotics in the food supply and overuse during childhood. 

Medically reviewed in July 2018.

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