antibiotics increase infant's risk of asthma, hay fever, food allergies, eczema, obesity, celiac and ADHD

An important new study provides more evidence for caution when thinking of giving your baby antibiotics.

The huge study of 14,572 children found that giving an infant antibiotics in the first 2 years of life significantly increases their chances of getting asthma, hay fever, eczema, celiac disease, obesity and attention deficit disorder.

The idea is not new. Recent research has shown that giving babies antibiotics seriously increases their chances of asthma, hay fever and allergic conjunctivitis. Meta-analyses have revealed that giving babies antibiotics doubles their risk of asthma. Canadian researchers have recently shown that the best way to avoid asthma is by avoiding antibiotics in early childhood.

The new study found that even just one course of antibiotics significantly increased the risk of asthma, hay fever, overweight and ADHD in both boys and girls. Girls were more susceptible to eczema and celiac disease, while boys were more likely to become obese.

When girls received 1-2 courses of antibiotics, they were at significantly higher risk of asthma and celiac. At 3-4, for boys and girls, risk of asthma, eczema and being overweight went up. For girls, ADHD and celiac also became more likely; for boys, obesity did. When both boys and girls got 5 prescriptions, the risk of asthma, hay fever, obesity and ADHD all went up significantly.

With just 1-2 courses of antibiotics, the risk of asthma went up by 57% in girls and 28% in boys; at 5 courses it tripled for girls and more than doubled for boys. Hay fever went up by 94% in girls after just 1-2 prescriptions; at 5 prescriptions, the risk had more than doubled for girls and nearly doubled for boys. Food allergies also got worse on antibiotics.

Food allergies were also affected. After 1-2 courses, risk for food allergies was up 27% in girls and 31% in boys; with 5 rounds, it was up a full 66% in girls and 42% in boys. The damage may be especially risky when the antibiotics are given in the first 6 months.

Babies who were given antibiotics were also more likely to develop more than one of these conditions.

These increases in risk with antibiotics are big. The researchers called them “concerning.” They hypothesize that the danger from early exposure to antibiotics is, at least in part, because antibiotics mess up the intestinal flora, leading to compromised immunity and inflammatory responses.

Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2021;96(1):66-77

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For much more on treating asthma, allergies and eczema naturally and for natural alternatives to antibiotics, see our book The Family Naturopathic Encyclopedia

For comprehensive help with asthma, allergies and eczema and natural alternatives to antibiotics, make an appointment to see Linda Woolven nowLinda’s clinic is now open for virtual appointments.


The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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