Recently published research seems to suggest that antibiotics are closely linked to diabetes. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, people who eventually develop type-2 diabetes use more antibiotics before developing the disease than non-diabetic individuals.
Researchers used data from Denmark, closely examining the medications used by 170,504 Danish citizens with diabetes compared to the remaining 1.3 million non-diabetic citizens.
After breaking down the two groups, the study results found that persons with diabetes were more likely to receive 0.8 prescriptions for antibiotics while non-diabetic individuals received 0.5 prescriptions. According to TIME magazine, the findings revealed excessive antibiotic use for diabetics going as far back as 15 years prior developing the disease.
— Tim Lahey (@TimLaheyMD) August 29, 2015
Those who’ve examined the research believe there is one of two possible implications for antibiotic users and those who will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
One possible explanation is that those who are diabetic are more likely to be prone to infections. The greater need for antibiotics throughout their lives could serve as a warning sign, indicating vulnerability to type-2 diabetes.
However, Dr. Martin Blaser, professor of medicine and microbiology at New York University Langone Medical Center, leans towards a second, more worrying conclusion: that antibiotics just might lead to diabetes in adults.
“When you take antibiotics,” said Blaser, “You change the composition of the [bacteria in your body].”
Blaser has spent many years looking at the long-term effects of antibiotics, and he believes that the substance changes the metabolic rate within the body. This change could have serious implications for glucose storage and insulin levels, both of which are closely tied to diabetes.
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But not every medical professional agrees with this conclusion. Kristian Hallundbaek Mikkelson, one of the study’s authors and a doctor at the Center for Diabetes Research at Gentofte Hospital, thinks there’s no easy way to determine which explanation best explains the research.
He told the Washington Post, “The study does not tell us which interpretation is the right one.”
“Both interpretations are possible and both are supported by other research.”
Hallundbaek believes that additional research is necessary before drawing a definite conclusion.
Although sensationalism is practically inevitable with information like this, the best thing you can do for yourself and your peace of mind is to speak with a trained medical professional. In the meantime, it’s important to remember that nothing in the study results suggests that simply taking antibiotics will cause you to have type-2 diabetes.
Consult with your doctor before stopping any medication.
[Image Credit: Photo By Jessica Rinaldi/Getty Images]