Fat Brain – Fat Planet: How Antibiotics Are Driving Global Obesity


With obesity of the planet escalating and close to 40% of the population being obese, scientists may have finally found the reason for the global obesity epidemic in the widespread use of antibiotics.

Antibiotics have been known to cause weight gain in animals and humans since the late 1940s, although the exact mechanism for this has remained a mystery. In the past few years, scientists have shown that antibiotics can cause disruption in the composition of bacterial flora and promote the overgrowth of certain bacterial species, such as the provotella bacteria. Not all obese and overweight people have high levels of provotella bacteria, however. Some have higher levels of other bacterial species leading researchers to surmise that the imbalance in bacterial flora and loss of diversity due to antibiotic use is more to blame.Such imbalances contribute to dysregulation of the body’s immune system and cause chronic inflammation and autoimmune conditions.

Antibiotics destroy all the bacteria (100 trillion) within the body in as little as 5 to 7 days, causing a massive flooding of the body with bacterial substances that initiate a chronic state of inflammation and swelling in the brain. These substances, known as Lipopolysaccharides (LPS), cause an increase in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier (Leaky Brain) and lead to levels of inflammation in the brain that is typically up-regulated to 10-1000x levels of inflammation in the body. With levels this high, there is secondary swelling of the brain (Fat Brain) and the hormones and receptors in the brain fail to function normally. This condition becomes a permanent state within the brain, unless measures are taken to correct it.

Yale researchers appear to now  have discovered how such high levels of inflammation can lead to obesity.  Lead researcher, Tamas Horvarth and his group at Yale University, have found that interfering with leptin receptors in the brain leads to overeating and severe obesity. By interfering with the ability of leptin to reach the leptin receptors within the brain, the feeding response becomes heightened. The increased feeding response will then further increase brain inflammation and a vicious cycle develops.

“Leptin is an adipocyte hormone that functions as an afferent signal in a negative feedback loop that regulates energy balance. Mice with mutations in leptin (ob/ob) or its receptor (db/db) are hyperphagic and severely obese. These mutant mice also manifest a large number of metabolic and endocrine abnormalities including diabetes, hypercortisolemia, infertility, and cold intolerance.”

The amount of LPS that gets dumped into the circulation throughout the body is 2.6 million times what is necessary to set off this chronic inflammatory brain pattern. Although the body can handle a few million dying bacteria each day, 100 trillion is far too much and overwhelms the body’s abilities. This is a prefect example of when a normal physiological response becomes a pathological condition. The body is set up to handle a fair amount of LPS exposure, but the massive flooding that occurs when destroying all the bacteria so quickly pushes the envelope too far. Ongoing exposures to overfeeding, blood sugar imbalances, emotional stresses, and environmental toxins will cause systemic inflammation that guarantees an ongoing pattern of chronic inflammation, and the diseases and obesity that go with it.

A Korean researcher study points out that, “Microglia, known to be the principal inflammatory cells in the brain, continuously survey the environment of the normal brain and rapidly respond to damage, producing inflammatory mediators (Kreutzberg, 1996Raivich et al., 1999Min et al., 2004Davalos et al., 2005;Hanisch and Kettenmann, 2007). Systemic inflammation may also induce brain inflammation. Systemically administered LPS may act on endothelial cells in the brain, in turn affecting adjacent microglia (Cao et al., 1999Inoue et al., 2002;Rummel et al., 2008Saper, 2010). In addition, inflammatory cells of the bloodstream, activated by systemically administered LPS, may enter the brain and participate in inflammation (Bohatschek et al., 2001Cunningham et al., 2005Qinet al., 2007).”

Quieting systemic inflammation by balancing the intestinal flora and reducing the toxic burden of the body are two of the first steps in reducing ongoing inflammatory patterns in the body. This means reversing the effects of antibiotic use and re-establishing a healthy ecosystem within the body. Following the Candida Plan helps to facilitate the necessary steps towards restoring health and balance in the body. Omega-3 oils, curcumin, N-acetylcysteine, and other nutrients can help to support reduced levels of brain inflammation.

Antibiotic prescribing practices have not changed in the last 25 years. The number of unnecessary prescriptions given to adults is still well over 50% and as high as 80-90% in children. Antibiotic prescriptions and antibiotic feeding of animals continues to escalate on a yearly basis, and along with that goes the world’s waistline.

Jeff McCombs