Can antibiotics cause weight gain?

Can antibiotics cause weight gain?

Antibiotics are absolutely lifesaving for so many bacterial infections.  However, the good bacteria that live in the human intestines often suffer collateral damage.

The human gut microbiome is a collection of trillions of bacteria that are related to your immunity and even food metabolism. A disturbance in the balance of these bacteria can wreak havoc on the body and lead to several health problems. Excessive antibiotic use can unfortunately be one of the culprits.  This can be one of the likely causes of weight gain since the microbiome has many functions including helping you:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Effectively break down (digest) the food you eat
  • Regulate your immune system
  • Control how much fat and calories you absorb  

This is why developed countries should stop overprescribing them.

You see, obesity is just one of the many health complications that stem from overuse–this is especially evident when antibiotics are overused in the childhood years.

Interestingly, many of the states that have the highest rates of obesity also seem to have the highest rate of antibiotic use. Is this just coincidence or further evidence? Time and further studies will answer this question.  In the meantime, there is a significant effort in place to not over- prescribe antibiotics. 

So, you may wonder when an antibiotic is necessary.  If it is a viral infection, which many common colds are, then antibiotics are not necessary.  Antibiotics only are effective against bacterial infections.

If you have more questions about antibiotics and their effect on your weight or more information on any weight loss questions you may have, let Dr. Patel and her experienced team know.  Simply submit your questions – or learn about how to get started on your journey to successful long-term weight loss, visit