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Do Early Antibiotics Lead to Food Allergy Risk?

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This is a very important issue and an important question.

Antibiotics are definitely a double edged sword. You can’t just use them and think that there are no negative consequences. And remember, this article is only referring to the classic definition of food allergy, which is limited to only 5 symptoms – asthma, anaphylaxis, hives, eczema, and allergic rhinitis. It’s possible that the issue is far more significant that just those 5 symptoms.

The basic finding of this study is that giving kids multiple courses of antibiotics when very young increases their risk of developing food allergies. 

This is hypothesized to result from the alterations in the gut microbial community.  The association between food allergies, digestive disorders, and the gut microbial community is well known to the IBS Treatment Center.

While not at all surprising, this study simply provides more evidence that the immune system is very important to health and the microbes in our digestive tract are very important to our immune system.

Thoughts? Please feel free to share them in our comments section.

Excerpt from

Antibiotic exposure during the first year of life is associated with an increased risk of food allergy in young children, according to findings from a large case-control study.

The risk is greatest among those exposed to multiple antibiotic courses, Bryan L. Love, Pharm.D., reported during a late-breaking abstract session at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

The mean number of antibiotic courses received by 1,105 case patients with food allergy was 2.65, compared with 1.84 for 6,433 food allergy–free control patients. The mean time to first antibiotic course was 181.5 days for those with food allergies, compared with 190.1 days for controls. These differences were statistically significant, said Dr. Love of the South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia.

Additionally, only 24% of case patients, compared with a third of controls, had never received an antibiotic.

Later vs. earlier antibiotic exposure (during months 7-12 vs. months 0-6) also was associated with greater likelihood of developing food allergy (odds ratio, 1.98).

“This makes sense, because [months 7-12] is typically when new foods are being introduced to children,” Dr. Love said.

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