New study links antibiotic use to higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes

A new research, the findings of which have been published online on Aug. 27 indicates that taking antibiotics might increase the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Scientists from Denmark found that a majority of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes had taken more antibiotics before being so diagnosed as compared to those who were not diagnosed with the same.

“In our research, we found people who have Type 2 diabetes used significantly more antibiotics up to 15 years prior to diagnosis compared to healthy controls,” said study author Kristian Hallundbæk Mikkelsen who is a medical-doctoral student at the Center for Diabetes Research at Gentofte Hospital and the University of Copenhagen.

The team tallied antibiotic prescriptions of more than 170,000 people from her country who had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and 1.3 million others who were not suffering from the condition, using records from the national health registries. They analyzed data pertaining to a 17 year period beginning 1995.

“Although we cannot infer causality from this study, the findings raise the possibility that antibiotics could raise the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Another equally compelling explanation may be that people develop Type 2 diabetes over the course of years and face a greater risk of infection during that time,” mentioned the author.

People with Type 2 diabetes were found to have filled an average of 0.8 prescriptions per year as compared to a much lesser 0.5 for those who were not diagnosed with this condition.

The reasons behind this are not yet known for sure. Previous research has already proved that the bacteria present in a healthy man’s gut get altered as a result of antibiotic treatments. It is possible that some of the gut bacteria impair the ability to metabolize sugar in people who are later diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

“Further investigation into long-term effect of antibiotic use on sugar metabolism and gut bacteria composition could reveal valuable answers about how to address this public health crisis. Patterns in antibiotic use may offer an opportunity to prevent the development of the disease or to diagnose it early,” added Mikkelsen.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.