Antibiotics and Weight Gain: Here's What You Need to Know

A 2013 U.S. study found that young children who regularly take antibiotics are at a higher risk of becoming obese than children who take fewer drugs. There have been several interesting studies done on antibiotics in relation to weight. One study done with mice found that those exposed to antibiotics gained twice as much weight as those mice on the same diet. Another study proved that antibiotics have a significant effect on the body's hunger hormone, called ghrelin. It's secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach and sends signals to your brain to make you want to eat, and when your ghrelin levels are high, you tend to eat more, which leads to weight gain.

We reached out to a real woman who've had a trying time with antibiotics. Susan shared with us that after consulting her doctor, she took his advice and started taking antibiotics to control her hormonal acne. After two months, she noticed a significant change in her weight. "Within a few months of taking antibiotics, I gained 14 pounds," she says. "I knew this wasn't normal, because this has never happened to me before in my life. I was at the highest weight I'd ever been in my adult life in such a short amount of time. And at that time I was already in a workout groove, going to the gym regularly, and eating healthy. I was so baffled and wondering why I was gaining so much weight."

Soon enough, Susan realized the antibiotics were causing her weight gain. Six months in, her skin actually became worse, and she found that her hormonal acne began to flare up again. That's when she visited a nutritionist, went off antibiotics, and instead started incorporating probiotic foods into her diet. "I was eating two spoonfuls of bone broth, kimchi, and sauerkraut a day. My skin was glowing, and my hormonal acne quickly improved," she says. Now she's on the microbiome diet and seeing vast skin and health improvements. Of course, Susan's story is anecdotal, so to better understand how exactly antibiotics play a part in weight, we reached out to experts to get their take.