A Danish study finds that frequent use of antibiotics might increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
This research, conducted at the Centre for Diabetes Research at Gentofte Hospital and the University of Copenhage, observed that people who developed type 2 tended to take more antibiotics in the years prior to diagnosis.
However, the research team led by Dr. Kristian Hallundbaek Mikkelsen stressed it couldn’t be proven that antibiotics causes type 2 diabetes – merely a relationship was noted between the two.
170,504 people with type 2 diabetes were tracked between 1995 and 2012, and their antibiotic prescriptions were monitored. 1.3 million people that didn’t have diabetes were also observed.
There was a 50 per cent increased likelihood of someone developing type 2 diabetes if they filled five or more antibiotic prescriptions, regardless of type, compared to those who filled one or none at all.
Annually, individuals who developed type 2 diabetes filled an average of 0.8 antibiotic prescriptions, whereas patients who didn’t develop type 2 had an average of 0.5.
Mikkelsen hypothesised this association could be due to type 2 diabetes developing over time and increasing the risk of infection. Thus, there is a greater need for antibiotics. Or, Mikkelsen added, it could be because repeated infections increase one’s type 2 risk, and antibiotics exposure enables diabetes development.
“Also, it has been suggested that certain gut bacteria may contribute to the impaired ability to metabolize sugar seen in people with diabetes,” said Mikkelse, adding that antibiotics could alter gut bacteria and affect sugar and fat metabolism.
The results of this study were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &Metabolism.

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