Hashimoto’s mom? Antacids, antibiotics and childhood allergy risks
Dealing the underlying causes of your child’s acid reflux or frequent illnesses instead of masking them with pharmaceutical drugs could save you both bigger headaches later — a new study shows antacid and antibiotic use in infancy and early childhood raises the risk of developing allergies.
Children born to moms with autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s low thyroid are at higher risk for allergies, autism, and other immune disorders. This makes it especially important to address the underlying causes of symptoms in your child to prevent bigger problems later.
Researchers looked at the medical records of nearly 800,000 children in military families born during a 13-year period.
Surprising in itself was that doctors gave almost 10 percent of the babies antacids such as Zantac or Pepcid for acid reflux. However, spitting up is normal in babies and usually does not need to be medicated.
Also surprising was that more than half of the children in the study developed allergies, rashes, asthma, or hay fever.
However, those children who were given antacids in infancy had double the likelihood of developing allergic diseases.
Also, their risk of developing anaphylaxis, a severe and potentially deadly allergic reaction, was 50 percent higher compared to the non-medicated children.
Antibiotic use also contributed to more problems later. Children given antibiotics as babies were twice as likely to develop asthma and had a 50 percent higher likelihood of hay fever and anaphylactic allergies.
These types of disorders point to an over zealous, dysregulated immune system that raises the risk of developing an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
If you are a mom who had Hashimoto’s low thyroid while pregnant, you could have passed on autoimmune antibodies to your child. This makes it important to address silent autoimmunity in your child or risk factors for autoimmunity. We can screen for that in our office with advanced testing.
Take care of your gut to prevent allergies and immune disorders such as Hashimoto’s
The researchers hypothesized antacids and antibiotics damage good gut bacteria, also called the gut microbiome, thus contributing to allergies and other immune disorders such as Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
Also, when antacids neutralize stomach acidity, this allows undigested foods into the small intestine where they cause inflammation, damage the gut, and impact the gut microbiome negatively.
Your digestive tract and gut microbiome health determines your immune health. An inflamed and damaged gut and bad gut bacteria make a person more prone to such immune-based disorders as:
Eczema and other skin-based disorders
Asthma and other respiratory disorders
Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism
Look for the underlying causes of childhood illness
Although it's normal for babies to spit up, if it's excessive you need to investigate why. It could be an inflamed gut, a bacterial or yeast infection from an unhealthy gut microbiome, a food intolerance or allergy, or other reasons.
Also, reoccurring infections that require antibiotics are a red flag to examine underlying causes of immune imbalances.
These are signs the the digestive tract, gut microbiome, and immune system are in distress.
As an example, a child may be sensitive to gluten or dairy — two common triggers of immune disorders. The child could have been born with these food intolerances or autoimmunity (when the immune system attacks the body) passed on from the mom, especially if she had Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
A child born via c-section and formula fed is also going to have a less healthy microbiome than a child born vaginally and breastfed. This predisposes children to excess acid reflux or bacterial infections.
Giving a child antacids and antibiotics further damages the gut microbiome and imbalances the immune system, making the child more likely to develop immune disorders such as allergies, anaphylaxis, autoimmunity, Hashimoto’s low thyroid, asthma, eczema, obesity, and other health issues.
The key is to address the root causes of an inflamed gut, an unhealthy gut microbiome, and inflammation. Ask my office how functional medicine can help manage these issues and Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
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