Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Household cleaning products may make kids overweight!

Household cleaning products may make kids overweight!

Statistics Canada says close to a third of Canadian children and teens are overweight or obese. Overeating and not enough exercise are two risk factors behind the increase. Their findings were published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. And no, it's not the fridge.

Everyday household cleaning products may be producing unintended consequences for children. The researchers compared infants three to four months of age who lived in households where consumer disinfectants were used once a week to infants who lived in houses where disinfectants were used far less often.

After adjusting for multiple factors such as maternal weight before pregnancy, vaginal or cesarian delivery, and antibiotic exposure, the analyses indicated a clear, dose-dependent link between disinfectant use, increased abundance of fecal Lachnospiraceae a 3-4 months of age, and overweight at age 3 years. Even though there is comparatively minute information on any association between cleansing merchandise and bodyweight, one glance has figured out excessive urinary ranges of triclosan in children with increased adiposity. The researchers theorize that the close proximity of those cleansers has an impact on the bacteria in the environment and also inside the baby's intestines.

"We found that infants living in households with disinfectants being used at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher levels of the gut microbes Lachnospiraceae at age three-four months; when they were three years old, their body mass index was higher than children not exposed to heavy home use of disinfectants as an infant", said Anita Kozyrskyj, a University of Alberta pediatrics professor, and principal investigator on the SyMBIOTA project, an investigation into how adjustment of the infant gut microbiome impacts health.

That said, some of the evidence clearly points to a direct cause-effect relationship between disinfectants and higher levels of the common gut bacteria, she said.

But what does bacteria have to do with being overweight or obese? "It caused some bacteria to decline and others to increase". To learn more, here is a good summary. It's really important to distinguish detergents from disinfectants since their usage is highly correlated.

There have been studies in humans, too. Babies who pass through the birth canal pick up germs that babies born by Caesarean section miss out on.

Frequently using disinfectant to keep homes clean is being linked to weight gain in children, warns a University of Alberta study.

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"Based on our study's finding, we recommend against frequent use of disinfectant cleaners in households with infants and suggest that parents consider alternative cleaning products". "The inability to do this was a limitation of our study". Without knowing the cleaning agents, it is hard to pin down an exact mechanism of action.

However, she explained that it is known "from animal studies that higher levels of Lachnospiraceae have been associated with higher body fat and insulin resistance".

Much more research is needed before any of this gets turned into practical advice. The team also looked at the exposure to disinfectants, detergents and other cleaning products used in the homes of the babies. They also had different bacteria in their intestines.

This lack of association between reduced levels of Enterobacteriaceae in the infants of mothers who use eco-friendly products and obesity indicate that another pathway is responsible.

The researchers aren't certain why these kids did not become overweight.

Rather, Tun believes that mothers in households using a lot of eco products may eat healthier food and, thus, have healthier microbiomes during pregnancy, which may in turn have a positive impact on the newborn microbiome and later weight gain.

That's no joke. But until the proof exists, it's probably best to take this study with a grain of salt, use a few more green products if that's your thing, and continue teaching healthy habits and eating a healthy diet.

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