PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A New York University physician, studying the effects of antibiotics on our digestive tract, concluded that the medicine may change the bacterial environment to the extent that it may contribute to obesity.

Two local doctors say the jury may be out on that conclusion but there is no doubt the bacteria in our intestines play a crucial role in our overall health.

The study by Dr. Martin Blaser specifically looked at the treatment of H.Pylori, an infection he believes should be left untreated. Dr. Bettina Herbert, Director of Integrative Pain Management at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, says it is important to remember antibiotics can kill off some of the good bacteria in the gut as well.

“Once there’s an imbalance, that leaves room for the other perhaps less healthy bacteria to grow. And now you have affected the immune system and the metabolism,” Herbert explained.

“If you inflame the wall of the stomach, either by H.pylori infection or from anything else, you will potentially affect the hormonal signals that may trigger eating,” said Dr. David Metz, Gasterenterologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Both say it is important to maintain the bacterial integrity of your intestinal tract because those germs play a crucial role in your overall health.

Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio 1060

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