Eco-friendly household cleaners or multi-surface cleaners may alter gut microflora in children making them overweight, according to a recent study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Canadian researchers’ recent find revealed that infants in households that use antimicrobial disinfectants once a week are likely to have high level of Lachnospiraceae bacteria at ages 3-4 months than those living in households that do not frequently use antimicrobial disinfectants. Children with Lachnospiraceae had high BMI (Body Mass Index) levels, study revealed. High levels of Lachnospiraceae bacteria in gut microbiota can result in high insulin resistance and body fat, posing adverse health problems to children as they age.
Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) was actively involved in Lachnospiraceae content analysis in infants since 2009 and researchers actively participated by following participants as they grew, from childhood to adolescence. Research showed that around 80 percent households in Canada use antimicrobial disinfectants, particularly multi- surface cleaners, once in a week. Researchers collected around 757 infant poop samples for BMI analysis, analyzing which they found a significant increase in Lachnospiraceae bacteria levels with reduction in Hemophilus and Clostridium levels. However, they did not find similar results with washing detergents without anti-bacteria ingredients. These results revealed that gut microbiota was the cause leading to a direct association between overweight and antimicrobial disinfectant usage. According to CDC, every one in five adolescents and children in United States are obese.
Postnatal exposure to antimicrobial disinfectants, associated with overweight, can further increase chances of chronic diseases including hypertension, diabetes, and obesity related cancers. In addition to these lifestyle diseases, research revealed that with frequent use of antimicrobial disinfectants in households, there is a likelihood of a potential alteration in environmental microbiome causing rapid overweight.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine stated that the study revealing association of gut microbiota, Lachnospiraceae and overweight should be regarded as a preliminary indication that use of antimicrobial disinfectants might be significant contributing factors reducing diversity in gut microbes along with C-section births. Major flaw is the non-homogeneity in the nature of antimicrobial disinfectant products owing to limited or without a detailed knowhow of ingredients.
Apart from infants, there is a likelihood that adults may also suffer from adverse effects of antimicrobial disinfectants. There is a slight probability for adults, who have no history of chronic disorders such as obesity related cancers or lung cancers, to develop these illnesses with continued use of antimicrobial disinfectants.
Epidemiologists from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have backed the research by relating biological plausibility to the research that early exposure to these disinfectants are more than likely to result in alterations in the Lachnospiraceae family in the gut. Further studies should be conducted to discover if use of household antimicrobial disinfectants contribute to overweight or obesity via microbially associated mechanisms.