Antibiotics and Obesity

It’s probably safe to say that most of us have at least one childhood memory that involves choking down a liquid antibiotic that even a spoonful of sugar couldn’t help. Despite all of the attempts to mask the taste with bubble gum, cherry, and grape flavors, our sophisticated palates told us that this stuff was “icky!” Of course, we eventually got it down and hopefully within a couple of days we were feeling much better – once again reminded that mom and dad know best.
We know that antibiotics are extremely important in keeping us healthy and stopping the spread of disease, however it is becoming more apparent that the overuse of these types of medications may have more negative consequences than anticipated. Some of the negative consequences like antibiotic resistance were somewhat anticipated while other side effects may catch some people by surprise.  For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics concluded that repeated exposure to broad-spectrum antibiotics within the first 24 months of life significantly increases a child’s likelihood of becoming obese.1
The results of this study are troubling considering the high rates and negative health effects of obesity plus reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showing that children aged 0-2 have the highest rates of antibiotic use of any age group. Another study indicated that broad-spectrum antibiotics are being used more often than narrow-spectrum antibiotics in children and adolescents, with a 143% increase in use between 2000 and 2010.2 Even more alarming is that almost 80% of antibiotic prescriptions for acute respiratory illnesses were unnecessary based on accepted practice guidelines.3
But how could antibiotics possibly contribute to childhood obesity?  The authors of the JAMA-Pediatrics study concluded that the link between broad-spectrum antibiotic use during childhood and obesity is most likely a result of the disruption of healthy intestinal bacteria (probiotics) caused by antibiotics, and this finding is supported by additional research. Countless studies have confirmed the importance of intestinal bacteria in maintaining your health with several studies linking specific intestinal microflora to obesity and other metabolic disorders.4–9
Healthy intestines require a proper balance between beneficial bacteria and harmful (pathogenic) bacteria.10 Certain foods and medications disrupt this balance causing negative effects throughout the entire body.11 When you take a broad-spectrum antibiotic, it not only kills the bacteria making you sick, but can also kill your beneficial intestinal bacteria that keep you healthy. This is one of the reasons that every antibiotic is capable of causing upset stomach or diarrhea and also why your healthcare provider may recommend using a prebiotic and/or probiotic supplement when taking antibiotics.

Prebiotics and Probiotics: What's the Difference?

The term “prebiotic” is used to describe the food that “probiotic” bacteria eat. When you incorporate Prebiotic Fiber into your diet, it naturally supports and maintains the balance of healthy bacteria in your intestines by providing them with an ample food supply. Pinnaclife Prebiotic Fiber contains a type of soluble fiber that has been shown to increase the amount of beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium in your intestines.12,13 When these beneficial bacteria are thriving, they crowd out the harmful bacteria that make you sick, cause inflammation, and are linked to obesity.
In contrast, “Probiotic” supplements and yogurt contain actual living bacteria and are intended to restore levels of healthy bacteria by ingesting large quantities living organisms. Their effectiveness relies on a high concentration of viable (living) bacteria surviving long enough to make it into your large intestines, where they only flourish if there is enough prebiotic food available to support them. Most commercial sources of probiotics require refrigeration to prevent the bacteria from dying while the product is in transit or sits on a shelf. Even when stored properly, they generally lose potency quickly, giving them a very short shelf life. Some food sources that advertise about probiotics, such as frozen yogurt, actually contain little to no viable probiotics due to freezing, heating, manufacturing processes, or bacteria-killing preservatives.

TIP: To boost the "probiotic power" of yogurt, try adding a serving of Pinnaclife Prebiotic Fiber. It is flavorless, odorless, and dissolves completely so it will not change the flavor or texture of the yogurt.
Prebiotic Fiber does not contain (or need to contain) any living bacteria, so it does not require refrigeration and will not lose potency on the shelf or after being frozen or heated.14,15 Using Prebiotic Fiber daily can help you maintain a healthy balance of probiotic bacteria in your intestines.16–18 You can also add the Olivamine10-containing Pinnaclife Nutritional Supplements to help provide your body and immune system with vital antioxidants and other nutrients to stay healthy. After all, the best way to reduce the side effects from antibiotics is to avoid needing to use them in the first place!


1. Bailey LC, Forrest CB, Zhang P, Richards TM, Livshits A, DeRusso PA. Association of Antibiotics in Infancy With Early Childhood Obesity. JAMA Pediatr. 2014.

2. Lee GC, Reveles KR, Attridge RT, et al. Outpatient antibiotic prescribing in the United States: 2000 to 2010. BMC Med. 2014;12(1):96.

3. Scott JG, Cohen D, DiCicco-Bloom B, Orzano AJ, Jaen CR, Crabtree BF. Antibiotic use in acute respiratory infections and the ways patients pressure physicians for a prescription. J Fam Pract. 2001;50(10):853–8.

4. Culligan EP, Hill C, Sleator RD. Probiotics and gastrointestinal disease: successes, problems and future prospects. Gut Pathog. 2009;1(1):19.

5. Douglas LC, Sanders ME. Probiotics and prebiotics in dietetics practice. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108(3):510–21.

6. Musso G, Gambino R, Cassader M. Obesity, diabetes, and gut microbiota: the hygiene hypothesis expanded? Diabetes Care. 2010;33(10):2277–84.

7. Lakhan SE, Kirchgessner A. Gut inflammation in chronic fatigue syndrome. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010;7:79. 

8. Fasano A, Shea-Donohue T. Mechanisms of disease: the role of intestinal barrier function in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal autoimmune diseases. Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2005;2(9):416–22.

9. Shoaie S, Nielsen J. Elucidating the interactions between the human gut microbiota and its host through metabolic modeling. Front Genet. 2014;5:86.

10. Heintz C, Mair W. You are what you host: microbiome modulation of the aging process. Cell. 2014;156(3):408–11.

11. David LA, Maurice CF, Carmody RN, et al. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. 2014;505(7484):559–63.

12. Ukhanova M, Culpepper T, Baer D, et al. Gut microbiota correlates with energy gain from dietary fibre and appears to be associated with acute and chronic intestinal diseases. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2012;18(Suppl. 4):62–6.

13. Fastinger ND, Karr-Lilienthal LK, Spears JK, et al. A Novel Resistant Maltodextrin Alters Gastrointestinal Tolerance Factors, Fecal Characteristics, and Fecal Microbiota in Healthy Adult Humans. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008;27(2):356–366.

14. Goda T, Kajiya Y, Suruga K, Tagami H, Livesey G. Availability, fermentability, and energy value of resistant maltodextrin: modeling of short-term indirect calorimetric measurements in healthy adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;83(6):1321–1330.

15. Englyst HN, Cummings JH. Digestion of the polysaccharides of some cereal foods in the human small intestine. Am J Clin Nutr. 1985;42(5):778–87.

16. Kishimoto Y, Kanahori S, Sakano K, Ebihara S. The maximum single dose of resistant maltodextrin that does not cause diarrhea in humans. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2013;59(4):352–7.

17. Brownawell AM, Caers W, Gibson GR, et al. Prebiotics and the health benefits of fiber: current regulatory status, future research, and goals. J Nutr. 2012;142(5):962–74.

18.             Flickinger EA, Wolf BW, Garleb KA, et al. Glucose-Based Oligosaccharides Exhibit Different In Vitro Fermentation Patterns and Affect In Vivo Apparent Nutrient Digestibility and Microbial Populations in Dogs. Nutr Metab. 2000;(February):1267–1273.

An Apple a Day? 

My nephew absolutely loves apples. And who can blame him?! He used to eat just about anything you put in front of him without much hesitation, but like many 4-year-olds, he is beginning to become more selective in the foods he eats, showing his taste preferences and overlooking some of the “less-desirable” foods, favoring some of the sweeter options including apples, apple juice, and applesauce. 
It seems that this is a common theme across the American population.  In fact, in a recent study investigators determined that whole apples make up about 20% of the total fruit intake of children aged 2 to 19 years old, making it the most commonly consumed whole fruit.1 The second largest source of fruits, coming in at around 10%, was fruit juices including apple and citrus juices.  This study highlights the fact that not only are fewer than 40% of children eating enough fruit on a daily basis, but when they do eat fruits it is generally only a couple types of fruit with apples dominating.

But why is this a problem?  Doesn’t “an apple a day keep the doctor away?”  The problem is that an apple, or any other individual fruit, contains a unique nutrient profile that might be high in some nutrients and low in others.  One of the major benefits of a diverse diet is that it allows you to get a wide variety of essential nutrients so you get the whole spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that your body needs. 
When a person predominantly consumes apples, they miss out on the beneficial nutrients found in grapes, berries, pineapple, bananas, tomatoes (yes they’re a fruit!), peaches, melons, etc.  For example, apples do not contain the potent antioxidant trans-resveratrol that is found in grapes, or the antioxidants hydroxytyrosol and oleuropein found in olives (also a fruit).  Apples do not contain lycopene, an antioxidant that promotes good eye health that is found in fruits like watermelon, tomatoes, papaya, and grapefruit. There are countless nutrients with proven health benefits found in fruits and vegetables that cannot be obtained from apples, and there are likely health promoting compounds found in apples that cannot be obtained from other food sources.  The point is that we need a diverse selection of fruits and vegetables in our diet.
One study looked at how the diversity of fruit and vegetable selection related to geography as well as the concentration of several key nutrients in the diet.  They found distinct differences in the levels of key dietary antioxidants based on the predominant fruits and vegetables being consumed within an area.  One of the key findings they found was that people eating more than five servings of fruits in a day might still have lower intake of some key nutrients compared to someone eating fewer servings.2 That is to say, someone that eats six apples every day would be consuming far less trans-resveratrol and Vitamin C than someone alternating between eating a handful of red grapes on some days and an orange on other days. 
The significance of this finding is that even if you eat the daily-recommended intake of fruits and vegetables (studies indicate that most Americans do not) you still might be shorting yourself of key nutrients that your body needs if you do not have enough variety in your selections.2–4 It is understandable that some people might not have access to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, or their taste preference may limit what they eat.  This is especially true in the case of children, including my nephew, and other picky eaters that just want to eat an apple and nothing else.  It reminds me of the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”  This is when the use of well-designed dietary supplements like Pinnaclife can be extremely useful to improve the diversity of nutrients in the diet.3,5,6
Whole Fruit, Juice, and Smoothies
Most dietitians and medical professionals will tell you that it is better to consume whole fruits/vegetables instead of juices. Juices made from 100% fruits and vegetables still provide a significant amount of nutrients, but the juicing process leaves behind most of the beneficial fiber found in whole fruits and vegetables. Smoothies are perhaps better because they incorporate the entire fruit, including all of the fiber and pulp.  Both juices (even 100% fruit juices) and smoothies tend to contain a high amount of sugar, especially if they have been sweetened with natural sugars or honey. Juices are composed primarily of water and sugar, making them strikingly similar to soft drinks both in nutritional profile and potential health risks.  This is concerning because approximately 30% of children’s fruit intake comes in the form of juice versus whole fruits.1 This could be one reason why fewer than 3% of Americans are getting adequate amounts of dietary fiber on a daily basis.6
Pinnaclife Prebiotic Fiber can easily be added to both juices and smoothies to increase the fiber content without changing the flavor profile.  Prebiotic Fiber can also help to mask bitter tastes in juices and smoothies including those of some vegetables and natural zero-calorie sweeteners like stevia.  The digestion-resistant maltodextrin used in Pinnaclife Prebiotic Fiber has also been shown to help keep blood sugar levels lower after a meal.7,8  Adding Prebiotic Fiber to your family’s juices and smoothies is a great way to bump up the nutritional value without them even knowing it!
Fun Fact: 
Research has shown that eating a whole apple instead of processed forms such as apple juice and applesauce provides more “food satisfaction,” meaning it’s more enjoyable to eat and better at reducing feelings of hunger.  They found that people eating one medium apple 15 minutes before a meal lowered the average calorie consumption by as much as 15%!9 The improved food satisfaction is likely due to the higher fiber content in the whole fruit, but also because it takes longer and requires more bites and chewing to eat a whole apple versus drinking a glass of apple juice or portion of applesauce.  However, this effect is not just seen with apples.  In fact, there have been similar findings from the addition of other healthy high fiber and high nutrient foods before a meal including green-leafy salads.10



1. Herrick K a., Rossen LM, Nielsen SJ, Branum a. M, Ogden CL. Fruit Consumption by Youth in the United States. Pediatrics. 2015;136(4):664–671.

2. Murphy MM, Barraj LM, Spungen JH, Herman DR, Randolph RK. Global assessment of select phytonutrient intakes by level of fruit and vegetable consumption. Br J Nutr. 2014;112(6):1004–18. 

3. Ward E. Addressing nutritional gaps with multivitamin and mineral supplements. Nutr J. 2014;13(72):1–10. 

4. Kaganov B, Caroli M, Mazur A, Singhal A, Vania A. Suboptimal Micronutrient Intake among Children in Europe. Nutrients. 2015;7(5):3524–3535. 

5. McKay DL, Perrone G, Rasmussen H, et al. The effects of a multivitamin/mineral supplement on micronutrient status, antioxidant capacity and cytokine production in healthy older adults consuming a fortified diet. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(5):613–21.

6. Clemens R, Kranz S, Mobley AR, et al. Filling America’s fiber intake gap: summary of a roundtable to probe realistic solutions with a focus on grain-based foods. J Nutr. 2012;142(7):1390S–401S. 

7. Mizushima N, Chiba Y, Katsuyama S, Daigo Y, Kobayashi C. Effect of indigestible dextrin-containing soft drinks on blood glucose level in healthy human subjects. J Nutr Food. 1999;2(4):17–23.

8. Kishimoto Y, Hayashi N, Yamada T, Yuba K, Yamamoto K. Favorable Effect of Resistant Maltodextrin on Postprandial Blood Glucose, Insulin and Triglyceride Levels. Jpn Pharmacol Ther. 2009;37:277–83.

9. Flood-Obbagy JE, Rolls BJ. The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal. Appetite. 2009;52(2):416–22.

10. Roe LS, Meengs JS, Rolls BJ. Salad and satiety: the effect of timing of salad consumption on meal energy intake. Appetite. 2012;58(1):242–48.


About the author: Kyle Hilsabeck, PharmD., is the Vice President of Pharmaceutical Affairs at McCord Holdings and licensed by the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.  He completed bachelors degrees in biology and biochemistry at Wartburg College before earning his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, he completed a community pharmacy practice residency through the University of Iowa where he focused primarily on nutritional aspects of care including the use of vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements.  He has taught courses for the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy on vitamins, minerals, herbs, and nutritional supplements and given many presentations on the subject as well.  He has a passion for improving patient care specifically with regards to the safety and quality of the nutritional supplements and health information people use.  


Disclaimer: These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA. These products are dietary supplements and are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The decision to use these products should be discussed with a trusted healthcare provider. The authors and the publisher of this work have made every effort to use sources believed to be reliable to provide information that is accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The authors and the publisher shall not be liable for any special, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting, in whole or in part, from the readers’ use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this article. The publisher has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third party Internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

Is joint pain and stiffness keeping you from doing the things you love?

Dealing with chronic pain day in and day out is a reality for millions of people and when you are one of those people there is no way to fully describe your suffering. In fact, a National Health Interview Survey revealed that more than 30% of adults report experiencing joint pain within the previous 30 days.

Most of us just try to lead our lives and silently endure the pain, accepting it as a normal and expected consequence of aging. Joint pain caused from inflammation may seem like a minor nuisance to some people, but it may actually be causing more issues than you think. This kind of pain can greatly reduce your ability to complete routine tasks or enjoy some of your favorite hobbies.

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Celiac Disease Awareness Month!

Celiac disease involves an immune-mediated intolerance to gluten; which is a protein component found in wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats. When gluten is ingested, an inflammatory response damages the villi and microvilli lining the walls of the small intestine that aid in absorption of nutrients. This damage interferes with proper digestion and absorption.

Both adults and children can be diagnosed with celiac disease, and the disease is currently estimated to affect 1 in 100 people.

While there are no “typical” symptoms presented in a person with celiac disease, nutrient deficiencies are responsible for most symptoms including: diarrhea, unhealthy weight loss or gain, abdominal pain, bone pain and headaches.

A well-balanced, gluten-free diet is currently the only long-term treatment option.