Household cleaning products may contribute to kids’ obesity by altering their gut microbiota

Mediating effects of infant gut microbiota on associations between home use of cleaning products and future overweight.


A new study published in the CMAJ suggests that commonly used household cleaners could be making children overweight by altering their gut microbiota. The study suggests that the emerging link between household cleaning products and childhood overweight may involve the gut microbiome.

The examination dissected the gut flora of 757 newborn children from the all-inclusive community at age 3-4 months and weight at ages 1 and 3 years, taking a gander at the introduction to disinfectants, cleansers and eco-friendly items utilized in the home.

Scientists examined the data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) birth cohort on microbes in infant fecal matter. In order to check the scores for BMI, they used World Health Organization growth charts.

Relationship with adjusted gut flora in babies 3-4 months old were strongest for visit utilization of family unit disinfectants, for example, multi-surface cleaners, which indicated lower levels of Haemophilus and Clostridium microbes, however, larger amounts of Lachnospiraceae.

The analysts additionally observed an expansion in Lachnospiraceae microscopic organisms with more successive cleaning with disinfectants. They didn’t locate a similar relationship with cleansers or eco-friendly cleaners. Investigations of piglets have discovered comparative changes in the gut microbiome when presented to airborne disinfectants.

Anita Kozyrskyj, a University of Alberta pediatrics professor said, “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 3-4 months; when they were 3 years old, their body mass index was higher than children not exposed to heavy home use of disinfectants as an infant.”

On the other hand, the use of eco-friendly products was associated with decreased odds of overweight or obesity independently of Enterobacteriaceae abundance. The use of eco-friendly products may be linked to healthier overall maternal lifestyles and eating habits, contributing in turn to the healthier gut microbiomes and weight of their infants.

Kozyrskyj said, “Those infants growing up in households with heavy use of eco cleaners had much lower levels of the gut microbes Enterobacteriaceae. However, we found no evidence that these gut microbiome changes caused the reduced obesity risk.”

Scientists noted, “Antibacterial cleaning products have the capacity to change the environmental microbiome and alter risk for childhood overweight. Our study provides novel information regarding the impact of these products on infant gut microbial composition and outcomes of overweight in the same population.”

Dr. Noel Mueller and Moira Differding, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in a related commentary noted, “There is biologic plausibility to the finding that early-life exposure to disinfectants may increase risk of childhood obesity through the alterations in bacteria within the Lachnospiraceae family.”

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