Juvenile Arthritis Linked to Early Antibiotic Use

As scientists explore the incredibly complex world of the gut’s microbiome,they are continually discovering just how detrimental antibiotics are to this delicate yet vital system.

Our children are particularly at risk at a time when their little bodies are working hard to build up their immune systems and foster gut health. One or more rounds of antibiotics can literally wipe out a vast population of essential microbes, laying the groundwork for potential chronic disease.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a study that shows just how damaging childhood antibiotic use can be- revealing a strong link between early antibiotic use and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).

JIA is the most common form of arthritis in children and adolescents affecting about 1 child in every 1000. In the United States alone, approximately 300,000 children have been diagnosed with this disorder. Some of the symptoms that they experience range from joint pain and inflammation, fever, rash, muscle and joint weakness and loss, as well as eye inflammation (which could lead to vision loss). To make matters worse, this disorder, as well as the drugs frequently used to treat its symptoms, commonly lead to disturbances in growth.

In the study, researchers looked at the medical records of 152 children in the United Kingdom between the ages of 1 and 15 who were diagnosed with JIA. Based on the kids’ medical histories, they discovered that receiving 1 or more prescriptions of antibiotics was linked to a significantly increased risk of developing JIA, regardless of the type or number of infections that the antibiotics were used to treat.

They also found that link between antibiotic use and the development of JIA was even stronger in those who had taken more than 1 course of antibiotics.

These findings really stress the importance of treating our children with antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. And when kids do need them, it is vital that their gut health is supported and strengthened through good nutrition, supplemental probiotics and fermented vegetables (as soon as they are able to tolerate them).


“Antibiotic Exposure and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: A Case–Control Study.” Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. V. 136: 2. August 2015.

“Juvenile Arthritis.” American College of Rheumatology.

“Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.” Wikipedia.


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