These days, doesn’t it seem like anything can cause you to gain weight? And now, a recent Canadian study suggests that certain household cleaners you might be using to disinfect your home could be the culprit of doing just that to your young children.
The study, published in Canadian Medical Association Journal, studied 757 infants ages 3-4 months up until they were ages 1 and 3 years. Over the course of time, they analyzed the babies’ exposure to different types of disinfectants, detergents and eco-friendly products that were commonly used in the home, and then examined if it had any effect on their weight. And what they found was pretty nuts.
“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,” said Anita Kozyrskyj, a University of Alberta pediatrics professor.
In Layman’s terms? It seemed that the infants that were exposed to disinfectants once a week(ish), had the disinfectants do something to alter their gut microbiota, which plays an essential role in all aspects of our health. When the infants grew to be 1-3 years old, their body fat measured higher than toddlers of the same ago who were not exposed to the cleaning products.
The researchers used data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development birth cohort as well as World Health Organization growth charts for body mass index scores to determine their outcomes.
“Antibacterial cleaning products have the capacity to change the environmental microbiome and alter risk for child overweight,” explains the authors of the study. “Our study provides novel information regarding the impact of these products on infant gut microbial composition and outcomes of overweight in the same population.”
On the contrary, the babies studied that were living in households that used eco-friendly cleaners had different microbiota and were less likely to be overweight when they became toddlers.
“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,” Kozyrskyj said.
However, Kozyrskyj admits that more research is needed to determine if it was the eco-friendly cleaning products used, or was it also that the parents of these children who eco-friendly cleaning products are more likely to provide healthier food and overall lifestyle, contributing to the healthier gut microbiomes?
While this study is certainly interesting and raises an eyebrow to what’s in our cleaning products, Dr. Kozyrskyj and her team would like to perform more studies on the topic “to explore the intriguing possibility that use of household disinfectants might contribute to the complex causes of obesity through microbially mediated mechanisms.”
For more on the study, check out the video below.
What kind of cleaning products do you use in your home on a daily basis? Do you have a go-to cleaner that you use, or have you switched it up for a more eco-friendly cleaner? Here’s how to make am easy homemade natural all-purpose cleaner, if you need it!