These overprescribed pills cause cognitive decline?

Americans are increasingly trying to decide the fate of their own health, thanks to the internet, television commercials, radio ads, you name it.

(Ah… modern American medicine. Or is it the modern American medicine consumer? It’s a classic chicken-or-the-egg story.)

And, well, this is contributing to a larger problem. In fact, I’m no longer willing to just “blame the system.”

We are part of the broken system—where consumers consistently DEMAND certain treatment options.

To make matters worse, many treating physicians oblige… especially when it comes to THESE overprescribed pills.

But the truth is, this particular prescription is linked to a slew of health problems.

Most recently? Cognitive decline in women. (Who wants to risk dementia when you’re likely taking the pills for no good reason in the first place?!)

Here’s everything you need to know…

Dangers of antibiotic abuse  

According to a recent analysis, women who use a significant amount of antibiotics in midlife are more likely to experience cognitive decline in later life.

The study, published in the journal PLOS One, involved just under 15,000 female nurses in the U.S. with an average age of 55.

Researchers assessed cognitive function through self-administered neuropsychological tests conducted between 2014 and 2018. And when researchers compared women who used antibiotics to non-users, they found the following… Those who reported taking antibiotics for at least two months in midlife had lower cognitive scores seven years down the road. More specifically, they experienced a decline in:

  • Global cognition
  • Psychomotor speed and attention
  • Learning and working memory

The researchers explained that this type of decline is generally what’s expected over three to four years of aging. In other words, when it comes to your cognition, antibiotics may cause premature aging.

Healthy gut, healthy brain  

The fact that the authors of this study considered antibiotic misuse to be an issue really impressed me. In addition to how they suggested cognitive decline might be explained by changes in the all-important gut microbiome.

Add that to the long list of evidence that supports our gut may be linked to cognitive decline or dementia… combine it with evidence that long-term antibiotic use may alter the gut microbiome… et voila, a theory is born!

Of course, this makes sense for many reasons. Our gut microbiome controls many important functions—including inflammation and how our body responds.

An imbalanced gut will lead to a state of chronic inflammation, which may predispose to cognitive decline through a mechanism not yet known to us.

Even so, at the end of the day, this research highlights how dangerous antibiotic misuse is not only for your gut, but for your aging brain.

So, be very careful with how many antibiotics you take throughout your life. And always take a good, high-quality probiotic that contains pre- and postbiotics.

After all, one of the main drivers of good health is a highly functioning gut. Probiotics help, along with a balanced diet low in carbohydrates and rich in good fats, proteins, and vegetables.

To learn more about how your microbiome matters to your memory, check out the October 2020 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter (“The fight for your brain begins in your gut”). Not yet a subscriber? All it takes is one click.

Until next time,

Dr. Fred


“Antibiotic Use Midlife May Lead to Cognitive Decline in Women.” Healthline, 05/23/2022. (