How antibiotics affect your heart attack risk

If you approach antibiotics with caution, it’s probably because you’ve read all those horror stories about antibiotic resistance.

Or maybe you’ve heard that taking antibiotics is like setting off an atomic bomb in your microbiome. It doesn’t just wipe out bad bacteria, it wipes out everything… including the bacteria that keeps you healthy.

But have you heard how antibiotics affect your heart health?

You may not have. I hadn’t until recently. But it’s something you’ll want to know before you fill your next antibiotic script… especially if you ever need to take antibiotics for more than a few weeks…

A new study shows that taking long-term antibiotics significantly increases your risk of dying from heart disease.

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Antibiotics, your microbiome and your heart

Researchers from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health recently uncovered an alarming connection between long-term antibiotic use and heart disease.

They found that women who take antibiotics for two months or more are 58 percent more likely to die from heart disease.

The study included 37,510 women who were 60 or older. Researchers followed these women from 2004 until 2012, tracking antibiotic use and health.

Besides the extraordinarily strong connection between antibiotic use and heart disease death, researchers also found that taking antibiotics for two months or longer increased the risk of death from all causes by 27 percent.

If you’re wondering why long-term antibiotic use puts your heart — and life — in danger, researchers believe it all comes down to those good bacteria I mentioned earlier — the ones antibiotics wipe out while they’re killing the bad guys. Considering problems like antibiotic resistance and recurring urinary tract infections, it’s easy to see why people, especially women, may be taking more antibiotics for longer periods.

Moreover, those bacteria are tied to your health in every body part… from head to toe. That includes your heart.

“Gut microbiota alterations have been associated with a variety of life-threatening disorders, such as cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer,” said study author Lu Qi, M.D., Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at Tulane University in New Orleans. “Antibiotic exposure affects balance and composition of the gut microbiome, even after one stops taking antibiotics; so, it is important to better understand how taking antibiotics might impact risks for chronic diseases and death.”

So clearly you need to keep your antibiotic use to a minimum. Your health depends on it. But how?

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Approaching antibiotics differently

It’s not always easy to know when to take antibiotics and when to avoid them. But here are few tips that can help you take less antibiotics in the long run:

  • Don’t take antibiotics for viruses, like colds or flus. Antibiotics should only be used for conditions caused by bacteria. Period.
  • Always ask your doctor if an antibiotic is truly necessary. Doctors often prescribe antibiotics, because they think that’s what patients want. So be clear with your doctor and tell him or her that you only want to take them when you have no other choice.
  • Ask for short-course antibiotics. If your doctor believes you need an antibiotic, ask if a short course will do. Based on this study and many others, it’s obvious that the longer you take antibiotics the higher your risk of health issues. Your doctor may be willing to write you a short-course and check in with you once it’s done. If you’re feeling better, you may have just dodged a few extra days or weeks of unnecessary antibiotics.
  • Call your doctor if you feel better early. If you take antibiotics and you feel better before your prescription is through, call your doctor and ask if you can stop your antibiotics early. In many cases, your doctor will probably tell you that’s fine… especially if you have an open-minded doctor who understands the threat of antibiotic resistance.
  • Turn to antibiotic alternatives when you can. There are so many powerful, natural antibiotics you can turn to for less serious infections. Many of them even work against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. You can try onion, garlic, oregano oil, Manuka honey and olive leaf extract, just to name a few.

Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!


  1. Women’s antibiotic use linked to higher risk of death from heart disease, other causes — MedicalXpress. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  2. Do you really need to take all those antibiotics? — CBS News. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and