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Happy Pear apologise for 'unqualified' remarks linking antibiotics to depression on podcast

The comments featured on a podcast and social media earlier this week.

THE FOUNDERS OF the Happy Pear franchise have apologised following criticism of comments made on their podcast by a US physician linking antibiotics to a rise in depression.

In a video posted on the Happy Pear’s Instagram page this week and since deleted, Dr Zac Bush claimed that one course of antibiotics led to a 24% rise in the chance of developing depression and an “inability to be joyful… [or] to have pleasure”.

“Two courses of antibiotics in a year… my chance of getting major depression just went up by 45% or 52%. Of that is a 45% increase in anxiety disorders, 52% in depression,” Bush also said.

The findings appear to be based on a study, published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2015, which found that depression could be one of a number of side-effects of antibiotic treatment due to its potential effects on gut bacteria.

However, the research emphasised that such effects are only experienced “on occasion” and that “not all antimicrobial actions of antibiotics have a negative impact”.

In a statement today, a spokesperson for the Happy Pear acknowledged that the comments were made on the podcast without “appropriate qualification or context”.

“The Happy Pear acknowledges that some of the content in a recent reel post across some of our social media platforms in relation to a podcast with US-based Dr Zac Bush MD, has caused offence, with some statements not given the appropriate qualification or context,” a spokesperson said.

“It was never the intention to mislead or to misinform and we sincerely apologise for any offence caused.”

The spokesperson also noted that the company was not qualified to offer medical advice, but was rather aiming to highlight the benefits of plant-based diets.

“The Happy Pear itself does not constitute a medical professional or medical expert opinion,” the statement continued.

“Our primary purpose serves to highlight some of the health and lifestyle benefits of plant-based eating. We will endeavour to ensure that this does not happen again.”

The company describes itself as “a plant-based cooking and lifestyle” franchise that provides recipes and tips “for all aspects of a healthy life”.

The latest controversy comes a year after the Happy Pear apologised over incorrect claims that eating mushrooms could help reduce the risk of breast cancer.

The Irish Cancer Society said at the time that while maintaining a healthy and balanced diet can help to reduce cancer risk, “there is no strong evidence that consuming one particular food or food group reduces the risk”. 

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