Antibiotics – Necessary but Overused
Overuse of antibiotics can not only cause resistance but in the end, can potentially do more harm than good. The rates of antibiotic prescription levels are disturbing. Center for Disease Control Researchers conducted a study analyzing a national prescription drug database for 2010. (1) They found that physicians prescribed 833 antibiotic prescriptions were prescribed for every 1,000 people!
The Consequences of Too Many Antibiotic Prescriptions
Consequently, bacteria have increasingly gained the power to shrug off antibiotics. Resistances to antibiotics are emerging as microorganisms are failing to respond to conventional treatment. This results in prolonged illness, greater risk of death and higher costs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking at least 20 strains of resistant bacteria. (1)
Antibiotics – Ineffective Against Upper Respiratory Infections?
One of the most common diagnoses given at a doctor’s office is the upper respiratory infection (URI). It accounts for up to 70% of all antibiotics dispensed. (2) However, according to Dr. Carol Kauffman, “most URIs are not caused by the bacteria that antibiotics are designed to fight, they are caused by fungi. So, unless a secondary, bacterial infection presents itself most URIs do not require the use of antibiotics”. (2)
While doctors often prescribe antibiotics to treat bacterial infections, they are not effective against viral infections. Viral infections that should not be treated with antibiotics include:
- Most coughs and bronchitis
- Sore throats (except for those resulting from strep throat)
The Importance of Your Own Native Intestinal Bacteria
How does frequent use of antibiotics affect the body in the long term? By killing off the healthy bacteria. Every time you swallow antibiotics, you kill the beneficial bacteria within your intestines. When you do so, you upset the balance of your intestinal terrain.
The gastrointestinal tract is the body’s first line of defense in terms of immunity. As intestinal bacteria die, yeast will thrive and grow into large colonies and take over. Yeast overgrowth has been one of the leading causes of leaky gut syndrome (a gastrointestinal disorder that develops in the gut wall) as well as food allergies, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome–just to name a few.
Antibiotic Overuse – Not Just in Humans!
It’s not just humans that over-consume antibiotics. Animals which provide us food (like cattle and pork) are treated with them as well. Tons of antibiotics are fed to American livestock on a daily basis to combat mastitis and other diseases, and increase their weight. Today 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the United States are fed to livestock! (3)
According to the Food and Drug Administration records, antibiotic use on farms grew from about 18 million pounds in 1999 to nearly 30 million pounds in 2011. (3) If a single animal in a herd or a flock is diagnosed with an illness, the entire herd receives the medication, usually mixed in with the animals’ feed or water because it would be too expensive to diagnose and treat only certain individuals. (4) So imagine the number of antibiotics in the dairy products that we all consume on a daily basis.
Antibiotics During Pregnancy Can Harm Your Baby
A baby gets its production of gut flora from the mother’s birth canal during childbirth. It’s important to understand that if a mother’s flora is abnormal her baby’s flora will also be abnormal. Antibiotic use during pregnancy can cause disruption. Recent research from Denmark shows that children whose mothers took antibiotics during their pregnancy were more likely to develop asthma, compared to those whose mother did not take antibiotics. These children were 17 percent more likely to have to go to the hospital for asthma before the age of five. (5)
Long-Term Health Effects of Too Many Antibiotics
So as antibiotics affect bacteria in the intestine, does it impact how nutrients are broken down in the body from certain foods? Authors of a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association hypothesize that antibiotic effects on the body’s immune response could be related to the development of cancer. The antibiotics’ effects on the body’s inflammatory response could also lead to cancer development. These scientists also correlated that the use of antibiotics combined with a weakened immune system and underlying medical conditions can increase certain cancers. (6)
What can you do?
Natural ways are available for prevention and even treatment during a period where your immune system may need some support.
- Probiotics are organisms that restore the balance of bacteria and they help your body produce vitamins, absorb minerals and aid in the elimination of toxins.
- Lifestyle factors may also play a role with a vulnerable gut.
- Reduce processed foods and refined foods.
- Reduce sugar.
- Partake in stress reduction practices.
- Take immune-boosting supplements:
- Click the link to see Dr. Sheehan’s favorites
- Also helpful are:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Oregano Oil
- Lauricidin will also support a strong immune defense and help maintain a normal, healthy balance of intestinal flora and yeast. Derived from the coconut oil, Lauricidin has been shown to help fight fungal, yeast, bacterial, and viral illnesses.
- Get tested…
There is a lot of information out there as well as many different types of vitamins and minerals, all of which seem to promote optimal health. How do you know where to start, what to take, or who to believe? Let your professional nutrition expert give you the correct advice by determining exactly what you need from an individualized comprehensive blood test and tissue mineral analysis. By optimizing the deficiencies and toxicities in the body we can build a healthy foundation for maximum health. Let us help you get your body in optimal health today!
- Stobbe, Mike. Study shows overuse of antibiotics. USA Today April 10, 2013
- Kauffman, Doug; Holland, David. The Fungus Link, Vol. 3: Know the Cause. MediaTrition. 2008
- Estabrook, Barry. Antibiotics in Your Food: What’s Causing the Rise in Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Our Food Supply and Why You Should Buy Antibiotic-Free Food. May 1, 2013 http://thefern.org/2013/05/whats-causing-the-rise-in-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria/. Accessed on July 29, 2013
- Lin, Doris. Why are factory farmed animals given antibiotics and hormones such as rBGH? http://animalrights.about.com/od/animalsusedforfood/f/AntibioticsrGBH.htm. Accessed on July 26, 2011
- Stensballe, Lone Graff; Simonsen, Jacob; et.al Use of Antibiotics during Pregnancy Increases the Risk of Asthma in Early Childhood. Journal of Pediatrics. November 8, 2012
- *Velicer CM, Heckbert SR, Lampe JW, Potter JD, Robertson CA, Taplin SH. Antibiotic Use in Relation to the Risk of Breast Cancer. Journal of the American Medical Association, Feb. 18, 2004;291(7):827-835.