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Antibiotic Use

Antibiotics from the beginning...

The first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered in 1929 by Sir Alexander Fleming. He observed the inhibition of staphylococci on a plate contaminated by a Penicillin mould. By the mid 1940's antibiotics were available for treatment against many bacterial infections including strep throat, pneumonia, skin infections, wound infections, scarlet fever, toxic shock syndrome. By the early 1950's the discovery and introduction of streptomycin, tetracycline and other antibiotics led to effective treatment of a vast array of formerly life-threatening infections, illnesses and diseases.

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Antibiotic resistance

Even back in the 40's, according to U.S. News Online, scientists knew that the more an antibiotic is used, the quicker it becomes useless. While most bacteria exposed to the drug are killed, the fittest survive and pass survival traits to their offspring. With continued use of the antibiotic, the resistant bugs proliferate. Bacteria that have become resistant to one antibiotic also seem to find it easier to build resistance to others. Each time we take antibiotics, beneficial bacteria inhabiting our digestive system are killed, but resistant ones may be left to grow and multiply. The regular use of antibiotics has been implicated in a number of diseases, mainly associated with increased gut permeability, increased pathological bacteria and nutrient deficiencies.

Antibiotics and probiotics

It is said that for each one course of antibiotics you take, you need to take a concentrated probiotic supplement for 2-3 weeks afterwards, just to replace the good bacteria that was depleted from this one course.  This is vital, as 70% of your immune system is situated in your intestinal wall.

Antibiotics and nutrient absorption

Antibiotics and nutrient interactions have been a concern among many health care practitioners. Antibiotics are noted for their effect on modifying the metabolism of nutrients, thus weakening the user and potentially introducing new diseases.

Penicillin, neomycin, and chloramphenicol interact with nutrients through the following mechanisms:

Decreases plasma Vitamin C, and reduces Vitamin K absorption.

Damages intestinal cell mucosa, reducing protein absorption while inducing magnesium deficiency, and inhibits pancreatic lipase enzyme, thus causing decreased absorption of fat, and the fat soluble Vitamins A, D ,E ,K ,F.

Possible Potassium excretion with decreased Folic Acid absorption and decreased serum Folate and Iron.

A decrease of beneficial microflora, associated enzymes and acids required for Gastro intestinal tract health and nutrient synthesis.

Antibiotic resistance is fast approaching a problematic concern in medicine. Repeated and improper use of antibiotics are some of the main causes of the increase in resistant bacteria. Upon exposure to the antibiotic, bacteria can become resistant by developing ways to fight and survive them. Then they simply multiply and begin to cause symptoms. Resistant bacteria can be transmitted to others and they too will become ill with antibiotic resistant strains.

It is estimated that of all antibiotic prescriptions, 50% are unnecessary - being prescribed for colds, coughs and other viral infections.

Contributors to antibiotic resistance include:

Misuse and overuse of antibiotics in humans, animals, and agriculture.
Demand for antibiotics when antibiotics are not called for.
Failure to finish an antibiotic prescription.
Availability of antibiotics in some countries without a prescription.
The unnecessary use, misuse and abuse of antibiotics has led to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria strains.

The most common misuse and abuse of antibiotics are:

Physicians prescribing inappropriate and indiscriminate antibiotic use.
Taking antibiotics for viral, not bacterial infections. This use makes you more susceptible to developing an antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria which can live and multiply unhindered
Not finishing the full dosage as prescribed leaves some bacteria alive and "resistant" to future antibiotic treatment.

US News Online tell us.....

"The evidence is everywhere," says U.S. News Online, "Bostonians carry resistant E. coli in their guts; a Vermont high-school wrestling team is infected with resistant Staphylococcus aureus; multi-drug-resistant salmonella infects farmers and their cows; an outbreak of resistant tuberculosis sweeps through a California high school." Recent studies conducted by the Centre for Disease Control, found that 25% of the people sampled had pneumococcal infections resistant to penicillin, which was once nearly infallible in killing the germs. Among children under age 6, more than 40 percent had infections resistant to penicillin.

Nutritional and Herbal support after antibiotics include:

Essential nutrients to help combat the negative impact of antibiotics include Vitamin C, Multi Power, Primadophilus Optima, Inner Health, Colostrum, and Natural Digestion. L Reuteri is specific for people who develop diarrhoea with/after antibiotic use.  Candex is specific for those who develop thrush.

Natural Alternatives to antibiotics could include - Vir-Defence, Echinacea and Golden Seal, Garlicin, Superior Olive Leaf, Biotic Flu Relief and Sambucus.

Lipoic Acid - helps to reduce the kidney overload of certain antibiotics.

Some important points about antibiotic use

  • Be sure to supplement with the appropriate nutrients to combat the metabolism of the antibiotic.
  • Be sure to take a probiotic supplement for at least 3 weeks after each course of antibiotics.
  • Colostrum is also beneficial, and is often recommended with a probiotic.
  • Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet to boost liver detoxifying enzymes for efficient clearance of antibiotics.
  • Finish the course of medication and follow the directions exactly.
  • Strengthen your immune system after the medication has finished, with Astraforte, System Well, or Myco Defence.
  • Avoid sugary, yeasty and fermented foods and drinks while taking antibiotics. These feed the yeast in your intestine and can cause an overgrowth. This contributes to thrush, UTI and bowel disturbances.
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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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