Infections and antibiotic- resistance: Brief Introduction
By Renata Trister, DO
A big concern of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is the overuse of antibiotics and the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Epidemic outbreaks of bacterial infections may likely to occur if no antidotes exist to kill these resistant strains of “super bugs.”
There are concerns in the USA that the common use of antibiotics in hand soap and in our foods will make the antibiotics ineffective when they are really needed. Poultry and meat are often raised with hormones and antibiotics to increase size and improve health.
Anti-malarial drugs have resulted in more resistant forms of malaria, so drug companies are trying to develop stronger weapons against the disease. Intestinal parasitic infections, yeast infections and food borne pathogens have been on the rise. The strategy of fighting these microbes with anti-microbial drugs has only escalated to a war with drastic destruction looming.
Unfortunately, antibiotics indiscriminately kill not only the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria making up the intestinal environment. The need to find solutions with less dire consequences has led to increased research into using more natural remedies and taking the path of Traditional Chinese Medicine to find ways of enhancing the immune system versus blasting the microbe with a stronger bullet.
The gut is responsible for critical digestive, immunologic and barrier functions. Microorganisms can stimulate inflammatory responses in the gut leading to intestinal tissue destruction and mucosal barrier dysfunction. This can lead to the development of autoimmune responses and systemic infection.
Some most common natural antibiotics used in cooking include oregano, sage, lemon balm, garlic and ginger. These are effective against viruses, bacteria, fungi, worms, and parasites. Probiotics also balance intestinal infection and inflammation through a different (opposite) mechanism.
However, high doses of active ingredients are required for an anti-microbial affect, so one should guard against unsafe use of herbs and seek manufacturer’s Certificate of Analysis to confirm extract specifications, standardization and potency by third party analysis.
Consulting practitioners and searching out pertinent information can help you find the balance needed for a healthy, functioning digestive tract. Choosing foods free from hormones, antibiotics or pesticides can also decrease the body’s exposure to chemicals. Also notify your physician when using these products.
There are no easy answers to getting healthy and staying healthy, but the first step to good health is making a decision to take that path and keeping yourself well informed in order to make wiser choices.