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Antibiotics: Reversing the Damage

Why do doctors give out antibiotics like oxygen? Ok that was a bit harsh, however being prescribed antibiotics is becoming easier and more worrying.

Is it something to do with the money?

For those who don’t know what antibiotics are:

n. A substance, such as penicillin or streptomycin, produced by or derived from certain fungi, bacteria, and other organisms, that can destroy or inhibit the growth of other microorganisms. Antibiotics are widely used in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. (Source: Dictionary.com)

Layman’s terminology: they kill all the bacteria in your system, be it bad or even good, yes they kill even the good bacteria.

Is this bad? Errrm….YES!!!

Not all doctors positively prescribe antibiotics.

I remember several years ago when I visited the doctor for my acne and was prescribed doxycycline (a derivative of tetracycline – a strong acne antibiotic). Initially I was very pleased because it actually helped. I was ignorant to the damage they can cause, however as long my skin was clear – I WAS HAPPY!

Until….they stopped working and I started to get all sorts of problems (stomach aches, weight gain, acne, diarrhea etc.)

I was confused. Why would this start to happen?

This led to me researching the side-effects of antibiotics and natural ways of combating this serious condition! I was highly saddened and disappointed that the doctor failed to point out these side-effects let alone suggest alternatives. He just smiled as if he was trying his best to convey some form of genuine sympathy, waiting for me to leave his office before the feign smile dropped off his face!

What was even more alarming was the fact that when my sister asked the doctor whether it was advisable to take probiotics whilst on an antibiotic course, the reply was: “…what are they? Some type of vitamin?”

I couldn’t believe it, I was astonished when I was told.

It really makes me wonder whether they receive commission from pharmaceutical companies (sorry, was that too controversial?)

If the good bacteria are also destroyed, then harmful substances can get a foot hold and cause havoc, e.g. Candida albicans (aggressive yeast overgrowth). Problems associated with digestion are also always common with antibiotic intake (this definitely occurred with me).

So what’s the solution?

Don’t use antibiotics if you can help it, find an alternative method of treatment (preferably natural) – the internet is an online encyclopedia Sherlock, so start searching!

If however, you have to take antibiotics for a finite period, then I cannot emphasize enough the simultaneous use of probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial microorganism cultures – i.e. good bacteria strands – that basically replenish the good bacteria in your system and try to repair the side-effects of antibiotic use.

Whilst using probiotics, I also advise one to eat foods high in natural probiotics and prebiotics (also referred to as fructooligosaccharides – FOS – or inulin). Prebiotics are the food the good bacteria in your body thrive upon and hence it results in growth and multiplication in your gut.

Good examples of food that contain prebiotics are: artichoke, asparagus, banana, unrefined barley, garlic, green beans, honey, leeks, unrefined oats, onions, raisins, soybeans, tomato, sprouted wheat products, whole grains etc.

 

Good examples of food that contain probiotics are dairy or soy yogurt with live cultures, miso, unrefined whole grain breads and cereals, fermented cabbage, brined olives, salted gherkins, kefir and also the prebiotics listed above.

When choosing a probiotic product, select one which guarantees at least a minimum number of spores at the time of opening and not at the time of manufacture (at least 1 billion). Also make sure that more than one strand of bacteria is present (there are claims that too many types of bacteria can lead to certain strands competing with each other to populate the gut and as a result less colonise adequately, though there is no clear evidence to substantiate this claim).

 

References available on request.

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6 Responses to Antibiotics: Reversing the Damage
  1. Vic
    September 20, 2007 | 9:29 am

    I’ve been on antibiotics (minocin for my acne) for almost 2 and a half months now! Prior to this, I took it for almost a year, after which my doctor suggested I go on the pill but I was not too keen on the idea so stuck to antibiotics – although out of the lot, minocin seems to be the only one that works for me – seems as though choosing antibiotics was the wrong choice :(

    I have been warned in the past about how bad they are – but I had no idea of the extent or detail! I’m glad to now know this! THANK YOU! I will most certainly be looking for an alternative – what exactly, I don’t know yet. My fear is – what will happen when I stop taking them??! :(

  2. kulsum (iwanabehealthy)
    September 21, 2007 | 3:09 am

    There seems to be a craze about probiotic drinks! Examples are “actimel” & “yakult”.. & various others. What’s the story here? I heard that these drinks are bad? But if they’re “probiotic”, surely that’s good?

  3. kulsum (iwanabehealthy)
    September 21, 2007 | 3:11 am

    BTW – you’re blog is great, I look forward to reading the next one! :)

  4. admin
    September 25, 2007 | 5:38 am

    Kulsum,

    These probiotic drinks do originally contain fortified good bacteria. However, whether these bacteria are still present when you purchase them is another question.

    Also, some manufacturers pasturise the products AFTER fortifying them with the cultures which doesn’t quite make any sense.

  5. admin
    September 25, 2007 | 5:39 am

    Daniel,

    Not quite sure what you didn’t understand. Please elaborate and I’ll be more than happy to explain.

    Thanks.

  6. kulsum (iwanabehealthy)
    September 25, 2007 | 8:58 am

    How can they not be present? I lack in knowledge here – but am very interested to know! I know of people who religiously drink probiotic drinks – but if it’s the case that the good bacteria are not present – is there any point? Why do they lie to us?! :|

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