Should You Be Worried About Antibiotics?


By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS aka “The Nutrition Myth Buster”™

The World Health Organization calls Antibiotics a major threat to public health. Should you be worried? What does antibiotic resistance actually mean to you? Should you fear taking antibiotics?

There are three times as many bacterial and fungal cells in your body as there are human cells. Why do you need all those bacterial and fungal cells? They populate your gut, your digestive tract, and they’re responsible for many important functions in your body. The gut is literally considered the second brain because of the inherent connection between the gut and the brain. The health of the gut is intimately associated with the health of the brain. The gut bacteria are also associated with digestion and assimilation of nutrients. They’re called probiotics, they’re pro health, they’re helpful, and they’re important microbes that assist in metabolic operations. They also assist with immunity. The latest research shows that the balance and composition of those bacterial microbes in your body has a lot to do with your weight.

new2Human cells and bacterial cells co-existed in a perfect symbiosis that supported the health of the whole body, till antibiotics came to play. According to Martin Blaser MD, the author of the book, “Missing Microbes,” antibiotics are actually fueling the modern day plagues, contributing to diabetes, contributing to obesity, to asthma, to allergies and even to certain kinds of cancers. The number one service your native bacteria (microbes in the gut) perform is immunity. The microbes are a huge part of your immune system. The overuse of antibiotics has altered the delicate balance of microbes that are living in all of us, and that makes us vulnerable to a wide number of diseases that plague us today.

Every time you take a course of antibiotics, you disturb the delicate balance of your gut flora and the result is way more bad bacteria like candida albicans, than good bacteria like lactobacillus. It’s not as much as the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor, although that definitely counts; it is that factory farms are dosing their factory farm animals with antibiotics to fatten them up and to keep them from getting sick in the horrible confined quarters they live in; and from the food that they eat that isn’t natural to their bodies.

Antibiotics arrive in our food, in milk, meat, cheese and eggs; and are found in the water supply and in all densely farmed commercial fish, especially shrimp, lobster; salmon and catfish. By 2010 healthcare providers prescribed 258 million courses of antibiotics to people in the United States alone; the highest rate was to babies under the age of two. This is a complete disruption of the natural flora of the garden of our gut. Next, we will examine the issue of antibiotic resistance. The more often we put antibiotics into our bodies and into our children’s bodies, the more likely we are to select for bacteria that are resistant to the action of those antibiotics. We keep selecting for bacterial survivors. A dose of amoxicillin will travel through the whole body to all the organs, all the tissues and it will destroy bacteria, leaving the more resistant bacteria, which then multiply rapidly allowing disease to spread even faster.

I’m not saying that you should never take antibiotics. There’s a couple things you can do to protect yourself. Take a probiotic supplement every single day. I consider probiotics to be one of the top 10 supplements for most people and I recommend it for just about everybody. Continue to take those probiotics alongside your antibiotics when you’re under an antibiotic treatment. Second, tell your doctor you would like to wait a few more days before you sign on for amoxicillin for that cough, or a wait a day before you get a script for your kid’s head cold. Resist pushing your doctor for a quick fix for your own anxiety. That doesn’t mean to say “no” if you have a sick kid and he/she really needs an antibiotic and your doctor says so. And lastly, demand better sources of protein. Grass-fed and organic meat as well as pastured pork are raised without antibiotics.

By Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS aka “The Nutrition Myth Buster”™