Article – Antibiotic Awareness Week
12-18th November 2018
Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the world. Both in Australia and internationally there is a growing concern about the emergence of anti microbial resistance. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently labelled antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to public health today.
Anti = against and Biotic = living organisms. Antibiotics will not “kill” viruses and cannot, since they are not actually living.
Given the impact of antibiotics on the gastrointestinal microflora, research has shown a three-fold increase in inflammatory bowel disease in children who received seven or more courses of antibiotics compared with children who had received none.
The widespread use of prescription and non-prescription drugs and our regular exposure to damaging toxins have triggered a drastic change in our internal intestinal environment
Health implications for low-density gut microbiota include inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease, allergies, obesity, cancer, mental illness and autism.
Inherently, your body does have the ability to defend itself against all or most organisms. If you are getting infections regularly, then your defence system needs support and it is necessary to boost your immune system. A number of nutrients are required for this system to work well. The most important of these is ascorbate – Vitamin C. Other nutrients that are needed for immune function include:
B-group vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, iron, manganese and magnesium.
There are times of course, when antibiotic treatment is the best) and sometimes the only) course of action to take. It is worth considering that, in the event antibiotics are required, there are a number of opportunities to mitigate the impact on the microflora.
Evidence that probiotic strains can act as adjuncts to antibiotic therapy by reducing adverse effects, improving antibiotic function and enhancing mucosal immunity is mounting and includes:
- reducing the risk of antibiotic-induced super infections in the gut and the vagina.
- secreting antibacterial substances that lower pathogenic bacterial populations locally and at distant mucosal sites, and disrupt biofilms, making it easier for antibiotics to function.
- enhancing generalised mucosal immunity, which in turn aids in the eradication of the organisms at the mucosal site
Probiotics have also been shown to:
- contribute to a decrease in the use of antibiotics
- play a role in preventing the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, as prophylactic use enhances immunity, one study found the administration of probiotics (with prebiotics) reduced the incidence of infectious disease in infants.
- enhance host response to antibiotics, e.g. a meta-analysis found H.pylori eradication therapy was significantly more successful with the co-administration of probiotics and another found the same in the case of bacterial vaginosis treatment.
- in some cases, be utilised instead of antibiotics.
There are more than 3 million microbial genes in our gut microbiota. Our gut microbiota evolves throughout our entire life and is the result of a variety of influences:
- Hygiene practises
- Mode of delivery
The gut microbiota of antibiotic-treated individuals experiences massive shifts in diversity, which may cause permanent changes to phyla distribution.
Dramatic decline in bacteroidetes and actinobacteria can be observed immediately after antibiotic treatment. Even after four years, the microbiota is yet to recover its former diversity and distribution.
Interestingly, there is a significant increase in proteobacteria. All proteobacteria are gram-negative, with an outer layer of lipopolysacharides, which is strongly associated with inflammation. Members of proteobacteria phylum include Escherichia, salmonella, vibrio, helicobacter and yersinia.
Antibiotic administration results in significant reduction in gut microbiota size and diversity. This is seen as increased colonisation by antibiotic resistant bacterial species e.g. Clostridium difficile, Candida albicans, Salmonella, C. perfringens type A, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecels, Streptococcus pneumoniae and reduction in butyrate-producing species, e.g. Faecalibacterium, Subdoligranulum and uncultured Ruminococcaceae, Roseburia, Coprococcus and Lachinospiraceae.
Studies have shown that while much of the diversity is eventually recovered, there were still several species that failed to recover after four years, suggesting that even a short course of antibiotics may cause permanent changes of gut microbiome.
Depending on the type of antibiotics, the effects of even a single antibiotic exposure on the human gut microbiome can be very aggravating and prolonged, with the effects sometimes lasting as long as a year. Even a single antibiotic treatment in healthy individuals contributes to the risk of antibiotic-resistance development and leads to long-lasting detrimental shifts in the gut microbiota.
The human gut microbiota is a highly complex ecosystem consisting of communities of micro organisms that interact with each other and with their host. Specific physiologic features of this relationship include:
- The development of innate and adaptive immunity
- Relative susceptibilities to infections
- Immune tolerance
- Bioavailability of nutrients and intestinal barrier function
The use of antibiotics may have the undesirable effect of temporarily or permanently disturbing the microbial environment and promoting the emergence of opportunistic infections such as Clostridium difficile, effect weight and obesity and even influence mental health.
Researchers and healthcare practitioners have considered the administration of probiotic supplementation a potentially important treatment for addressing antibiotic induced microbiota disturbances with a variety of species and strains. Immediately following a course of antibiotics, a high-potency, broad-spectrum blend of commensal probiotics should be administered.
To prevent antibiotic-associated complications such as diarrhoea and thrush, and to protect and preserve gastrointestinal homeostasis, concurrent administration of the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii for the duration of antiobiotic treatment is recommended.
Some antibiotics, although valuable in flighting infection, also kill off friendly bacteria in the gut, which would normally be producing B-group vitamins to be absorbed through the intestinal walls.
Such deficiencies can result in a variety of nervous conditions, therefore it may be advisable to supplement with B-group vitamins when on a lengthy course of broad-spectrum antibiotics, and/or use pure Lactobacillus powders or capsules. Viral and bacterial infections can cause inflammation, which may be reduced by vitamin C and herbs such as Echinacea and Garlic. I have found Echinacea and Garlic excellent, reliable and effective as a natural antibiotic. The highest levels of active compounds of Echinacea tend to be found in liquid herbal extracts of Echinacea supplied by your Naturopath.
Garlic is a natural antioxidant, antiseptic, antibacterial and is excellent for fighting infection. It has the ability to protect the cell membranes from attack of free radicals. It is highly successful in killing Candida albicans – or at least in reducing Candida overgrowth. It has broad-spectrum antifungal and antibacterial activity.
Much of the scientific research on garlic concerns its antimicrobial activity against many genera of bacterial and against opportunistic and infectious fungi, including C.albicans. No clinical strains of
C.albicans have shown to develop significant resistance to garlic.
An incorrect environment in the digestive tract makes it easier for Candida albicans to develop and so lead to all symptoms of systemic thrush. You may be doing all you can to treat the problem, avoiding the foods that contain yeasts or ferments and taking the appropriate supplements, yet not be eradicating the problem.
Echinacea is an antioxidant and has beneficial effects on the immune system. It has a high concentration of vitamin C and reduces the incidence and duration of respiratory infections. I use high quality Garlic and Echinacea herbal extracts. There are other herbal tinctures with antibiotic properties, but it is advisable to consult a professional Herbal Medicine practitioner.
Homoeopathic remedies are also beneficial to treat infections. Because homoeopathic remedies work according to individual constitutions, it is best to consult a practitioner.
Testimonial – Janette Grbavac – New Home Sales Consultant
“I have been a client of Margaret Gough – Greendale Natural Therapies for the past 10 years. Since I have been seeing Margaret for health check ups, I have not been to mainstream medical Doctors. My (go-to) must have is Margaret’s antibiotic formula – Garlic and Echinacea herbal tincture. This has saved myself as well as my family from ever getting the flu. I always have at least 2 bottles in my pantry. We use this formula as soon as we start to get a cough and the symptoms are gone within a day. It is truly a ‘miracle cure’. I have 4 children and when my eldest child lived in America for 2 years during the snow season, all he took with him was Garlic and Echinacea and it cured him within a day of any fever, cold or flu. My brother lives in Europe and when he was in Australia for a visit he had the flu and recovered within 24 hours after taking this formula. I now order for him as well and take it with me when I visit.
I highly recommend this magnificent antibiotic which has absolutely saved me and my family.”
Margaret Gough – Naturopath/Herbalist/Homoeopath
The Swell Centre
2 Minona Street, Hawthorn, 3122
Ph 90024270 Mob 0409106487