Most of us have found ourselves in the position wondering whether or not taking an antibiotic is the right solution. In today’s world these powerful drugs are dispensed at the whim of most doctors without looking at the potential detrimental side effects. As a matter of fact, most doctors don’t even test to determine whether the infection to be treated is bacterial, viral, parasitic, or fungal. Many of them simply assume that the infection is bacterial, even though multiple studies find that the most common infections are viral and fungal.
On top of that, many doctors prescribe antibiotics as a preventative in the absence of infection – i.e. before dental work. That being said, did you know…
- Properly prescribed antibiotics put at least 142,000 people in the ER every year.
- These visits include children and adults.
- Many of the adverse reactions are allergic responses
- Many experts believe that overexposure to these drugs contribute to the increase in gluten sensitivity we have seen in the last 50 years.
- The overuse of antibiotics has led to antibiotic resistant strains of infections that were once easy to treat.
- The widespread use of antibiotics on farm feedlots (about 25 million pounds per year) leak into waterways and make their way into our food supply, making resistance an even bigger problem.
- Antibiotic use destroys the natural bacterial flora in your gut. This can contribute to leaky gut syndrome (AKA – intestinal permeability)
- Antibiotic use can contribute to vitamin K and biotin (vitamin B8) deficiencies
- Incorrect use of these drugs increase the risk for secondary infections.
If You Are Faced With a Doctor Prescribing Antibiotics Consider This…
If you visit the doctor and he wants to prescribe antibiotics without performing a culture to determine the source of the infection, it may be time for a second opinion. If you have been treated with antibiotics multiple times, and the infections continue to return, address the environmental components of why your immune system is not properly protecting you. These components should include, but are not limited to the following –
- Hidden food allergies
- Use of immune suppressing drugs (commonly – allergy medications, steroids, antacids, pain medications)
- Heavy use of sugar in the diet (sugar suppresses immune function and alters the nature of the bacteria living in your mouth).
- Poor nutritional status (vitamin and mineral deficiencies, excessive carb or inadequate protein intake)
- Gluten Sensitivity – gluten can alter bacterial levels in the gut as well as tax the immune system to the point of inadequacy.
- Inadequate sleep
- Inadequate sunshine exposure
- Overwhelming stress
- Heavy metal exposures (lead, mercury, cadmium, etc. – these can cause immune suppression)
Natural Alternatives to Support a Healthy Immune Response
There are a number of nutritional therapies that can be used in lieu of antibiotics. Because nutrition is not taught in medical schools, many doctors completely ignore these factors (or dismiss them altogether as unimportant). The use of the following nutritional supplements can help provide the immune system with the support it needs:
- Vitamin D Therapy – used for years in Europe, high dose vitamin D therapy is one of the most potent allies against infection.
- High doses of vitamin C – a number of research studies support the use of vitamin C. It is very safe and works to support the immune system response. Additionally, vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine and helps to reduce allergy symptoms, and it has strong anti-viral properties.
- Probiotics – these healthy bacteria line the gut and help regulate the natural immune response.
- Immunoglobulin therapy – Many people have a deficit in the ability to produce their own natural antibodies due to poor nutrition. Some with gluten sensitivity have genetic reduction in the ability to make some types of antibodies. This natural treatment option provides valuable antibodies that have been shown to improve the body’s response to infection.
The list above is by no means intended to be comprehensive for all natural treatment options. There are many other natural options as well. Probably one of the best options is to maintain a healthy lifestyle giving high regard to the health of your body. Many people end up in the doctors office because they abuse themselves and ignore that advice in the first place. Always remember, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
- Shehab N, Patel PR, Srinivasan A, Budnitz DS. Emergency department visits for antibiotic-associated adverse events. Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Sep 15;47(6):735-43.
- Null G, Dean C, Feldman M, Rasio D. Death by medicine. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 2005. Vol 20, No 1, p 21-34. http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/2005/pdf/2005-v20n01-p021.pdf
- Egger WA. Antibiotic resistance: unnatural selection in the office and on the farm. Wisconson Medical Journal. Aug. 2002.
- Cathcart RF. Vitamin C, titration to bowel tolerance, anascorbemia, and acute induced scurvy. Medical Hypothesis, 1981. 7:1359-1376.
- Klenner FR. The use of vitamin C as an antibiotic. Journal of Applied Nutrition, 1953. 6:274-278.
Always looking out for you,
Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior