Are Antibiotics Worth The Risk?

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Many people never stop to consider how antibiotics affect them and take them believing that the antibiotics will only do them good and there’s no harm or risk. This “harmless” drug however has created a global concern and it’s continued use is being questioned at all levels.

There is an overwhelming amount of evidence of the harm created by antibiotics and how irresponsibly they are handed out by the medical, osteopathic, and naturopathic professions. So why do people continue to accept their use? Part of the problem lies within society itself and the culture of medicine. Medical doctors have inaccurately been viewed as the upper echelon in the health community. If they consider them to be safe enough to hand out so freely, then they must be okay, is a common sentiment. The inability of the medical profession to make accurate assessments with most patients, however, is repeatedly demonstrated by the medical profession’s failures. A common statement that you’ll hear from medical doctors is how unprepared they are by their schooling and training to handle the majority of the patients that they see. Frank Lipman, MD states, “I was shocked that my training was not very helpful for at least three quarters of them.”

It’s important to understand why most people takes antibiotics and what happens in the body as a result. When the body’s immune system is weakened by stress, chemicals, heavy metals, emotions, etc., the activity of microbes can increase and pathogenic microbes can start to flourish. The body’s immune system responds by activating some fast and some slower immune system mechanisms to help contain and eliminate not only infections, but also chemicals and heavy metals. These immune response mechanisms can create fevers, aches, chills, fatigue and other symptoms that we commonly associate with infections, colds, flues, etc. Contrary to the pharmaceutical companies attempts to educate us via commercials that these responses require drugs, they are actually signs of a healthy immune system responding appropriately. The very fact that they exist is not to alert us to run and take drugs, but to signal to us to support the body in this process to facilitate the healing response. The typical response by most people is to run to their doctors and get antibiotics (It’s important to note here that medical doctors are educated in the same way and posses very little understanding of the normal physiology of the body). When we take the antibiotics, the antibiotics suppress the immune system (remember that it’s already being suppressed) and by suppressing the immune system, they eliminate the healthy and required immune responses that create the symptoms of fevers, aches, pains, etc. With the disappearance of these symptoms, we feel as though we are healthier and the harmful infection has been eliminated. In reality, the symptoms are gone, but the antibiotics have created antibiotic-resistant strains, suppressed the immune system further, destroyed all the healthy bacteria in the body for up to 12 months or more, and have set the stage for many diseases and cancers throughout our life.

Antibiotics are associated with a very wide range of diseases and conditions, from acne and asthma to life-threatening diarrheacolitis, and cancers. The knowledge of antibiotics causing cancers first emerged decades ago. Antibiotics destroy all of the bacteria in the body within 5 to 7 days. This reduces the capacity of the microflora to produce phytochemicals that protect against cancer. Once destroyed, it takes 9 to 12 months, or more, for the bacterial flora to regrow back. Without the normal bacteria, the body is now vulnerable for an extended period of time. Several gut pathogens can cause serious problems during a course of antibiotics. Senior author, Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, said “Antibiotics open the door for these pathogens to take hold. Some studies have thus far shown that even after 3 years, the original flora is never restored, indicating a permanent alteration of the flora, and therefore function and balance in the body. This permanent alteration can lead to lifelong changes and impairments. The FDA has stated that the fluoroquinolone antibiotics – CiproLevaquin, and Avelox can cause severe, permanent, and disabling nerve pain throughout the body. Having talked to a few of these people myself, you have to be prepared to spend the rest of your life (if you can call it that) spending every last cent you have trying to find a way out of the hellish hole these antibiotics can leave you in. If you need more proof, have a look at the stories being shared on these two sites – FQVictims.org and Fluoroquinolone Victims Advocacy Network.

Antibiotics affect immune function and inflammation, in ways that increase cancer risk. Use of antibiotics is associated with increased risk of incident and fatal breast cancer, and colon cancers, and prostate cancer.

The FDA is warning the public that azithromycin (Zithromax or Zmax) can cause abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart that may lead to a potentially fatal irregular heart rhythm and sudden death.

“Clinical levels of antibiotics can cause oxidative stress that can lead to damage to DNA, proteins and lipids in human cells, but this effect can be alleviated by antioxidants.

Taking antibiotics renders individuals susceptible to diseases and conditions by leaving them in what is termed a germ-free state. In animal studies, “intestinal atonia frequently killed germ-free animals. Other investigations showed that germ-free animals have anatomic, physiologic, and immunologic features not shared with conventional animals. For example, in germ-free animals, the alimentary lamina propria is underdeveloped, little or no immunoglobulin is present in sera or secretions, intestinal motility is reduced, and the intestinal epithelial cell renewal rate is approximately one-half that of normal animals (4 rather than 2 days).” Put more simply, they alter the shape and growth of normal cells of the intestinal tract, reduce the presence of immune factors, and retard the cell’s ability to repair itself.

“…studies with antibiotic treated animals suggest that the flora protects individuals from pathogens. Investigators have used streptomycin to reduce the normal flora and have then infected animals with streptomycin-resistant Salmonella. Normally, about 106 organisms are needed to establish a gastrointestinal infection, but in streptomycin-treated animals whose flora is altered, fewer than 10 organisms were needed to cause infectious disease. Further studies suggested that fermentation products (acetic and butyric acids) produced by the normal flora inhibited Salmonella growth in the gastrointestinal tract. Figure 6-2 shows some of the factors that are important in the competition between the normal flora and bacterial pathogens.”

As a culture, we have come to believe that antibiotics serve a necessary and needed role. Unfortunately, that may not be the case as researchers continue to show that antibiotics are far more dangerous than previously thought.

A new study from Harvard researchers shows that antibiotics damage and alter human DNA, as well as proteins and fats in tissues. This type of effect classifies antibiotics as teratogens. “A teratogen is a drug or other substance capable of interfering with the development of an embryo fetus that may lead to birth defects or developmental malformations.

Researchers at Duke University found that exposure to antibiotics may also increase the risk of LBW. This in turn was associated with cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.

Other researchers have linked the use of antibiotics to causing cancers of the skinprostate, and breast. Sudden death is always a risk factor with antibiotics use that most people don’t realize, and doctor’s definitely never discuss with their patients.

Antibiotic-induced DNA changes can also cause lung diseasecardiovascular deathpancreatitis, as well as many other conditions. A single dose of antibiotics can strongly alter microbial profiles and predispose humans to diseases like C. difficile with 40-50% mortality rates. Antibiotic-induced and resistant C. difficile affects approximately 3 million people yearly in the U.S. alone. What most people don’t realize in all of these cases is that alterations and damage to the DNA are involved and this damage is taking place whether or not the disease immediately manifests itself.

Antibiotics expose everyone to increased levels of infection from pathogenic organisms that are resistant to all antibiotics.

Over 50% of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary with some estimates as high as 70-90% in children. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the President’s Council on Advisors on Science and Technology in Washington, D.C. “To be frank, there’s a very poor state of practice in terms of antimicrobial prescribing,” he said. The inappropriate use of antibiotics continues to be high (22-61%) in hospitals and clinics alike.

This gross misuse of antibiotics by medical doctors can create lifelong diseases in our children – “Therapy with broad-spectrum antibiotics is frequently performed in pediatric practice and children receiving this therapy within their first year of life are particularly prone to develop allergic diseases later in life[1214]. Studies in animal models, such as Germ-Free animals, have also suggested that microbiota play a critical role in normal development of the immune system [15]. Oyama et al. [16] reported that antibiotic use during infancy in mice promotes a shift in the Th1/Th2 balance toward Th2-dominant immunity.

In 2003, the FDA mandated that ALL doctors culture microbes and perform susceptibility testing prior to prescribing antibiotics. Ten years later, almost all physicians fail to do this. Given that the majority of all antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary, this disregard for human health and the consequences of the doctor’s action of handing out drugs without justification is inexcusable.

The use of any antibiotic eventually leads to the inability to continue to use that antibiotic due to the ability of microbes to adapt and create antibiotic-resistant strains. Antibiotic resistance is a major world health concern that kills more people than AIDS each year. Doctor’s hand out antibiotics like Halloween candy, except this candy always comes with a razor.

“The danger posed by the growing resistance to antibiotics should be ranked along with terrorism on a list of threats to the nation” and “poses a catastrophic threat to medicine”, states England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies. “Health officials are watching in horror as bacteria become resistant to powerful carbapenem antibiotics — one of the last drugs on the shelf.” Harold C. Neu, one of the world’s foremost experts on infectious disease warned about the complacency around the threat of antibiotic resistance and the Crisis of Antibiotic Resistance. Along with all of these dire warnings these experts also evoke the scary prophecy that people will soon be dying from simple surgeries, but is that true? Perhaps, not. If we look at the prophylactic use of antibiotics in surgery, a different picture emerges.

There are 4 classifications for the prophylactic use of antibiotics in surgery. These NNIS (National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance) classifications are Clean, Clean-Contaminated, Contaminated, and Dirty: 0,1,2,3 respectively. The use of prophylactic antibiotics in the first two classes is highly controversial, as a person is more likely to have a SSI (Surgical Site Infection) when antibiotics are used than when they are not. One study showed that a person was more likely to have an infection with antibiotics in the first 3 classes, than without antibiotics. When looking at the need for antibiotics in the last classification, one of the main reasons for their need in the “Dirty” classification is due to antibiotic-resistant microbes being present. In other words, the previous use of antibiotics creates the likelihood that someone will have a deadly infection later on. When antibiotics are used in any surgery, their use can actually accelerate the invasion process of the antibiotic-resistant strains present. This holds true outside of surgeries, as well. Studies show that the use of antibiotics causes antibiotic resistance rates to increase. Use one antibiotic and you’ll create resistant strains. Use a second antibiotic and the resistance happens twice as fast, and so forth.

Antibiotics are the most prescribed class of drugs on the planet. The way in which they affect the internal ecosystem of the body is also occurring globally to a much greater degree in ecosystems around the world due to their widespread use in livestock to fatten up animals. Obesity is a global health crisis which has it roots in antibiotics and how they alter the normal intestinal flora.

The list of antibiotic-induced diseases and conditions is growing as science discovers more and more about how they truly affect the body. Here’s a list of a few of them:

Increased cardiovascular disease, strokes, and death (1), Immune system suppression (2), Altered behavior, anxiety, and nervous system imbalances (3), Increased pathogenicity of Staph Aureus (4),  Development of systemic allergic diseases (5), Increased risk of pancreatitis (6), Increases in Strep throat (7), Increased risk of sudden death (8), Increase risk of infections (9), Increased risk of breast cancer (10), Life-threatening colitis (11), Obesity (12-15), Kidney stones (16), Kidney damage (17), Asthma (18), Systemic lupus (19), Eye disorders (20), Cancer (21), Sepsis and Systemic inflammation (22), Colon Cancer (23), Increased susceptibility to disease (24), Arthritis (25), Nerve Damage (26), Lung damage (27), Nutrient deficiencies (28), Liver failure (29), and many more as yet to be determined effects.

In any discussion about the harmful effects of antibiotics, one has to consider the development of systemic fungal candida infections, which occur 4-52 hours after even one antibiotic pill. Fungal candida drives inflammation in the body, as inflammation promotes the ongoing growth of candida. For this reason primarily, fungal candida is associated with over 100 conditions and diseases. It’s impact on inflammation creates the basis for dysfunction throughout the entire body. Other pathogenic killers, like C. difficile and E. coli, thrive in inflammation, as well. The Candida Plan is designed to reverse the effect of antibiotics and help establish greater levels of health within the body.

The medical field’s continued adherence to the “see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil” philosophy with medications continues to pave the way for diseases and deaths related to antibiotic use. Government mandates and global please have done very little to correct this problem and the ongoing practices with prescribing antibiotics. It is more likely that the change will have to come from outside the profession as more and more people arm themselves with the knowledge of science and fact. Waiting for the medical profession to update itself will continue to cost lives and add lifelong suffering to millions and millions of people.

Perhaps, Arjun Srinivasan of the CDC stated it best when he said, “Medicine is a study in humility, we learn every day that something we thought was true is not correct.” Don’t wait on medicine to get it right.

Take back your health.  Live the life you create. Dr. McCombs Candida Plan.

Dr. Jeffrey S. McCombs, DC, is a third generation graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic (1984). Dr. McCombs developed The Candida Plan which is a detoxification and dietary plan that counters the detrimental effects of antibiotics and reestablishes the normal body flora, detoxification pathways, and regeneration cycles of a vital, youthful, and healthy body. His 29 years of ongoing research and practice emphasizes addressing the nutritional, environmental, emotional, structural, and biochemical aspects of acute and chronic health conditions in his patients.

 

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(2) Experimental Study of Antibiotic-Induced Immunosuppression in Mice. II. Th, Ts and NC Cell Involvement. Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 1983;6(4):301-12.   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6231158

(3) The Intestinal Microbiota Determines Mouse Behavior and Brain BDNF Levels. Gastroenterology, Vol. 140, Issue 5, Supplement 1, Page S-57. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517110315.htm

(4) Impact of Sub-Inhibitory Antibiotics on Fibronectin-Mediated Host Cell Adhesion and Invasion by Staphylococcus Aureus. BMC Microbiology 2011, 11:263.   http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2180/11/263/abstract

(5) Commensal Bacteria-derived Signals Regulate Basophil Hematopoiesis and Allergic Inflammation. Nature Medicine 18, 538–546 (2012).  http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v18/n4/full/nm.2657.html

(6) Pancreas: Acute Pancreatitis Risk Higher in Current Tetracycline Users. Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology 8, 658 (December 2011).  http://www.nature.com/nrgastro/journal/v8/n12/full/nrgastro.2011.192.html?WT.ec_id=NRGASTRO-201112

(7) Association of Pharyngitis With Oral Antibiotic Use for the Treatment of Acne. Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(3):326-332.  http://archderm.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1105235

(8) Antibiotic Interaction Boosts Sudden Death Risk. Health News. 2005 Jan;11(1):2.  http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/reporter/index.html?ID=3511

(9) Antibiotic exposure as a risk factor for fluconazole-resistant Candida bloodstream infection. Antim. Agents Chemother. 56:2518-2523.  http://www.asm.org/images/Communications/tips/2012/0512candida.pdf

(10) Antibiotic Use in Relation to the Risk of Breast Cancer. JAMA. 2004;291:827-835.  http://www.ama-assn.org/special/827.pdf

(11) Gastrointestinal Disorders and the Critically Ill. Clostridium Difficile Infection and Pseudomembranous Colitis. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2003 Jun;17(3):475-93.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=pubmed&cmd=Search&doptcmdl=Citation&defaultField=Title%20Word&term=Wilcox

(12)  The Gut Microbiota as an Environmental factor That Regulates Fat Storage. PNAS November 2, 2004 vol. 101 no. 44 15718-15723.  http://www.pnas.org/content/101/44/15718.full

(13) An Obesity-Associated Gut Microbiome with Increased Capacity for Energy Harvest. Nature. 2006 Dec 21;444(7122):1027-31.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17183312

(14) Gut Microbiota and Its Possible Relationship with Obesity. Mayo Clin Proc. 2008 Apr;83(4):460-9.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18380992

(15) Role of Gut Microflora in the Development of Obesity and Insulin Resistance Following High-Fat Diet Feeding. Pathol Biol (Paris). 2008 Jul;56(5):305-9. Epub 2008 Jan 30.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18178333

(16) Oxalobacter formigenes and its role in oxalate metabolism in the human gut. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 230: 1–7.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1016/S0378-1097%2803%2900864-4/abstract;jsessionid=3F1DA9AFF4253C3DE513B8A5567A91B2.d03t02

(17) Anthracycline Antibiotics Induce Acute Renal Tubular Toxicity in Children with Cancer. Pathol Oncol Res. 2007;13(3):249-53. Epub 2007 Oct 7.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17922055

(18) Antibiotic use in early childhood and the development of asthma. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 29: 766–771.  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2222.1999.00536.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false

(19) Minocycline-Induced Lupus. Dermatology 2000;200:223–231.  http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Aktion=ShowAbstractBuch&ArtikelNr=18387&ProduktNr=225592

(20) Drug-Induced Optic neuropathy. US Pharm. 2011;36(4):HS2-HS6.  http://www.uspharmacist.com/content/d/feature/i/1473/c/27859/

(21) Variation in Antibiotic-Induced Microbial Recolonization Impacts on the Host Metabolic Phenotype. J. Proteome Res., 2011, 10 (8), pp 3590–3603.  http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/pr200243t

(22) Antibiotic-Induced Endotoxin Release and Clinical Sepsis: A Review. J Chemother. 2001 Nov;13 Spec No 1(1):159-72.  http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/11936361

(23) Altered Gut Flora Are Associated with Septic Complications and Death in Critically Ill Patients with Ssytemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 2011, Volume 56, Number 4, Pages 1171-1177   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3059822/

(24) Shifting the Balance: Antibiotic Effects on Host-Microbiota Mutualism. Nature Reviews Microbiology 9, 233-243 (April 2011).  http://www.nature.com/nrmicro/journal/v9/n4/full/nrmicro2536.html?WT.ec_id=NRMICRO-201104

(25) Drug-Induced Arthritic and Connective Tissue Disorders. Semin Arthritis Rheum 38:249-264.  http://www.laboratoriosilesia.com/upfiles/sibi/r_002_drug.pdf

(26) Peripheral Neuropathy with Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics.  Annals of Pharmacotherapy, Dec. 2001;35(12):1540-47.  http://medicationsense.com/articles/may_aug_05/warning_antibiotics_052205.html

(27) Azithromycin Reduces the Viability of Human Bronchial Smooth Muscle Cells: Azithromycin Effect on Human Bronchial SMCs. The Journal of Antibiotics 63, 71-75 (February 2010)  http://www.nature.com/ja/journal/v63/n2/full/ja2009125a.html

(28) Reduction of Vitamin K2 Concentrations in Human Liver Associated with the Use of Broad Spectrum Antimicrobials. Clin Invest Med. 1994 Dec;17(6):531-9.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7895417

(29)  Drug-related Hepatotoxicity and Acute Liver Failure. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition. October 2008 – Volume 47 – Issue 4 – p 395-405.  http://journals.lww.com/jpgn/Fulltext/2008/10000/Drug_related_Hepatotoxicity_and_Acute_Liver.1.aspx

 

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