UNDERSTANDING ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

January 16, 2018

UNDERSTANDING ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

Antibiotic resistance, what is it and what should you know about it.

antibiotics, pills, antibiotic resistance, medicineFirst a definition, “antibiotic resistance” refers to the phenomena of bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotic medicine. Eventually this can lead to complete resistance, where the antibiotic has no effect upon the bacteria and these bacteria become “super bugs.”

Antibiotics were, and are, the wonder medicines that have transformed our health and longevity. And so, the development of antibiotic resistance has become one of the biggest threats to our health, globally. The fear of a super bug that is capable of worldwide destruction is not an unreality and global health organizations recognize that such a “nightmare bacteria” could evolve that would “pose a catastrophic threat” to us all.

The sad part is that this threat is not a natural development but is primarily driven by the overuse, or misuse, of antibiotics, restricted not just to medicinal use but also to the questionable use of antibiotics in our food chain as well as the overuse of antibacterial cleansers and soaps.

How does antibacterial resistance come about?

Well, in simple terms just understand that bacteria are very resilient and very powerful survivors. They adapt to the threats around them and evolve methods to overcome these threats. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control):

Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics through several ways. Some bacteria can “neutralize” an antibiotic by changing it in a way that makes it harmless. Others have learned how to pump an antibiotic back outside of the bacteria before it can do any harm. Some bacteria can change their outer structure so the antibiotic has no way to attach to the bacteria it is designed to kill.”

The bottom line is that the more we use antibiotics (whether as medicine, through foods or antibacterial household products and soaps) the more that bacteria become “smart” and develop resistance to the antibiotics. It is not that the antibiotics become less powerful or change in any way, it is that the bacteria evolves and so the antibiotics become useless and cannot overcome the resistance factor–perhaps even becoming a “super bacteria” that we cannot fight. These “nightmare bugs” are becoming a serious issue in our hospitals across the nation as many recent medical and biological articles have reported.

The CDC along with many other scientists have warned that antibiotic resistance poses a very real and very dangerous threat to us all. And this is not some future threat, but a very real and present danger.

Here are some facts (from 2013):

  • Annually, well over 20,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Just in the USA alone, each year, over 2 million people experience serious infections involved with antibiotic resistant bacteria–in other words, these are bacteria that are now resistant to the very antibiotics that are designed to treat them specifically.
  • The CDC states that roughly 250,000 people experience Clostridium difficile infections each year that requires hospital treatment. In most cases, the use of antibiotics played a major part in acquiring the infection.
  • And this problem is not cheap, experts estimate that the problem of antibiotic resistance adds over $20 BILLION annually to our ballooning health care costs, with additional tens of billions in lost productivity… its a very expensive problem.

Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria–What Can You Do about It?

First of all, be very, very cautious and conservative about using antibiotics. They are not meant for every cold or sniffle and while it may seem like a “smart” preventative move, realize that antibiotics should not be used for mild infections and their use is better reserved for serious infections.

Second, always follow prescription instructions, such as finishing your dosage treatments and taking them on time. NEVER save them for future use, take other’s pills or use antibiotics for viral infections such as most all colds and sore throats. Realize that many common bouts of illnesses are caused by viral infections and are not bacterially based. This includes most all colds, flus, coughs, sinus infections, sore throats and such. Antibiotics are not only useless against a viral infection but you are putting your future health in great danger by misusing them in this way.

Third, explore other means of beefing your health and immunity. Talk to your health care practitioner about alternatives to antibiotics. A baseline of good health is your best defense against getting sick and in fighting off dangerous bacteria.

Can Oral Probiotics Help in the Fight Against Antibiotic Resistance?

woman, sneezing, cold, treatment

Probiotics (The World Health Organization's definition of probiotics is "live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host") work on several primary levels.

A recent article from scientists at the Georgia Institute of Tech, in Atlanta, reported on the vital need for alternative treatments for milder infections. They stated that the defensive power of antibiotics should be reserved for serious, and even life threatening, illnesses. They urged for an increased focus on alternative therapies for milder and non-life threatening sickness and that this focus would help to prevent the advance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

One such therapeutic approach they covered was the use of probiotics to fight these milder infections, such as sore throats and/or sinus infections.

It is important to understand and to note that probiotics do not contribute to antibiotic-resistance as they work on entirely different principles than antibiotics. Here are some key differences in their action:

  •  One, they gobble up all the food energy and so starve out the “bad” bacteria.
  • Two, they generate a non-acidic pH level that makes it hard for the infectious bacteria to survive.
  • Three, they produce proteins known as BLIS (bacteriocin-like-inhibitory-substances) that target other bacteria and inhibits their growth–basically knocks them out.

An effective oral probiotic, such as the ones from Great Oral Health, will have a blend of beneficial bacteria that can proof up the immune system and help to defend against bacterial attacks. Oral probiotics can be quite effective. Clinical studies have shown that the use of oral probiotics can result in significant reductions in the incidence of sore throats as well as sinus and ear infections.

As the old saying goes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and in this case that advice could not be more true.

Closing words, just realize that antibiotics are meant for serious illnesses and should ONLY be used as directed and for the intended illnesses. To do otherwise is to put your health, and even life, at risk.

Take active steps to improve your immunity with better food, exercise and rest. And finally, take a proactive step by adding oral probiotics to your body’s defense arsenal-helping you and your family stay healthy all year round.





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