Antibiotics kill off friendly bacteria

Ten million people every year reach for an antibiotics prescription, and despite repeated warnings by the Chief Medical Officer some doctors still hand them out for colds, flu and sore throats, all viruses for which they are usually ineffective. Consequently,  antibiotic resistance is growing with superbugs rife in hospitals and some serious illnesses not responding to treatment.

Even though people insist that some infections only respond to antibiotics, that’s not entirely true either.  Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology, herbal medicine, and homeopathy have good success rates with a wide number of ailments, enabling the body to heal itself much quicker without drugs.

The average child in the UK has had 10 courses of antibiotics by the age of 16, seriously upsetting the microflora in the body which may never recover if steps are taken to improve it. This also means that when babies are born they are inheriting unhealthy bacteria from their mothers’ guts. And to add even more salt to the wound, meat eaters who do not eat organic may be getting traces of antibiotics routinely fed to animals as prophylactics. The good news about this is that the European Parliament is considering banning routine antibiotics in farm animals.

Recent research published in Nature, outlined the long-term changes to beneficial bacteria in the gut when people take antibiotics, which kill the ‘healthy’ bacteria as well as the ‘hostile’.  It was claimed by Dr Blaser, chairman of the Department of Medicine at New York University,  that overuse of antibiotics was also prompting an increase in obesity, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and asthma.

The alternative to antibiotics

• Probiotics encourage the healthy growth of microflora in the gut (see ) so anyone who has had (or is taking) antibiotics should take them routinely.(see) You can eat probiotics naturally in live yoghurt or take them in capsule form.  Read: Keeping Your Microflora in Good Shape  

• Prebiotics lay the right foundations for probiotics to flourish, and are prevalent in chicory, 
onions, wheat, barley, garlic, rye, oats, bananas, or can be taken in capsule form. See: Prebiotics not Probiotics

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