Superbugs

In 1928 a scientist, Alexander Fleming, made a chance discovery of a mould that contained some substance that was toxic to a range of bacteria. It was also shown to be non-toxic to humans. He called the substance Penicillin. He wrote an article about his discovery and 12 years later in 1940, two researchers, Howard Florey and Ernst Chain, were able to isolate the active substance and developed it into a useable product. That was the start of the antibiotic age where bacteriological infections could be controlled. Since then antibiotics have saved countless lives.

Fleming was also smart enough to realise that overuse of these antibiotics would render them ineffective; bacteria would develop immunity to the drugs. And that’s exactly what is happening

Bacteria are very clever organisms. They can quickly adapt to any environment. They reproduce asexually by cell division, a process that occurs rapidly under the right conditions. That should produce a population of same DNA clones. However as with any organism, changes to the DNA can occur and mutations result. Any mutations that are somewhat resistant to a particular strain of antibiotic are more likely to survive when exposed to that antibiotic. But, here’s the clever part, bacteria can exchange DNA simply by contact. So with the rapid cell division and rapid DNA exchange, the bacteria quickly become antibiotic resistant to the extent that a superbug can develop that will actually feed and thrive on the antibiotic.

Other types of bacteria can pick up resistance due to plasmids. These are small pieces of resistant DNA that can break off from resistant strains of bacteria. These plasmids themselves can multiply and infect other types of bacteria, shortcutting evolution and producing another type of bacteria that is resistant to the antibiotic.

The secret of antibiotic use is to not overdo it and also to give a full and strong dose that can take out even those somewhat resistant bugs. Doctors know about this. They don’t prescribe antibiotics unless essential and we are always told to take the full dose. In hospitals, they are so terrified of those superbugs they really lay on those antibiotics; they fill you full of them. After a hospital visit, with all the antibiotics, you can be left with almost no bacterial gut flora. It can take you 6 months for recovery before you start to function normally again and your immune system gets up to speed.

The real problem of superbugs is not in human health care but in the livestock industries. These industries use more than 80% of the antibiotics. They use them routinely to keep the animals healthy and to maximise their growth in the filthy condition in which they are forced to live. They are used in low doses for extended periods; ideal conditions for development of superbugs

Because our makeup is so similar to those animals, it is no great problem for the antibiotic resistant bacteria strains to infect our bodies. The most important step that can be made to prevent the rise of the superbug and the loss of antibiotics is to ban their blanket use in those livestock industries or ban those industries, which is by far the best alternative for our health.

Recently an E coli superbug was found in a Pennsylvania woman. It was resistant to the last resort antibiotic colistin. This is really bad news. It could herald the beginning of the end of antibiotics.

There is widespread use of colistin in the livestock industries in China. Because, in China, live stock markets are often close to food stalls, it is easier for any resistant bacteria to spread from animal to human. Colistin resistant superbugs have even been found in US pig farms.

Colistin itself is an old antibiotic that was developed 50 years ago. Doctors are being forced to use it again simply because we are running out of options. It is not ideal, one side effect is serious kidney damage.

A future without antibiotics would be bleak. Any procedures in hospitals would be very dangerous. Hospitals would become very risky places to stay or visit. Imagine a future where, any small cut or abrasion could be life threatening.

Presently there’s very little funding going into finding alternatives to antibiotics. It’s not seen as a great money maker by the drug companies. Chemotherapy drugs are far more lucrative. Put the research into them.

There is some hope of producing bacteria killing strains of viruses, but unless more money and research is forthcoming there is a long way to go before that can happen. At this stage, once again, it would appear our only alternative in a future without antibiotics is to have an effective bacteria fighting immune system that can only happen with a whole plant diet.

Some common herbs can help fight antibiotic resistant bugs, such as – Cantnip, Garlic, St. John’s wort, Licorice, Myrrh, Pelargonium, Rosemary, Tea Tree and Uva uris.

CAUTION – A WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED DIET WILL RAPIDLY IMPROVE ANY EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITION. THEREFORE IF YOU CHOOSE TO TRY THIS DIET AND ARE ON MEDICATION FOR YOUR CONDITION YOU SHOULD CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR AND HAVE HIM MONITOR YOUR IMPROVEMENT AND ADJUST YOUR MEDICATION