‘Tis the season of colds, flu and, from holiday eating, maybe a bit of nausea.
There are times when we may need an anti-biotic prescribed by our doctor for an infection that we can’t seem to get rid of. An antibiotic has been chosen so that it will kill the desired bacteria, but not the cells in your body.
Each different type of antibiotic affects different bacteria in different ways. Antibiotics fight bacteria-related illnesses, not viruses, so it’s good to remember that an antibiotic will not work on a cold, since colds are caused by viruses.
There are now hundreds of different types of antibiotics but most of them can be broadly classified into six groups:
- Penicillin – is widely used to treat certain infections such as skin infections, chest infections and urinary tract infections. Some widely used types of penicillin include: amoxicillin and flucloxacillin
- Cephalosporins -are broad-spectrum antibiotics, which means they are effective in treating a wide range of different types of infections including more serious infections, such as: septicaemia (infection of the blood), pneumonia, meningitis (infection of the outer protective layer of the brain and spinal cord). Examples of cephalosporins include: cefalexin and cefixime
- Aminoglycosides – are a type of antibiotic that used to be widely prescribed until it was found that they could cause both damage to hearing and the kidneys. Because of this, they tend now to be used only to treat very serious illnesses such as meningitis. They break down quickly inside the digestive system so they have to be given by injection or as ear or eye drops. The most widely used aminoglycoside is called Gentamicin.
- Tetracyclines – are another type of broad-spectrum antibiotic that can be used to treat a wide range of infections. They are commonly used to treat severe acne and a condition called rosacea, which causes flushing of the skin and spots.
- Macrolides – are a type of antibiotic that can be particularly useful in treating lung and chest infections. They can also be a useful alternative for people with a penicillin allergy or to treat penicillin-resistant strains of bacteria. Examples of macrolides include: erythromycin and spiramycin
- Fluoroquinolones – are the newest type of antibiotic. They are broad-spectrum antibiotics that can be used to treat a wide range of infections. Examples of fluoroquinolones are: ciprofloxacin, Levofloxacin, and norfloxacin.
FDA-mandated Warnings in the Labeling of Quinones
In Autumn 2004, the FDA mandated new warnings in the labeling of quinolones for nerve injuries associated with this antibiotic. A summary of the warning reads:
“Peripheral Neuropathy: ……… (The drug) should be discontinued if the patient experiences symptoms of neuropyathy including pain, burning, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness or other alterations of sensation including light touch, pain, temperature, position sense, and vibratory sensation in order to prevent the develoment of an irreversible condition.”
Dr. Jay Cohen documented the following fluoroquinolone-related reactions and yet, it took more than a decade for the FDA to act!
- Nervous system symptoms occurred in 91% of patients (pain, tingling, numbness, dizziness, malaise, weakness, headaches, anxiety and panic, loss of memory and psychosis).
- Musculoskeletal symptoms occurred in 73% of patients (tendon ruptures, tendonitis, weakness, joint swelling).
- Sensory symptoms occurred in 42% of patients (tinnitus, altered visual, olfactory and auditory function).
- Cardiovascular symptoms occurred in 36% of patients (tachycardia, shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations).
- Skin reaction occurred in 29% of patients (rashes, hair loss, sweating, intolerance to heat or cold).
- Gastrointestinal symptoms occurred in 18% of patients (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain).
Probiotics, the “good guys”, the warriors in our gut!
Did you know you have a garden within you? Your gut is home to over 400 species of micro-flora, The flora has a collective metabolic activity equal to a virtual organ within an organ. How they affect the mucosal homeostasis and immune responses are continuing to be discovered.
It is absolutely imperative that we take care of our gut flora, as an abnormal or damaged gut flora is the main cause of all disease today. By taking care of our gut flora we may prevent or even reverse diseases like heart disease, auto immune diseases, allergies or even cancer to name a few.
If you happen to be using an antibiotic,you may want to supplement. You will want to select a probiotic that replenishes your digestive tract with a broad range of beneficial bacteria. Two key probiotic families are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Find a probiotic that contains species from both of these families. I can assist you with that.
- Acidophilus is used to restore good bacteria in the body especially in the upper GI tract and vagina. The benefits of Probiotic Acidophilus are that it aids in preventing harmful organisms from building up in the body. It also improves digestion and lowers GI tract bacterial infections. It can also prevent the severity of diarrhea, vaginal infection and lowers cholesterol levels. Acidophilus has been promoted for the prevention and treatment of cancer, particularly colon cancer, but the American Cancer Society cautions that no human studies show that acidophilus is helpful in cancer treatment or prevention.
- Bifidus – In a study published in the February 2011 issue of the “Nutrition Journal,” constipated children given bifidus showed less constipation and diminished abdominal discomfort, and studies in adults showed similar results. In another 2011 study conducted in China, bifidus improved gastrointestinal symptoms in premature babies. Bifidus may also be helpful for general indigestion in adults, It is found mostly in the large intestine.
Probiotics have an excellent safety record, which many studies have confirmed. They reduce the symptoms of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and prevent the bad bacteria from adhering to the intestinal walls.
***Since more than 70% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, it makes sense to supplement with probiotics, for that extra insurance.
Benefits of Probiotics
- Preventing diarrhea from using antibiotics
- Support a healthy immune system
- Promote bowel regularity
- Enhance absorption of nutrients
- Manufacture Vitamin K, B12, folic acid and biotin
- Decrease symptoms of lactose intolerance
- May assist with weight management
- Support healthy skin
***Probiotic therapy may also help people with Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Clinical trial results are mixed, but several small studies suggest that certain probiotics may help maintain remission of ulcerative colitis and prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease and the recurrence of pouchitis (a complication of surgery to treat ulcerative colitis). Because these disorders are so frustrating to treat, many people are giving probiotics a try before all the evidence is in for the particular strains they’re using. More research is needed to find out which strains work best for what conditions.
Trying to recreate “primitive” settings with organic and raw produce, fermentation, quality drinking water etc. will be the best bet in ensuring healthy gut flora, but we don’t live in an unhostile, probiotic-friendly world. It may be in our best interest to look for a high-quality probiotic to compensate for our not-so-perfect environment.
How to Choose a High-Quality Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics are the one thing we should all start supplementing with. Why? It is estimated that we now consume approximately 1/millionth the amount of probiotic bacteria that our hunter-gatherer ancestors used to! Probiotic supplements should be taken according to label directions, and always let your doctor know what supplements you are using. Here are some guidelines when choosing a probiotic supplement:
- A well-know and trusted brand – Choose a probiotic supplement from a trustworthy manufacturer which provides research and thorough information about the product.
- Billions of live bacteria at the time of expiration – Look for a supplement that displays potency at time of expiration. A lot of the ingested microorganisms won’t survive through the gastrointestinal tract, and more bacteria usually means better survival rates.
****Higher dose probiotic preparations typically have 50 billion to 1 trillion living probiotic organisms per serving or per dose. The side effects of such high-dose preparations of probiotics such as bloating and abdominal cramping, are mild but should be considered before beginning probiotic therapy.
- Several different bacterial strains – Different strains of bacteria have different survival rates and health benefits. Choosing a supplement with strains from different groups of probiotic bacteria will be the best bet in ensuring optimal results.
- Well-researched strains – The health benefits of certain microorganisms have been well documented through research and clinical trials. Each manufacturer should be able to provide proof that their probiotic supplement contain well-researched and health promoting strains of bacteria.
- Acid and bile resistant – The stomach acid and bile will kill a lot of microorganisms. Selecting a probiotic supplement with acid and bile resistant strains will ensure optimal survival.
- Seek a formula that contains prebiotic fiber – These specialized forms of insoluble fiber encourage the growth of friendly bacteria in the large intestine. According a 1995 review published in the “Journal of Nutrition,” ingested probiotics tend to act primarily within the small intestines. Prebiotics can maximize a product’s benefits throughout the body by encouraging probiotic growth lower in the digestive tract. Popular prebiotics include fructooligarosaccharides (FOS) and dextrin, inulin and blue-green algae.
- Check the colony forming units – CFU’s are the bacteria or yeast that is capable of living and reproducing to form a group of the same bacteria or yeasts. Microbiologists use CFU to describe the number of active, live organisms instead of the number of all the bacteria – dead, inactive and alive – in a laboratory sample.
Some probiotic supplements have enteric coating or other delivery systems that are supposed to ensure survival. Using these types of delivery systems raises some concerns:
– Their effectiveness varies and few manufacturers provide proof that their coating ensures survival
– If these microorganisms aren’t supposed to survive through the GI tract, is it wise to artificially ensure their survival?
– Some enteric coatings use synthetic ingredients
– Beneficial microorganisms from natural sources don’t have any enteric coating.
Supplementing at a lower dose
Manufacturers generally measure probiotic potency in billions of units (bacteria) per dose. Some consumers use small daily doses of half a billion units or less, but some high-dose formulas offer as many as 200 billion units per serving. A health care practitioner may recommend lower or higher doses for certain individuals, depending on the person’s medical history.
Infections from probiotic use are extraordinarily rare. A 2003 article published in “Clinical Microbiology Reviews” explains that immunocompromised individuals with intestinal bleeding are most at risk for developing an infection from ingesting probiotics and should be cautious when using probiotics.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine explains that some probiotics may overstimulate the immune system. It is important that individuals with autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis exercise caution while using high-dose probiotics, as immune system stimulation may increase arthritic symptoms.
I would love to hear from you!
You may be interested in using a Probiotic formula and I can assist you with products that adhere to the guidelines listed above. Adding whole-foods, such as wild blue green algae, to the probiotic formula provide the live cells with optimal nourishment.
To read more about my journey living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia – click here.
Image courtesy of: saludplena.com
Sources for this article include http://www.nutraingredients.com