What should you stock to protect yourself? Recently we reported that, while many across the country were concerned about measles, which occurs in a largely vaccinated population and has caused no deaths, a larger threat wasn’t receiving proper attention: drug-resistant tuberculosis—and antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” in general. These infect at least two million Americans each year and kill 23,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As we’ve reported previously, superbugs are created through antibiotic overuse—both by doctors who rely too heavily on antibiotics and by industrial farming operations. Consider these statistics: a Medscape poll found that 95% of healthcare professionals said they prescribe antibiotics when they aren’t even sure they’re needed. A whopping 70% of all antibiotics used in the US are used on livestock. Fortunately, there are alternatives to using pharmaceutical antibiotics, and essential oils head the list.
Honey has been used for centuries to counteract infections, but until recently few realized just how antibiotic honey was. There is overwhelming evidence from research showing that honey beats some pharmaceutical antibiotics when it comes to a variety of superbugs.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has known for more than 12 years that routine use of antibiotics in livestock is harmful to human health, yet it has taken no meaningful action. Routine use of antibiotics in food animals has promoted a rapid rise in antibiotic-resistant disease, which now claims more lives than emphysema, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, and homicide combined. Two million American adults and children become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year, and at least 23,000 of them die as a direct result of those infections. Virtually all animal feed additives containing penicillin and tetracycline antibiotics—both of which are used to treat human disease—pose a “high risk” to human health, according to a new report. Many bacteria are developing cross resistance; a situation where a bacteria becomes resistant to multiple drugs, making them virtually impossible to eradicate once they infect you.
A new study published in the Journal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology found that Virgin Coconut Oil can protect the liver from toxic antibiotic drugs. It would be nice to think that this study would encourage virgin coconut oil consumption, especially among those taking toxic drugs, but I doubt that will happen. Rather, look for new drugs in the future trying to mimic what coconut oil does in nature with expensive new patented drugs in the future. In the meantime, simply stay away from toxic drugs for the sake of your liver, and use virgin coconut oil in its natural form for all its health benefits!
The antibiotic pipeline is running dry as an increasing number of superbugs are outsmarting our antibiotics; we are on the tip of the end of the antibiotic age, which will change modern medicine as we know it. The CDC estimates that at least 23,000 Americans die each year as a direct result of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, with many more dying from complications; we presently have no tracking system for these infections. Of particular concern are bacteria possessing the NDM-1 gene which allows them to transfer their antibiotic immunity to your normal bacteria, thereby transforming ordinary bacteria into superbugs. Drug companies are no longer interested in developing antibiotics because they are not as profitable as other, more expensive drugs that can be given to people indefinitely, rather than for just two weeks. The most significant driver of this problem is the massive overuse of antibiotics by the agricultural industry, which administers 24.6 million pounds of antibiotics to livestock every year for non-medical purposes.
US FDA recently issued a warning that fluoroquinolone antibiotics, taken by mouth or injection, carry a risk for permanent peripheral neuropathy; Cipro (ciprofloxacin) and Levaquin (levofloxacin) are examples. This is not the first warning issued for this class of antibiotics; in 2008 the FDA issued a black box warning about severe tendon damage and actual tendon ruptures. Two other recent studies found that fluoroquinolones increase your risk for acute liver toxicity (if you’re over age 66), and destabilize your blood sugar if you’re diabetic. Fluoroquinolones have also been associated with memory loss, psychosis, headaches, depression, anxiety, kidney failure, cardiovascular symptoms, nausea and vomiting, blindness and other health problems. Fluoroquinolones are antibiotics with an attached fluoride molecule, which gives them the ability to penetrate into sensitive tissues like your brain and central nervous system, where they can exert neurotoxic effects.
Americans may never taste an organic apple or pear that hasn’t been sprayed with antibiotics unless the NOSB sticks to its plan to forbid streptomycin on all organic fruits after October 2014. Organic food should not contain synthetic substances, and most of it doesn’t—with the exception of apples and pears. Organic apple and pear trees are sprayed with streptomycin and oxytetracycline to prevent “fire blight,” so named because the tree appears to be burned. In 2011, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB, the decision-making body behind the federal organic standards), voted to prohibit antibiotics after October 2014. But growers have now petitioned NOSB for more time, so NOSB may delay the sunset date until 2016, unnecessarily exposing both orchards and consumers to streptomycin for at least two additional years.
In the US, animals raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are also continuously given low-dose antibiotics in their feed because it makes the animals get bigger faster. In other parts of the world, such as the European Union, the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed has been banned for years. Routine antibiotic use in animal food production is likely worsening the epidemic of antibiotic-resistant disease. A recent study showed industrial pig workers were found to be carrying pig MRSA, a type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria -- and that farmers at pig farms that use antibiotics are more likely to contract MRSA from the pigs than workers at antibiotic-free farms.
Those unlucky enough to come down with a foodborne illness are usually prescribed antibiotics, which may wreak further havoc on their digestive and immune system, especially if not offset with probiotics. An alternative is raw garlic. According to research published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, a compound in garlic, diallyl sulfide, fights foodborne illnesses 100 times better than antibiotics.
Antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals are among the most abused and overused pharmaceutical agents that contribute to human disease. And now, scientists are running out of options. Many drug resistant micro-organisms are no longer responding to the older drugs, and there are less and less new ones being developed. The only solution is to stop the rampant use of these largely unnecessary drugs.