Antibiotics are an often life-saving tool against bacterial infections and constitute one of mankind’s most remarkable, albeit serendipitous, inventions. Following their discovery, life-threatening bacterial infections that were at one time a death sentence could be easily cured by swallowing these mold-derived medicines. Truly, they could have been thought of as a silver bullet, a medicine with seemingly super natural power that had only been dreamed of to that point. We take those things for granted in today’s world, because most of us have only lived in a world with easy access to these drugs. So why should Antibiotics be a last line of defense?
Antibiotics do have a darker side. Their overuse and abuse has given rise to bacteria that are resistant to their effects, rendering the drugs once considered a silver bullet to be less effective.
Antibiotics too are not without their side effects. Many are listed on the labels of the drugs, but among perhaps the most virulent side effects of these drugs are not often disclosed on their label. Antibiotics are indiscriminate bacterial killers; this is specifically what they are designed to do. This means that by definition, these drugs can decimate the beneficial bacteria inherent in our bodies. As antibiotics kill bad bacteria that can make us sick, so do they kill good bacteria that keep us healthy.
We are all born with these good bacteria in our digestive system, and they perform a number of vital roles, including nutrient productions, assisting in digestion, immune support and other roles. Among those other roles is keeping more virulent organisms in check. When beneficial bacterial colonies are healthy, there is more competition for resources, and organisms like yeasts, fungi and pathogenic bacteria have a harder time proliferating in our guts and thus a harder time causing health problems within the body.
Antibiotics, however, can decimate these good bacterial populations, allowing more virulent organisms to flourish. Once they do, the potential for health problems exist.
A Last Line of Defense
Most times, if people go to the doctor when they are sick, they expect to come home with a drug, which often means an antibiotic. Perhaps it is time to alter those expectations. It is important to remember that antibiotics are not effective against viral infections. Furthermore, it is important to remember that your body possesses an amazing immune system that is often quite adept at resolving acute health issues like infections on its own. It is easy to supplement your natural immune system with days of rest, plenty of water and some safe, natural anti-microbial supplements and foods like garlic, ginger, vitamin C, grapefruit seed extract, oregano oil and others. Beta glucan arm your immune system and can promote healing. If these things fail to resolve your issue, then perhaps it is time to reach for the antibiotics.
It is always important to listen to your doctor’s advice, but if you see them reflexively writing you a prescription, ask if it would be beneficial to try letting your immune system fight the infection first and to try the antibiotics as a last line of defense. He or she may be relieved that one of their patients is willing to let their body do it’s job. Or they might encourage you to take the drugs, in which case you should. Regardless, antibiotic usage does not––and perhaps should not––be a reflexive measure when you have an infection.