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7 HUGE Reasons To Avoid Antibiotic Overuse. Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Image © ohhh_photo – fotolia.com (under license)
The “age of antibiotics” began with the discovery of penicillin by Fleming in 1929, which led to the mass production and widespread availability of the “do-it-all” drug that is often regarded as a cure-all for any infection… fed to animals routinely as part of their diet; and with doctors often prescribing them “just in case”. 
As a result, antibiotics are now regarded as “the world’s most overprescribed medicine” but it’s important to note that they are not without side effects and potentially very serious dangers – as you will see from the report below.
7 Huge Reasons To Avoid Antibiotic Overuse:
1. “Collateral Damage” To Good Bacteria
Antibiotics are used with the intention of targeting bad bacterial infections but in reality, broad-spectrum antibiotics don’t discriminate between bad and good bacteria. Good bacteria, especially in the intestinal tract, are essential in maintaining a healthy balance in the body and antibiotics can play havoc with the body’s natural balance of bacteria, potentially allowing bad bacteria to recolonize and “run the show” – leading to stomach upsets and potentially more serious conditions.
Scientific studies have found evidence that when you take antiobiotics, there are risks of other health problems.  Several studies have also linked the presence of select strains of bacteria to healthy body growth and development, mental health (astonishingly) and overall well-being.
It’s possible that intestinal trouble could go on for years after antibiotic use and many people complain of this – however there may be a solution: A practice worth considering would be the use of probiotics, especially after a course of antibiotics. Consult your doctor about probiotics, they are regarded as suitable for many people but there are some cases in which they are contraindicated; notably if there is some damage to the intestines i.e. ulcer, which could potentially permit the bacteria into parts of the body where they should not be.
2. Increased Risk Of Autoimmune Intestinal Disease
Disease can only take hold of the body if its immune system isn’t functioning properly. Antibiotics can upset the normal equilibrium of the body, affecting the body’s immune system. A damaged immune system can lead to an autoimmune disorder or the development of a chronic disease or infection.
Autoimmune diseases are conditions where the body’s immune system starts targeting itself other major organ systems of the body. Scientific understanding as to why this happens is incomplete, but alterations in the body’s equilibrium may have a big role to play in the disease process. A study published in 2006 discovered that changes made to the intestinal tissue (specifically increased permeability which can be caused by an imbalance of bacterial presence in the intestines) is a common factor among several autoimmune conditions like Chron’s and Celiac disease. 
Brochial asthma is a relatively common condition that is life-threatening if managed poorly. An asthma attack can even be fatal if a person comes into contact with a severe trigger. However, in a study published in 2009, antibiotic use, especially in infancy, has been associated with a higher incidence of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in school age children. The next time you give your child antibiotics, think clearly of what this means for their future health. 
4. Liver Damage
When people are prescribed very strong antibiotics, it is part of the diagnostic phase to include liver function tests to set a baseline. This is because antibiotics are dangerous to the liver. Antibiotics have been found to damage liver tissue and can cause liver function test values (AST and ALT) to rise. Azithromycin, an antibiotic widely available in most pharmacies, has been directly linked to liver injury – with abnormal liver function tests revealed as early as two-weeks after the start of antibiotic treatment. 
5. Increased Cancer Risk
A nationwide study in Finland compared data of long term antibiotic users with cancer patients, looking for a correlation. The study’s results suggest that chronic use of prescribed antibiotics increased the risk (by as much as 1.5 times) for prostate, breast, lung, colon, ovary, endocrine, skin, thyroid, and kidney cancers in both men and women. 
6. Weight Gain
You might think that the links between antibiotic use and weight gain are a stretch but you would be mistaken. We often think that the only cause of weight gain is poor diet and exercise but the medications you take may also have a hand in it. Studies published in 2014 and 2015 positively associated antibiotic use to abnormal weight gain in infants and children. 
7. Development Of Superbugs
Chronic use of antibiotics (especially if you don’t follow the prescription of a physician) can actually build up bacterial resistance to certain drugs. When a bacterium is continually exposed to a specific drug, it becomes resistant to it, which is why we have a rise in MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and MDR TB (Multi-drug resistance Tuberculosis) cases. Read our full report on the predicted rise in fatalities from untreatable infections (immune to all manufactured antibiotics).
While we cannot for legal reasons make any sort of medicinal recommendation, naturopaths / herbalists have a wide array of herbs to choose from that have natural antibiotic qualities that may provide support for various conditions. For example, garlic has been found in lab tests to be 100x as effective as antibiotics in cases of bacterial food poisoning.
Here’s a great book exploring this topic in full: Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-resistant Bacteria (Amazon link)
NOTE: This article is not medical advice nor a substitute for professional medical consultation. For legal reasons we do not advise self-diagnosis or self-medication.
 Aminov, R. (2010). A Brief History of the Antibiotic Era: Lessons Learned and Challenges for the Future. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3109405/
 Zhou, L. & Foster, J. (2015). Psychobiotics and the gut-brain axis: in the pursuit of happiness. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4370913/
 Schmidt, K., et. al. (2014). Prebiotic intake reduces the waking cortisol response and alters emotional bias in healthy volunteers. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-014-3810-0/fulltext.html
 Clarke, G., et. al. (2014). Priming for health: gut microbiota acquired in early life regulates physiology, brain and behaviour. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24798884
 Arrieta, M., Bistritz, L. & Meddings, J. (2006). Alterations in intestinal permeability. https://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1856434/
 Foliaki, S., et. al. (2009). Antibiotic use in infancy and symptoms of asthma, rhinoconjunctivitis, and eczema in children 6 and 7 years old: International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood Phase III. https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674909012536
 Martinez, M., et. al. (2015). Clinical and histologic features of azithromycin-induced liver injury. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25111234
 Kilkkinen, A., et. al. (2008). Antibiotic use predicts an increased risk of cancer. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.23622/full
 Saari, A., et. al. (2015). Antibiotic exposure in infancy and risk of being overweight in the first 24 months of life. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25825533
 Angelakis, E., et. al. (2014). Abnormal weight gain and gut microbiota modifications are side effects of long-term doxycycline and hydroxychloroquine treatment. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24687497
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