Posts tagged: antibiotic

Science – Superbugs To Kill More People Than Cancer If Industrial Agriculture Doesn’t Ditch Antibiotics And Pesticides

Science - Superbugs To Kill More People Than Cancer If Industrial Agriculture Doesn't Ditch Antibiotics And Pesticides
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Emerging evidence is further establishing what many of us have already known; that industrialized agriculture is wreaking havoc on the natural environment, including our species. The careless use of pesticides, herbicides, and antibiotics in industrial agriculture is helping “cultivate” drug-resistant superbugs. This presents a serious threat to the environment.

On request of the UK Prime Minister, Jim O’Neil conducted The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance [1] in an attempt to tackle the rising cases of drug-resistant infections. The report showed that mortality due to drug-resistant superbugs could hit 10 million by 2050 – surpassing cancer by 2 million.

The facts are clear as day: More and more fungi and bacteria are building resistance against common drugs. If this trend is not checked, we might be looking at a new global pandemic of our own creation!

In addition to the British review by O’Neil, a recent report [2] was submitted to the United Nations, drawing attention to new drug-resistant superbugs. Below are the main culprits to the escalating crisis, accelerated by industrial agriculture:

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance (the evolution of bacterial strains to become resistant to antibiotics) is often blamed on the over-prescription of these drugs in medical facilities, and overuse of antibiotics in livestock rearing. Regarding the latter, it’s approximated that industrial agriculture administers 80% of antibiotics [3] to promote the rearing of farm animals. If you’re wondering how this translates to superbugs in human, the resistant bacteria strains are transferrable either through exposure to manure or consumption of contaminated animal products. In fact, findings from a study [4] appearing in the JAMA journal, show that you’re 30% more likely to catch MRSA (a notorious superbug) if you live near pig farms. With the rampant use of antibiotics by industrial agriculture and the consequent increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, change is imperative!

Fungicides

Bacteria are not the only microorganism learning to dodge our medications – fungi are also claiming a share of the impending pandemic, case in point, the Candida auris fungus. If you keep tabs on trending medical news, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of a “mysterious infection” that killed an elderly man in 2018, sending the medical community in a frenzy of panic. As reported by The New York Times [5], C. auris is like a hyena, preying on the weak and vulnerable. It mainly targets people with autoimmune disorders or weak immune systems such as diabetics, newborns, and the elderly.

Regarding the case of the elderly man, the fungus was so invasive and resilient that it was tested on nearly every surface of his Mount Sinai Hospital room. Similar to antibiotics, scientists believe that improper use of fungicides may be contributing to the rise of drug-resistant fungi such as C. auris.

Agricultural Changes

The emerging trends call for strict measures and initiatives to regulate drug-dependent industrial farms with emphasis on animal welfare, holistic land management, and soil health. Moving to a more sustainable farming model of food sovereignty or agroecology would help curb the proliferation of drug-resistant superbugs, or even help remedy the climate crisis and extinction of species. In the meantime, you’d be better placed buying locally-sourced organic food from small producers.

References:

[1] Review on Antimicrobial Resistance. (2016). Tackling drug-resistant infections globally: final report and recommendations. Review on antimicrobial resistance.

[2] No Time to Wait: Securing the future from drug-resistant infections. (2019). Retrieved 18 October 2019, from https://www.who.int/antimicrobial-resistance/interagency-coordination-group/final-report/en/

[3] Guglielmi, G. (2017). Are antibiotics turning livestock into superbug factories?. Retrieved 18 October 2019, from https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/09/are-antibiotics-turning-livestock-superbug-factories

[4] Casey, J. A., Curriero, F. C., Cosgrove, S. E., Nachman, K. E., & Schwartz, B. S. (2013). High-density livestock operations, crop field application of manure, and risk of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection in Pennsylvania. JAMA internal medicine, 173(21), 1980-1990. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4372690/

[5] Richtel, M., & Jacobs, A. (2019). A Mysterious Infection, Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/06/health/drug-resistant-candida-auris.html

11 Of Nature’s Most Powerful Antibiotics

11 Nature's Most Powerful Antibiotics
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image sources – see foot of article.

The immune system is the first line of defense against illness-causing pathogens. Scientific evidence suggests that these natural foods could help boost your infection-fighting prowess.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has been the rage in the health industry for years – and for good reason. Research shows that it “has multiple antimicrobial potential with clinical therapeutic implications.” [1]

2. Garlic: Studies show that garlic is effective against Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella, and other forms of bacteria. [2]

3. Ginger: Ginger is widely known as a natural antibiotic – capable of combating different strains of bacteria. [3]

4. Horseradish Root: Bronchitis, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections – an online article notes that these are some of the illnesses that can be alleviated, thanks to the antibiotic properties of horseradish. [4]

5. Onion: Often an overlooked dietary staple, onions have bene found to assist the immune system by reducing inflammation and helping with upper respiratory tract infections. [5]

6. Habanero Peppers: Habanero peppers are as hot as they are potent against pathogenic bacteria. One study showed that habanero is effective against Yersinia enterocolitica and Salmonella enterica subsp. Typhimurium. [6]

7. Oregano Oil: When made into an essential oil, studies show that oregano is one of the most powerful antibiotics nature has to offer. [3] The oil is known to be effective against clinical strains such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli (E. coli). [7] A typical home remedy for tummy bugs that some use (this is not medical advice) is a single drop of oregano oil in a capsule, taken orally.

8. Turmeric: Although turmeric is an effective antimicrobial agent on its own, research has indicated that it might also be used to supplement conventional antibiotic therapy. [8][9]

9. Echinacea Herb: Echinacea is in common use to this day as a herbal remedy for colds and flu. Scientific research shows that extracts from Echinacea purpurea have antibacterial properties active against many types of bacteria. [10]

10. Raw Honey: Ever wondered why honey was historically used for dressing wounds? It turns out that topical application inhibits certain bacteria and helps with the healing process. [11][12]

11. Colloidal Silver: Werewolves aside, colloidal silver is widely regarded as a broad-spectrum antibiotic agent that is effective against bacteria and some types of fungi. [13] Silver is also commonly used as an antibacterial in wound dressings – and olden-days real silver cutlery is thought to have provided assistance against food-borne bacteria.

Please note that this content should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians. Always discuss your antibiotic options with your physician and only take antibiotics when necessary.

References:

[1] Yagnik D. et al. 2018. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5788933/.

[2] Bayan, L. et al. 2014. Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103721/.

[3] Liu, Q. et al. 2017. Antibacterial and Antifungal Activities of Spices https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486105/.

[4] Horseradish: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-257/horseradish.

[5] Antibiotics in Onions and Garlic https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1473646/.

[6] Antibacterial activity of habanero chili sauces against selected pathogenic bacteria http://www.spasb.ro/index.php/spasb/article/view/1958.

[7] Sienkiewicz M. et al. 2012. [The antibacterial activity of oregano essential oil (Origanum heracleoticum L.) against clinical strains of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23484421.

[8] Gul P. et al. 2015. Antimicrobial activity of turmeric extract and its potential use in food industry https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4375173/.

[9] Kali A. et al. 2016. Antibacterial synergy of curcumin with antibiotics against biofilm producing clinical bacterial isolates https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4910474/.

[10] Hudson, J. 2011. Applications of the Phytomedicine Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) in Infectious Diseases https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3205674/.

[11] Mandal, M. et al. 2011. Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609166/.

[12] Topical Application of Honey on Surgical Wounds: A Randomized Clinical Trial https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/441994.

[13] Morrill, K. et al. 2013. Spectrum of antimicrobial activity associated with ionic colloidal silver. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23017226.

Image For Pinterest:

11 Nature's Most Powerful Antibiotics
Graphic ©herbs-info.com. Image sources – see foot of article.

Infographic Photo Sources:
Garlic – https://pixabay.com/en/garlic-vegetables-spice-food-3478476/
Ginger – https://pixabay.com/en/ginger-spices-food-ingredient-389906/
Horseradish – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kren_Verkauf.jpg
Onion – https://pixabay.com/en/onion-chopped-onion-red-onion-899102/
Habanero Peppers – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Habanero_closeup_edit2.jpg
Oregano – https://pixabay.com/en/oregano-spice-herb-kitchen-spice-123265/
Turmeric – https://pixabay.com/en/turmeric-spice-curry-seasoning-3251560/
Echinacea – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EchinaceaPurpureaMaxima1a.UME.JPG
Honey – https://pixabay.com/en/honey-honeycomb-food-healthy-3434774/
Colloidal Silver – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:9oz_Bottle_Colloidal_Silver_.png

The Truth About Fevers

The Truth About Fevers
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image source – PD Pictures.

A fever is a body temperature that is considerably higher than what is considered normal. Most people are misinformed when it comes to fevers, treating it as a disease rather than an indication of a possibly manifesting illness or infection.

A fever is actually the body’s response to fighting an infection. Looking at it this way, a fever may actually be a good thing. It may indicate a functional immune system.

Raised temperatures in the body is a self-defense mechanism where it creates an environment where bacteria and viruses find it much harder to survive. For this reason, giving a child anti-fever drugs may be counterproductive. Some studies have shown that some effects of fever, especially for viral infection, may not respond to such medicine.

Other studies show that reducing a fever with pills may actually work against the patient. If the intolerable environment created by the body to counter bacterial and viral infections is countered, the severity and duration of the illness being fought off may actually increase. The best way to ‘deal’ with fevers is now thought to be to stay hydrated, eat light and healthy and get a lot of rest.

However, internal defenses are not the only cause of fevers. Medicines, such as antibiotics, blood pressure medicine and anti-seizure medicines, have been known to cause fevers. [1] Treatment for fever will, therefore, also be determined by the cause. If temperature levels exceed acceptable levels, a qualified physician may prescribe over the counter medicine such as ibuprofen and aspirin.

Please note that this content should never be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

References:

[1] Fever (2019) https://medlineplus.gov/fever.html.