Are antibiotics necessary?
The answer of course is YES. Nobody today wants to do without these drugs that not only relieve symptoms fast but also save lives. But the answer is not just a simple yes.
By now it has been established that as a result of using antibiotics frequently, more and more bacteria and germs are becoming resistant to these antibiotics. Laboratories are developing new types of antibiotics, but do we know if they will be the same potent bacteria killers for future infections?
In addition to the problem of becoming disease resistant, the use of antibiotics also poses a number of other questions: Are antibiotics harmful, if yes, why? Are there alternatives? What is the general approach of Natural, Holistic Medicine to infections?
Let me at first give you some short historical information:
In 1928 Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin produced by a fungus. It was an accidental discovery and was the beginning of a new era in medicine. With the use of antibiotics it was possible to treat infections easily and very effectively, but unfortunately many other home remedies and methods of healing became “old fashioned” or were forgotten. Indeed, compared to the treatments used by natural medicine, it is so much easier, just to take a few pills that give faster relief, and it allows people back to work more quickly. Natural remedies are not as fast acting and often require longer absences from work. Because of this, it is totally understandable that getting well with antibiotics became the cure of choice.
But, during the last 20 years more and more critical voices were heard, warning about the uncontrolled use of antibiotics and possible harmful side effects. Especially because of the increase of allergies and autoimmune diseases, researchers have been led to suspect a connection between these illnesses and the frequent use of antibiotics.
What do we know today about the dangers of antibiotics?
Let’s take a look at 2 major critical areas:
1. The effect of antibiotics on the intestines
Every time somebody takes antibiotics it will affect the delicate balance of the beneficial friendly bacteria in the intestines by killing a lot of the friendly bacteria. Candida is a fungus, which in small amount, is a normal part of the intestinal microbes but can grow into abnormally large colonies. These then dominate and create a condition called dysbiosis. This means, that as other intestinal bacteria die, yeast thrives, especially when their dietary needs are met (sugar and carbohydrates).
Yeast can use its tendrils to literally poke holes through the lining of the intestinal wall. This can lead to a syndrome called leaky gut syndrome. (Steroidal and non-steroidal drugs, hormone therapy and long lasting stress situations can have similar effects). Overgrowth of yeast also leads to craving more sweets, because yeast likes this type of food and wants to have more.
It is important to know, that more than 60 % of our immune cells are located around the intestinal area. By altering the normal balance of the intestines, antibiotics make food allergies and intolerances more likely. And this again has some correlation to other illnesses, such as allergies, immune deficiencies, fibromyalgia, weight problems etc.
According to an article published in 2001 in a report on Allergy and Asthma the first auto immune disease was identified in 1952. Today more than 95 immune syndromes have been identified with new conditions being added constantly. The report also indicates that increased use of antibiotics in children may be associated with the increased risk of developing allergies.
A study published in 2006 by the University of British Columbia involving 12,082 children shows that children who received antibiotics during their first year of life had double the risk of developing asthma. We know all too well the effects that allergies and asthma present for millions of families today.
2. The effect of antibiotics on our defense mechanism
Let’s take a short excursion into the basic laws of health and illness seen from a holistic point of view.
Modern concepts of medicine demonstrate a fundamental principle that applies to the human organism as well as to other systems.
“Any highly organized system reacts to stress always by producing the best possible response of which it is capable in the moment. In the human being this means that the defense mechanism makes the best possible (less harmful) response to the pathogen stimulus (Vithoulkas, The Science of Homeopathy).
That means, disturbances of the body are causing the defense mechanism to react, which results in symptoms. For example pain, runny nose, fever, diarrhea etc. are the reactions of the defense mechanism in its effort to bring back health. These are also warning signals that indicate there is something out of balance and the body is taking actions to correct the problem and again reach homeostasis or system balance. When we interfere with that response by not allowing these actions to happen (suppressive medicine), then we actually hinder the defense mechanism in its natural work.
Unfortunately, most of our allopathic drugs are based on that principle. Because of wanting fast relief, we quickly take medication to get rid of symptoms before allowing real healing to take place. For example: we take anti-inflammatory, anti -cholesterol, anti-fever, anti-diarrhea, anti-acids, and anti-depressant etc. Unfortunately, also antibiotics very often have suppressive characteristics and the more given, the weaker and more susceptible to infections and illnesses a person becomes.
Relief of symptoms is not always a sign of improvement in health. The level of illness often just moves into other organs and after a while manifests itself as a new problem, which the person does not connect with the previous problem.
Therefore, the most logical therapeutic approach would be one that enhances and strengthens the effectiveness of the organism’s own healing process so that antibiotics only have to be used in cases when they are really needed.