Unnecessary Antibiotics

It’s very close to being a post-antibiotic era where the bacterial infections that were once easily cured by the drugs are becoming resistant and life threatening. The doctors are prescribing far too many antibiotics. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 262 million people received prescriptions for antibiotics from 2010 to 2011, of which 30% were unnecessary. Data was assessed from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NHAMCS) and published in JAMA.

Experts determined if the antibiotic prescriptions were appropriate based on national guidelines. An estimated 506 antibiotic prescriptions per 1,000 population annually were estimated, but only 353 of those were appropriately prescribed.

A goal was set by the White House National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria to reduce at least half of inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions by 2020. A JAMA report found that a 15% reduction in antibiotic use is needed.

At least 2 million people in the U.S. are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year. At least 23,000 will die as a result and the problem is slated to get worse. A report estimated that by 2050, this resistance will have killed 300 million people and the annual global death toll will reach 10 million, and at a cost for treatment of $100 trillion. That’s a pretty high price for killing ourselves, isn’t it?

About 50% of pathogens that cause surgical site infections, and 25% of those that cause infections following chemotherapy, are already resistant to common antibiotics. Antibiotics disrupt your gut bacteria by creating an oxygen-rich environment. In studies of sewage sludge from municipal wastewater treatment plants, which allow researchers to get an idea of chemical exposure on a citywide basis, antibiotics are often apparent. Antibiotics also carry risks, including sudden cardiac death.

One of the worst offenders is industrial agriculture. About 80% of the antibiotics used in he U.S. are by industrial agriculture for purposes of growth promotion and preventing diseases that would otherwise make their concentrated animal feeding operations unviable. It has been recommended by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) that there should be a significant reduction in the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in agriculture. The plan calls for the elimination of the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion in food-producing animals by 2020. Is this really fast enough and are they going far enough?

Avoid becoming another victim to antibiotic-resistant disease by purchasing only antibiotic-free meats and other foods using these antibiotics only when it is absolutely necessary. Optimize your diet and avoid foods that tax your immune system such as synthetic trans fats, fried foods, processed foods, sugar and grains. Reduce carbs and protein, replacing them with high-quality fats. About 50% of your total intake should be healthy fats. Choose your diet of fresh whole foods with organic vegetables and grass-pastured meat and dairy. A big part of your immune system resides in your GI tract, so this depends on a healthy, balanced gut flora.

Fermented foods offer great benefit. Exercise regularly, get plenty of restorative sleep, have good stress-busting outlets and optimize your vitamin levels. Other natural agents should be used such as vitamin C, garlic, olive leaf extract, Manuka honey, and tea tree oil. Take control of the foods you consume and help keep your body fit in order to stay anti-biotic free!

-Dr Fredda Branyon

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