Antibiotics: Are They Helping or Hurting

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found a link between increased antibiotic use and clostridium difficile, a diarrhea causing bacteria. According to the researchers, antibiotics wipe out the good bacteria that fight against infections and, as a result, cause a rise in c. difficile infections.

Data collected from the 13.7 million hospitalized children concluded that nearly 46,000 children that suffered from c. difficile infections were more likely to have an extended hospital stay. In addition, these children had an increased chance of partial or full colon removal and a greater risk of death.

The researchers also reviewed data from 1.3 million hospitalized adults with the same c. difficile infection that resulted in a similar conclusion. Adults 65 years of age and older suffering from the infection also had an increased chance of death.

All antibiotics are not bad. It is important to note that antibiotics are an essential treatment for varying illnesses when deemed necessary. Probiotics, like EndoMune Advanced, help lessen the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

For more information about the study and its preliminary conclusions, read the full article here.

Give Your Good Bacteria A Fighting Chance

All bacteria are bad, right?

While this may be the most common assumption, it’s far from correct. Recent innovations in medical science have tested the impact of good bacteria against the disease causing powers of bad bacteria. The result? A wealth of evidence to support the claim that maintaining a lifetime of good health is all about balance – and that supports keeping a balanced number of bacteria strains in the body, as well as maintaining a balanced diet and night’s sleep.

Scientists theorize that much of the reason why modern man has developed rising percentages of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases connects to our rising use of antibiotics. Antibiotics eradicate bacteria, regardless of type. Any dose of antibiotics has been shown to lower the numbers of both good and bad bacteria, with each proceeding dosage causing all bacteria strain types to take longer and longer to rebound colony numbers. Eventually, the medication stamps out some strains altogether.

In an ideal world, only bad bacteria strains would be extinguished, but sometimes, beneficial strains get weeded out too.

While this by no means implies that antibiotics are bad – they are invaluable in combatting a number of different illnesses. It does, however, make the case for relying upon antibiotics only in cases where they prove ABSOLUTELY necessary. Additionally, it opens the door to alternative, more sustainable pro-health practices such as incorporating a non-dairy probiotic product like EndoMune into the daily dietary routine.

Probiotic-Assisted Antibiotic Diarrhea Prevention

Probiotics have a proven effect on children with antibiotic-induced diarrhea and acute infectious diarrhea. So it stands to reason that probiotics also help adults avoid these conditions. Recently, a study was released that inconclusively implied that probiotics had a positive effect on regulating and preventing adult antibiotic diarrhea. Results leaned toward the positive, but the presence of unexplained heterogeneity in the study’s results gives support for further analysis and examination.

For full details on the results of this probiotic study, please check out the full article, here.

What Came First – The Chicken or The Infection

8 million – that’s the number of women currently at risk for difficult-to-treat bladder infections brought on by superbugs, transmitted to humans through E.coli.

But what makes these intestinal superbugs so super?

According to a recent report by the ABC News Medical Blog, superbugs are resistant to antibiotics.  This can lead to a bladder infection that many bladder infection sufferers say just won’t go away.

The reason why?

“[Chickens] in many cases, are getting drugs from the time that they were in an egg all the way up to the time they are slaughtered….”

That means are gastrointestinal bacteria chickens transmit post-slaughter has already survived a lifetime of antibiotic treatment before it gets to a human host.

This could have implications for your own digestive health, particularly if you are a woman.  Read the full blog here and see what doctors are doing to identify the full extent of intestinal superbugs’ digestive effects.

Study Links Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis to Antibiotic Use

Many physicians are hesitant to prescribe antibiotics for many reasons. In fact, it’s not uncommon for physicians to use antibiotics as a last option for treatment. Those who are hesitant to prescribe antibiotics now have one more reason – Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis (Here is more information on “What Is Colitis?“).

A new study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology has found that people who are prescribed larger amounts of antibiotics have a higher risk for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Crohn’s Diease and Colitis are the most common forms of IBD and can cause inflammation in the intestines, which then can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss.

The article can be found at length at the American College of Gastroenterology website.

Gut Microbes: From Bugs to Drugs

Spring has finally arrived! With the new season, it’s time to start thinking about how you can add new healthy habits to your daily routine.

This last month I read a very interesting article(1) by Dr. Fergus Shanahan – the chairman of the Department of Medicine/Director of Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork in Ireland. His research interest is in the area of the intestinal immune system and the way in which intestinal bacteria interact with the intestinal immunity.

The title of the article is: “Gut Microbes: From Bugs to Drugs.”

Dr. Shanahan starts by pointing out how the scientific community had been misled for decades with their efforts to determine the cause of stomach ulcers. In the 1970s, discoveries revealed that peptic ulcer is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Helicobacter pylori(2). Instead of the standard practice of operating on the stomach to reduce the acid production or by giving medications to lessen acid output, peptic ulcers are now cured with antibiotics!

Recently, discoveries revealed that cervical cancer is caused by a virus, and now there is a vaccine to prevent this cancer(3) as well.

The point is that the solutions to a number of chronic human diseases will come as we gain a better understanding about how the bacteria and viruses in our environment interact with the cells in our body.

For example, new research on the cause of Crohn’s disease has discovered a genetic mutation in affected individuals(4). This mutation causes the intestinal immune cells to produce an excessive immune response to normal intestinal bacteria. This inappropriate reaction results in the development of inflammatory bowel disease.

Recent studies using probiotic bacteria, like those in EndoMune, have discovered how these bacteria can down regulate the immune response that occurs in Crohn’s disease.

Segments of intestines that have been surgically removed from patients with Crohn’s disease have been cultured with certain Probiotic bacteria. These bacteria release messenger proteins that inhibit the immune mediated inflammation in the lining to the intestinal segment(5).

The goal would be to develop a strain of bacteria or isolate the messenger protein that could then be used as a safe, essentially natural therapy for Crohn’s disease.

Dr. Shanahan suggests that studying how our diet, intestinal immune cells and intestinal bacteria interact can potentially lead to new drug therapies for intestinal disorders like irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease and even colon cancer.

The Implication for Future Cures

Dr. Shanahan believes that the future pharmalogic cures for intestinal disorders will come from studies on how to manipulate our intestinal bacteria with diet and probiotics. He uses the term, pharmabiotics, to refer to “any material with a potential health benefit that can be mined from the host-microbe-dietary interactions.”

An example of a pharmabiotic is ‘bacteriocin’ which is a protein produced by certain strains of bacteria that acts as an antibiotic. One strain of Streptococcus produces a bacterocin that suppresses the bacteria in the mouth that causes halitosis or bad breath.

Another bacteriocin that belongs to the family called ‘thuricin’ acts as a strong antibiotic against a bacteria called Clostridia difficle. This bacteria can cause life threatening colitis. The hope is that this chemical can be developed as a drug to use against Clostridia difficle as this dangerous bacteria is becoming resistant to the currently available antibiotics.

Research in the area of probiotics has produced a number of very interesting and potentially new therapeutic options for dealing with some chronic human illnesses.

As Dr. Shanahan titled his paper, the idea is to find “drugs from bugs.”

Reading this article provides new understanding how ongoing research is identifying the biologic benefits of probiotics. I am amazed how often someone tells me that EndoMune has made such a difference in his/her life!

Take Home Message

Probiotics can suppress harmful bacteria and down regulate intestinal inflammation. Consider EndoMune Advanced for adults or EndoMune Junior for children to help improve gastrointestinal function and ease intestinal symptoms.

Eat healthy, exercise and live well!
Dr. Lawrence Hoberman

(1) Gut microbes: from bugs to drugs.Shanahan F. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010 Feb;105(2):275-9. Epub 2010 Jan 12

(2) Helicobacter pylori’s unconventional role in health and disease. Dorer MS, Talarico S, Salama NR.PLoS Pathog. 2009 Oct;5(10):e1000544. Epub 2009 Oct 26

(3) HPV vaccination: the beginning of the end of cervical cancer? – A Review.Lepique AP et al. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. (2009)

(4) The genetic basis of inflammatory bowel disease.Cooney R, Jewell D.Dig Dis. 2009;27(4):428-42. Epub 2009 Nov 4.

(5) Lactobacillus casei downregulates commensals’ inflammatory signals in Crohn’s disease mucosa.Llopis M, Antolin M, Carol M, Borruel N, Casellas F, Martinez C, Espín-Basany E, Guarner F, Malagelada JR.Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2009 Feb;15(2):275-83.

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