I remain firm on my mantra that destruction of healthy bacterial flora is the worst thing we can do for an infant’s health. But probiotics can fix the damage from antibiotics, right?
I used to think so as well.
Of course, mainstream medicine (pediatricians, in particular) worry about antibiotic resistance from the overuse of antibiotics. Kind of cute. But really such a small part of the destruction that antibiotics rain down on humanity. As mentioned, the destruction of normal flora wreaks havoc on the developing immune system and sets the stage for autoimmune disorders, immune imbalance and allergic problems. In general, however, this side effect can be combatted easily by following up antibiotic treatment with probiotics to restore the destroyed bacterial flora.
Then there are the indirect effects of antibiotic use that destroy the competition for other invasive species to grow, such as thrush, Clostridium difficile, staph, strep and E. coli. Probiotics can help here as well.
All of this should be enough to convince physicians that antibiotic use should be limited to only the most deserving situations. Kidney infections, MRSA…things like that. Giving antibiotics “in case” there might be a bacterial infection is just no longer good medicine. Quite the opposite.
Just in case this was NOT enough to convince you that wanton antibiotic use is a bad thing, I give you this particular study.
Researchers looked at what three typical antibiotics, ciprofloxacin, ampicillin and kanamycin, did to the cells of the human body. The results were not good.
Regular readers of the Rantings know that my absolute favorite organelle in the human cell is the mitochondria. The powerhouse of the cell. Proper function of the mitochondria is critical to a healthy cell. Harm your mitochondria and you increase your risk of pretty much every chronic disease.
You can see where this is going.
The antibiotics studied in this report, when used for at least four days, led to deteriorating mitochondrion. Nothing good can come of this. Add this to the list of the side effects of antibiotic use. However, this one is not easily fixed with a short course of probiotics. The deterioration of mitochondrial function is far more tricky and usually requires a combination of supplements and lifestyle changes. Quite the price to be paid to battle an ear infection that would’ve resolved on its own.
This may account for the tendon ruptures seen with antibiotics like Cipro and other weird side effects that have been seen over the years.
The authors do mention the use of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to be used in conjunction with these antibiotics to help mitigate the damage to the mitochondria. Keep this in mind if you do have to take antibiotics.