As per a recent report(1) from World Health Organisation, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to humanity and global health today. It can affect anyone, of any age, in any country. Increasing misuse of antibiotics is the primary cause of acceleration of antibiotic resistance.
The report further states that a bacteria caused infections such as gonorrhea, tuberculosis, pneumonia and many more are becoming tougher to treat. This is due to increased resistance to antibiotic. Needless to say this is resulting into longer recovery time, increase cost and several other health problems.
What is Antibiotic
In simple terms Antibiotics are medicines used to prevent and treat bacterial infections.
Wikipedia defines antibiotics (or antibacterial) as something that kills bacteria or slows the growth of bacteria. Antibiotics are used as medicines to cure diseases caused by bacteria, therefore they are of no use against viruses such as the common cold or influenza.
Definition of Antibiotic
As per American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language antibiotic is a substance, such as penicillin or erythromycin, produced by or derived from certain microorganisms, including fungi and bacteria, that can destroy or inhibit the growth of other microorganisms, especially bacteria. Antibiotics are widely used in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
List of Antibiotic
During the last 5-6 decades the world saw tremendous amount of research on antibiotics, leading to plethora of drugs. Here is a list of the most popular Antibiotic drugs today:
- actinomycin – any of various red antibiotics isolated from soil bacteria
- amphotericin – an antibiotic and antifungal agent
- antibacterial, antibacterial drug, bactericide – any drug that destroys bacteria or inhibits their growth
- antimycin – a crystalline antibiotic active against various fungi
- antineoplastic antibiotic – an antibiotic drug used as an antineoplastic in chemotherapy
- Azactam, aztreonam – an antibiotic (trade name Azactam) used against severe infections; has minimal side effects
- bacitracin – a polypeptide antibiotic of known chemical structure effective against several types of Gram-positive organisms; usually applied locally
- carbomycin – a colorless basic antibiotic that inhibits the growth of Gram-positive organisms
- cephaloglycin, Kafocin – antibiotic related to cephalosporin but no longer in common use
- cephaloridine – a broad spectrum semisynthetic antibiotic produced by modifying cephalosporin
- cephalosporin, Mefoxin – one of several broad spectrum antibiotic substances obtained from fungi and related to penicillin (trade names Mefoxin); addition of side chains has produced semisynthetic antibiotics with greater antibacterial activity
- chloramphenicol, Chloromycetin – an oral antibiotic (trade name Chloromycetin) used to treat serious infections (especially typhoid fever)
- Aureomycin, chlortetracycline – a yellow crystalline antibiotic (trade name Aureomycin) used to treat certain bacterial and rickettsial diseases
- Cipro, ciprofloxacin – an oral antibiotic (trade name Cipro) used against serious bacterial infections of the skin or respiratory tract or urinary tract or bones or joints
- cycloserine – an antibiotic that is especially active against the tubercle bacillus
- dihydrostreptomycin – antibiotic consisting of a hydrogenated form of streptomycin; used against tuberculosis and tularemia and Gram-negative organisms
- doxorubicin – an antibiotic used as an anticancer drug
- doxycycline, Vibramycin – an antibiotic derived from tetracycline that is effective against many infections; “Vibramycin is the trade name of doxycycline”
- E-Mycin, Erythrocin, erythromycin, Ethril, Ilosone, Pediamycin – an antibiotic (trade name Erythrocin or E-Mycin or Ethril or Ilosone or Pediamycin) obtained from the actinomycete Streptomyces erythreus; effective against many Gram-positive bacteria and some Gram-negative
- Garamycin, gentamicin – an antibiotic (trade name Garamycin) that is derived from an actinomycete; used in treating infections of the urinary tract
- gramicidin – an antibiotic produced by a soil bacterium; used chiefly as an antiseptic in treating local infections produced by Gram-positive bacteria
- kanamycin, Kantrex – antibiotic (trade name Kantrex) used to treat severe infections
- Lincocin, lincomycin – antibiotic (trade name Lincocin) obtained from a streptomyces bacterium and used in the treatment of certain penicillin-resistant infections
- mitomycin, Mutamycin – a complex of antibiotic substances obtained from a streptomyces bacterium; one form (trade name Mutamycin) shows promise as an anticancer drug
- mycomycin – a highly unsaturated antibiotic acid obtained from an actinomycete
- fradicin, Neobiotic, neomycin – an antibiotic obtained from an actinomycete and used (as a sulphate under the trade name Neobiotic) as an intestinal antiseptic in surgery
- novobiocin – an antibiotic obtained from an actinomycete and used to treat infections by Gram-positive bacteria
- Mycostatin, Nystan, nystatin – an antifungal and antibiotic (trade names Mycostatin and Nystan) discovered in New York State; derived from soil fungi actinomycetes
- hydroxytetracycline, oxytetracycline, oxytetracycline hydrochloride, Terramycin – a yellow crystalline antibiotic (trademark Terramycin) obtained from a soil actinomycete; used to treat various bacterial and rickettsial infections
- penicillin – any of various antibiotics obtained from Penicillium molds (or produced synthetically) and used in the treatment of various infections and diseases
- polymyxin – any of several toxic antibiotics obtained from a particular soil bacterium
- Primaxin – trade name for a parenteral antibiotic
- pyocyanase – a yellow-green mixture of antibiotics obtained from the bacillus of green pus
- pyocyanin – a toxic blue crystalline antibiotic found in green pus
- spectinomycin – an antibiotic used to treat gonorrhea
- streptomycin – an antibiotic produced by the actinomycete Streptomyces griseus and used to treat tuberculosis
- streptothricin – a basic antibiotic derived from a soil actinomycete
- subtilin – a polypeptide antibiotic (similar to bacitracin) obtained from a soil bacterium
- Nebcin, tobramycin – an antibiotic (trade name Nebcin) that is especially effective against Gram-negative bacteria
From the above list, which you must have completely ignored, I only wanted to prove a point that there are a lot of drugs in the marketplace, however most of us do not pay sufficient attention to it. Most of us routinely consume them on our own or on the basis of healthcare practitioners advice.
Side effects of antibiotics
For effective and timely treatment of bacteria born diseases, antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the world. However, several side effects or adverse effects of antibiotics have been observed. These side effects are nothing but undesirable reaction along with desirable reaction of antibiotic usage.
One must be conscious of these side effects, otherwise these side effects can interfere with the patient’s ability to tolerate and finish the course of the medication.
Side effects of Antibiotics could be mild to severe, with varying degree from one patient to another.
List of some common Antibiotic side effects:
As a patient, if you are experiencing any side effects, please do consult with your health care professional. An experienced health care professional may advice you to stay on the same antibiotic by managing the side effects, or by adjusting the dose or may ask you to stop or switch to a different antibiotic.
Generally, antibiotic treatment should not be stopped without a health care practitioners approval unless the entire course is finished, even if you are feeling better.
Inappropriate usage of antibiotics results into emergence of resistant organisms.
Antibiotics: From the wonder drug of yesteryear’s TO world threat
When Antibiotics were first discovered they were called wonder drugs. Humanity observed that Antibiotic revolutionized medicine in the 20th century. However their effectiveness and easy access led to its overuse, prompting bacteria to develop resistance.
This has led to widespread problems with antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance, so much as to prompt the World Health Organization to classify antimicrobial resistance as a “serious threat [that] is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country”.(2)
Below are the issues people observe due to inappropriate usage of antibiotic.
Antibiotic and its impact on Beneficial Bacteria
The biggest side effect on Antibiotic, irrespective of its class or drug is on the Beneficial bacteria in human body. Our body is home to trillions of friendly bacteria, who perform several roles in our gut flora and other parts of the body.
Usage of antibiotics also result into removal of these friendly bacteria resulting into antibiotic-associated diarrhea, yeast infections and serious allergic skin reactions.
Consumption of Antibiotic results in to Diarrhea in 5%-25% patients as antibiotic eradicates normal gut flora by killing them. The fine balance between beneficial Gut flora and infectious bacteria goes for a toss. The moment the friendly bacteria from Gut flora are no more, our gut will see overgrowth of infectious bacteria, such as Clostridium dificile.
The most common antibiotics associated with such a diarrhea (which could be severe, bloody, accompanied by stomach cramps of vomiting) are amoxicillin-clavulanate, ampicillin, cefixime, cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones (these contain toxic fluorine), azithromycin, clarithromycin, erythromycin, and tetracycline.
Vaginal yeast infections or oral thrush (candida species)
Consumption of Antibiotics may also change the normal flora balance in the vagina, often leading to an overgrowth of fungal species, Candida albicans. Candida Albicans is the most common fungus found in the vagina, mouth, gastrointestinal tract, and on the skin. This fungus does not cause disease, however it may cause irritation, redness on the skin when the fungus takes over due to limited competition from friendly bacteria, killed due to antibiotic treatment.
Antibiotic & its impact on the Nutritional Profile of human body
Friendly bacteria in the body perform several nutritional actions. Therefore usage of antibiotics, which results into eradication of friendly bacteria, also results into nutritional deficiency in the body. Antibiotics kills symbiotic bacteria robbing us of:
- A vital source of B—Vitamins. Lactobacillus acidophilus synthesize Niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), biotin (B7), Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and folic acid.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus, which reduces cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus, which also produce vitamin K (our best source) and enzymes.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus which helps in digestion of lactase (a protein found in milk).
- Enzymes produced by friendly Bacteria, which help digest foods. Indigestion leads to severe nutritional deficiency worsening the situation.
Antibiotic & its impact on the Gut Flora
Antibiotic eradicates friendly bacteria from the body. Friendly bacteria keep the bad bacteria under check in the body. Because usage of antibiotics, results into eradication of friendly bacteria, it also results into overgrowth of bad bacteria. Antibiotics kills symbiotic bacteria robbing us of:
- Enzymes produced by friendly Bacteria, which enters the blood and cleanse toxic waste from the body.
- Bifidus bacteria, which tends to diminish Candida Albicans, Clostridia and Srreptococci in the large intestine.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidbacteriaus Bacteria, which increases the capability of phagocytes (white blood cells) to capture and destroy dangerous E. Coli bacteria.
- Friendly intestinal flora. Conditions such as diarrhea. constipation, irritable colon, colitis, parasite infestation, and yeast infections can develop.
Antibiotic & its impact on the Thyroid
Antibiotics kills symbiotic bacteria robbing us of Friendly bacteria in the gut, leading to increased population of infectious (bad) bacteria in the colon causing great harm. The “bad” bacteria creates an alkaline stool for themselves by producing guanadine, a very toxic poison.
Our body ends up absorbing the poison. The poison stresses the parathyroids, throwing the blood’s calcium balance off. Calcium imbalance affects the thyroid adversely, and upsets the body’s pH balance. Once intestinal flora are out of balance, the hormone estrogen is not re-assimilated and reactivated—contributing to a lowered level of this vital hormone and further disrupting calcium balance—tending to osteoporosis.
Antibiotic & its impact on Sugar Craving
Friendly intestinal flora leads to sugar imbalance. Bad bacteria feed on sugar before you. Alcoholics and sugar junkies may be suffering from intestinal parasites. or a yeast infection, that is producing the craving for sugar and alcohol.
What to do, if you must take Antibiotic
To avoid all of the above mentioned issues, when taking an antibiotic, do the following:
- Consume Probiotic Yogurt (with Live cultures). It will be much better if you consume fresh Kefir from Kefir grains.
- Be careful of supermarket yogurt for it may have been pasteurized. It must guarantee live cultures.
- You can also take Probiotic capsules during after probiotic consumption. Continue to eat probiotics until the pH of the stool is 6.8—7.0.
- Increase intake of fiber, which will increase fermentation in the right side of the colon, which will assist in maintaining that slightly acid condition of the bowel.
- Supplement Vitamin K to reduce easy bruising, possible hemorrhage, miscarriage, diarrhea, intestinal malabsorption, calcium loss, and hardening of the arteries. Vitamin K supplementation has been shown to reduce calcium loss upto 30%. Boron does the same.
- Vitamin K supplementation (300 mcg daily) is also mandatory for those
- With malabsorption problems (particularly fat absorption)
- Eating a low calorie diet
- Using aspirin on a long term basis
- On prolonged antibiotic or estrogen therapy
- Using the anti—convulsant drugs Dliantin and Phenobarbital
- Taking cholestyramine to lower cholesterol)
- Lacking Bifidus, one should supplement 10 mg vitamin K per day.
- Consume a mix combination of Lactobacillus with Bifidus bacteria. Bifidus Bacteria dwell in the large intestine, diminish Candida Albicans, Clostridia and Streptococci populations.
- Do Betaine HCL supplementation. Betaine HCL helps to keep a health giving population in the gut.
- Supplement Vitamin B Complex.
- Ask the questions below to your Doctor before you take antibiotics:
- Do I really need antibiotics? Antibiotics fight bacterial infections, like strep throat, whooping cough and symptomatic bladder infections. But they don’t fight viruses—like common colds, flu, or most sore throats and sinus infections. Ask if you have a bacterial infection.
- What are the risks? Antibiotics can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and more. They can also lead to “antibiotic resistance”—if you use antibiotics when you don’t need them, they may not work when you do need them.
- Are there simpler, safer options? Sometimes all you need is rest and plenty of liquid. You can also ask about antibiotic ointments and drops for conditions like pink eye or swimmer’s ear.
- How much do they cost? Antibiotics are usually not expensive. But if you take them when you don’t need them, they may not work for you in the future— and that may cost you a lot of time and money.
- How do I safely take antibiotics? If your doctor does prescribe antibiotics, take them exactly as directed, even if you feel better.
Bottomline: Take antibiotics sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. Follow it up with probiotics.
- World Health Organisation – Antibiotic Resistance. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/antibiotic-resistance/en/
- Antimicrobial Resistance: Global report on surveillance.