Are ABX Killing Us? bacteria in healthy bodies out-# our cells...

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by victoria, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. victoria

    victoria New Member

    Google the words
    Are Antibiotics Killing Us? - Discover Magazine

    this is fascinating-- and scary-- info about abx... not just the usual stuff about drug-resistant bacteria, but how killing bacteria body-wide can disrupt the body's whole processes (not replaceable by probiotics).

    I've excerpted some of it below, but go and read the whole article by putting the words up above into google - should be the first headline that comes up:

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    Are Antibiotics Killing Us?

    For every cell in your body, you support 10 bacterial cells that make vitamins, trigger hormones, and may even influence how fat you are. Guess what happens to them when you pop penicillin?

    By Jessica Snyder Sachs Photography by Joshua Lutz
    DISCOVER Vol. 26 No. 10 | October 2005 | Biology & Medicine

    The young man returns from an overseas assignment for their wedding with a clean bill of health, having dutifully cleared up an infection of sexually transmitted chlamydia. "Three weeks later, the wife has a screaming genital infection," Hudson recounts, "and I get a call from the small-town doctor who's trying to save their marriage."

    The soldier, it seems, has decided his wife must have been seeing other men, which she denies. ... "The doctor is convinced she's telling the truth," he continues... "So I tell him, 'Send me a specimen from him and a cervical swab from her.' " This is done after the couple has completed a full course of antibiotic treatment and tested free of infection.

    "I PCR 'em both," Hudson says, "and he is red hot."

    PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction — a technique developed about 20 years ago that allows many copies of a DNA sequence to be made. It is often used at crime scenes, where very little DNA may be available.

    Hudson's use of the technique allowed him to find traces of chlamydia DNA in the soldier and his wife that traditional tests miss because the amount left after antibiotic treatment is small and asymptomatic.

    Nonetheless, if a small number of inactive chlamydia cells passed from groom to bride, the infection could have became active in its new host.

    Hudson tells the tale to illustrate how microbes that scientists once thought were easily eliminated by antibiotics can still thrive in the body. His findings and those of other researchers raise disturbing questions about the behavior of microbes in the human body and how they should be treated.

    For example, Hudson has found that quiescent varieties of chlamydia may play a role in chronic ailments not traditionally thought to be related to this infectious agent. In the early 1990s, he found two types of chlamydia—Chlamydia trachomatis and Chlamydia pneumonia—in the joint tissue of patients with inflammatory arthritis.

    More famously, in 1996, he began fishing C. pneumonia out of the brain cells of Alzheimer's victims. Since then, other researchers have made headlines after reporting the genetic fingerprints of C. pneumonia, as well as several kinds of common mouth bacteria, in the arterial plaque of heart attack patients.

    Hidden infections are now thought to be the basis of still other stubbornly elusive ills like chronic fatigue syndrome, Gulf War syndrome, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Parkinson's disease, and types of cancer. To counteract these killers, some physicians have turned to lengthy or lifelong courses of antibiotics.

    At the same time, other researchers are counterintuitively finding that bacteria we think are bad for us also ward off other diseases and keep us healthy. Using antibiotics to tamper with this complicated and little-understood population could irrevocably alter the microbial ecology in an individual and accelerate the spread of drug-resistant genes to the public at large.

    ... Today we know that trillions of bacteria carpet not only our intestines but also our skin and much of our respiratory and urinary tracts. The vast majority of them seem to be innocuous, if not beneficial.

    And bacteria are everywhere, in abundance—they outnumber other cells in the human body by 10 to one. David Relman and his team at Stanford University and the VA Medical Center in Palo Alto, California, recently found the genetic fingerprints of several hundred new bacterial species in the mouths, stomachs, and intestines of healthy volunteers.

    ...Meanwhile, the behavior of even well-known bacterial inhabitants is challenging the old, straightforward view of infectious disease. In the 19th century, Robert Koch laid the foundation for medical microbiology, postulating: Any microorganism that causes a disease should be found in every case of the disease and always cause the disease when introduced into a new host.

    That view prevailed until the middle of this past century. Now we are more confused than ever. Take Helicobacter pylori. In the 1980s infection by the bacterium, not stress, was found to be the cause of most ulcers. Overnight, antibiotics became the standard treatment. Yet in the undeveloped world ulcers are rare, and H. pylori is pervasive.

    "This stuff drives the old-time microbiologists mad," says Hudson, "because Koch's postulates simply don't apply." With new technologies like PCR, researchers are turning up stealth infections everywhere, yet they cause problems only in some people sometimes, often many years after the infection.

    These mysteries have nonetheless not stopped a free flow of prescriptions. Many rheumatologists, for example, now prescribe long-term—even lifelong—courses of antibiotics for inflammatory arthritis, even though it isn't known if the antibiotics actually clear away bacteria or reduce inflammatory arthritis in some other unknown manner.

    ...Meanwhile, many researchers are alarmed. Infectious-diseases specialist Curtis Donskey, of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, says: "Unfortunately, far too many physicians are still thinking of antibiotics as benign. We're just now beginning to understand how our normal microflora does such a good job of preventing our colonization by disease-causing microbes. And from an ecological point of view, we're just starting to understand the medical consequences of disturbing that with antibiotics."

    Donskey has seen the problem firsthand at the Cleveland VA Medical Center, where he heads infection control. "Hospital patients get the broadest spectrum, most powerful antibiotics," he says, but they are also "in an environment where they get exposed to some of the nastiest, most drug-resistant pathogens."

    Powerful antibiotics can be dangerous in such a setting because they kill off harmless bacteria that create competition for drug-resistant colonizers, which can then proliferate. The result: Hospital-acquired infections have become a leading cause of death in critical-care units.

    ... Jeffrey Gordon, a gastroenterologist turned full-time microbiologist, heads the spanking new Center for Genomic Studies at Washington University in Saint Louis. The expansive, sun-streaked laboratory sits above the university's renowned gene-sequencing center, which proved a major player in powering the Human Genome Project.

    "Now it's time to take a broader view of the human genome," says Gordon, "one that recognizes that the human body probably contains 100 times more microbial genes than human ones."

    Gordon supervises a lab of some 20 graduate students and postdocs with expertise in disciplines ranging from ecology to crystallography. Their collaborations revolve around studies of unusually successful colonies of genetically engineered germ-free mice and zebra fish.

    Gordon's veteran mouse wranglers, Marie Karlsson and her husband David O'Donnell, manage the rearing of germ-free animals for comparison with genetically identical animals that are colonized with one or two select strains of normal flora.

    In a cavernous facility packed with rows of crib-size bubble chambers, Karlsson and O'Donnell handle their germ-free charges via bulbous black gloves that serve as airtight portals into the pressurized isolettes. They generously supplement sterilized mouse chow with vitamins and extra calories to replace or complement what is normally supplied by intestinal bacteria.

    "Except for their being on the skinny side, we've got them to the point where they live near-normal lives," says O'Donnell. Yet the animals' intestines remain thin and underdeveloped in places, bizarrely bloated in others. They also prove vulnerable to any stray pathogen that slips into their food, water, or air.

    All Gordon's protégés share an interest in following the molecular cross talk among resident microbes and their host when they add back a component of an animal's normal microbiota.

    One of the most interesting players is Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, or B. theta, the predominant bacterium of the human colon and a particularly bossy symbiont.

    The bacterium is known for its role in breaking down otherwise indigestible plant matter, providing up to 15 percent of its host's calories. But Gordon's team has identified a suite of other, more surprising skills.

    Three years ago, they sequenced B. theta's entire genome, which enabled them to work with a gene chip that detects what proteins are being made at any given time.

    By tracking changes in the activity of these genes, the team has shown that B. theta helps guide the normal development and functioning of the intestines—including the growth of blood vessels, the proper turnover of epithelial cells, and the marshaling of components of the immune system needed to keep less well behaved bacteria at bay.

    B. theta also exerts hormonelike, long-range effects that may help the host weather times when food is scarce and ensure the bacterium's own survival.

    Fredrik Bäckhed, a young postdoc who came to Gordon's laboratory from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, has caught B. theta sending biochemical messages to host cells in the abdomen, directing them to store fat.

    When he gave germ-free mice an infusion of gut bacteria from a conventionally raised mouse, they immediately put on an average of 50 percent more fat although they were consuming 30 percent less food than when they were germ-free. "It's as if B. theta is telling its host, 'save this—we may need it later,' " Gordon says.

    ..Among the questions driving him (Gordon): Can we begin to use our microbiota as a marker of health and disease? Does this "bacterial nation" shift in makeup when we become obese, try to lose weight, experience prolonged stress, or simply age? Do people in Asia or Siberia harbor the same organisms in the same proportions as those in North America or the Andes?

    ......Hudson cautions that before we set out to eradicate our bacterial fellow travelers, "we'd damn well better understand what they're doing in there."

    His interest centers on chlamydia, with its maddening ability to exist in inactive infections that flare into problems only for an unlucky few. Does the inactive form cause damage by secreting toxins or killing cells? Or is the real problem a disturbed immune response to them?

    Lately Hudson has resorted to a device he once shunned in favor of DNA probes: a microscope, albeit an exotic $250,000 model. This instrument, which can magnify organisms an unprecedented 15,000 times, sits in the laboratory of Hudson's spouse, Judith Whittum-Hudson, a Wayne State immunologist who is working on a chlamydia vaccine.

    On a recent afternoon, Hudson marveled as a shimmering chlamydia cell was beginning to morph from its infectious stage into its mysterious and bizarre-looking persistent form.

    "One minute you have this perfectly normal, spherical bacterium and the next you have this big, goofy-looking doofus of a microbe," he says. He leans closer, focusing on a roiling spot of activity. "It's doing something. It's making something. It's saying something to its host." ...

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    There's more fascinating info in the article if you look it up...

    I now begin to wonder if the probiotics are plentiful enough in the number of beneficial bacteria they contain...

    maybe we all need to go to play in the dirt again?

    -V
  2. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    As a nurse, I have witnessed that antibiotics are over prescribed and over used.

    I have seen people going to the doctor and almost demanding something to help them "get over" a cold, make them feel better, etc. Doctors have a hard time being the "bad guy" and saying "no", so they will give Rx's when the best thing to do is just let the body mend itself. Antibiotics won't work on viruses, and people need to know and accept that. Sometimes people will get what's called a secondary infection that is bacterial when they have a virus and require an antibiotic. What is so horrendous is that docs will prescribe without doing cultures! This is poor medical practice, and this is how resistance builds.

    The only time an antibiotic should be used is when there is for sure a bacterial infection and the infection is a real threat to the person or to other people if not treated.

    Something people also do not understand is that "fever" helps the body, it's nature's way of getting rid of invaders. The higher temperature actually kills the germ that is attacking the body. What a person should do when they have a mild flu or cold is to drink lots of fluid (this doesn't include coffee, tea, soda, etc.) like water or real fruit juices, stay home and rest a lot, eat nutritious meals, and take a fever reducer (no aspirin for children) only if temps go over 100 and to help relieve symptoms.

    If a child's temperature gets above 101, then the child needs to be cooled down by being placed in tepid water or giving a clear tepid water enema, or by placing ice packs (for higher temps) around the body until the temp comes down. With temps above 102, the doctor should definitely be called and direction from him should be taken.

    Another thing that I see as a real concern is the overuse of antibacterial hand washes, soaps, etc. I don't think people should be "dirty", but continual use of antibacterial washes outside a medical facility might be more symptomatic of a compulsive problem. The best thing for people to do is to wash hands at appropriate times using plain soap and very warm to hot water. If you wash hands singing "happy birthday" one chorus, that will be long enough to kill most "germs." (You may want to sing in your head or you may have to explain to co-workers what you are doing!)

    Jeannette
  3. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    There is no doubt that antibiotics have saved lives and rid people of horrible bacterial infections. Like every other med, though, they have side effects. One may be that they can cause resistant strains and another may be the disruption of the body's flora.

    In addition to being overprescribed and misprescribed, ABX are in the food and meds given to animals and this is passed on in the food chain. ABX can be excreted in urine and passed on in the water supply. Studies have found ABX in public water supplies despite the water's having been treated.

    In Russia, for years, phages have been used to fight pathogens. They are a bit like little oral vaccines which do not kill bacteria but rather train the immune system to kill them. Transfer factors work on the same basic idea.

    I am forever grateful that I learned about chronic mycoplasma infections and had Doxycycline available to me to treat the infection. I now know there is a TF for mycoplasmas and would likely have used that instead.

    Most of even the most virulent bacteria do not cause people to get sick. Those with compromised immune systems will get sick where a healthy person will not.

    It is no longer survival of the fittest. People are alive today who would have died years ago. It is survival of the fittest and the sickest. We have interferred with natural selection and it has produced humans who are unhealthy.

    Not all ABX work the same way. I believe that ABX like Doxycycline, which do not directly kill bacteria, are a bit safer than those which do.

    Thanks for posting this most interesting article. This is just bacteria. There are a whole host of viruses which go stealth and chronic in the body and keep one sick. Some, like the Herpes Family of Viruses, never go away and can reactivate when a person gets run down.

    It is interesting that the chlamydia, like Lyme, changes form when it becomes a stealth, chronic infection. There is still a lot of work to be done in infectious diseases. Unfortunately, for now, it seems we are damned if we do and damned if we don't treat with ABX.

    Love, Mikie
  4. victoria

    victoria New Member

    I am getting compulsive about NOT using soap with triclosan if only for the fact we have a septic system;

    in fact we pour those 'beneficial' bacteria down our drains once a month... have never had problems with our septic as a result, I believe...

    I draw parallels with our bodies, LOL...
    V
  5. Shannonsparkles

    Shannonsparkles New Member

    For the info about soap. It always did seem weird to me to use antibacterial. Yep, we are a bit compulsive about germs. My dad even brought home a pack of PENS that were treated to be antibacterial.
  6. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    We should keep our hands away from our faces and wash our hands when we have handled things in public. I carry those little wipes with me and when I eat out, I wipe my hands after touching the menus, salt shakers, etc.

    I'm not obsessive/compulsive about it, but I think a little prevention is called for.

    Love, Mikie
  7. kbak

    kbak Member

    That was a very good article. Thanks for posting it.
  8. Frecker777

    Frecker777 New Member

    I am certainly pulled in two directions on the topic of ABX: on one side, the general public and our food chain is vastly over-prescribed and medicated, but here I am taking 400mg doxycylcine a day for prob. 6 months after a diagnosis of Lyme disease. After exploring most other options for the past three years, my doctors (and I) were elated to find a positive lyme IgM, but I worry every time I down those pills that I could somehow be ruining my body.

    I hope that by following a low-carb diet and taking primal defense on a daily basis, I prevent against any negative effects!
    -Carrie
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I had to take Doxy for 2 1/2 years to rid my body of a mycoplasma infection. I had no problems with it. I have always taken a good probiotic and I continued to do so along with the Doxy.

    Don't know whether or not your doc explained that the Doxy doesn't kill pathogens outright. It causes changes to the body's cells which keeps the bacteria from being able to infect them. The bacteria literally starve to death in the bloodstream. Because these types of bacteria only enter the bloodstream when they kill their host cells, it can take a long time on the ABX to get rid of all the bacteria. The longer one has been sick, usually, the longer it is necessary to take the ABX.

    There are a couple of other things you can do. When you are through taking the Doxy, you can order the Transfer Factor C from the store here. It targets Lyme, among other pathogens. It trains the immune system to recognize and kill the targeted pathogens. Usually, one takes it for three months and then pulses it for a couple of days every four to six weeks.

    It is helpful to build one's own immune system, not only with the probiotics, but also with undenatured when and colostrum. Dr. Cheney has written about the benefits of the whey in several articles in our Library here. Colostrum is an excellent immune system booster. You can also read about these things in the Store.

    If you go to HEMEX Lab's website, you can read about hypercoagulation which is often a problem for those of us with chronic infections. Heparin, taken with ABX, increases the killing of pathogens and rids the body of the excess fibrin where pathogens hide from the immune system.

    Finally, a zapper will kill pathogens in the bloodstream too. I got mine from the Hulda Clark website for $150. You can read about them there.

    Good luck with your treatment.

    Love, Mikie