Antibiotics Harming Future Generations

It is well understood that when you use antibiotics to destroy harmful bacteria, you also lose beneficial bacteria – collateral damage.

Most of the good bacteria can be found in your gut, where it helps with your digestive processes.

In a report in the journal Nature, Martin Blaser writes:

Antibiotics kill the bacteria we do want, as well as those we don’t. These long-term changes to the beneficial bacteria within people’s bodies may even increase our susceptibility to infections and disease.

Overuse of antibiotics could be fuelling the dramatic increase in conditions such as obesity, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and asthma, which have more than doubled in many populations.

…Antibiotics are miraculous. They’ve changed health and medicine over the last 70 years. But when doctors prescribe antibiotics, it is based on the belief that there are no long-term effects. We’ve seen evidence that suggests antibiotics may permanently change the beneficial bacteria that we’re carrying.

That permanent change can be problematic for future generations, because when a child is born, and it passes through the birth canal—that is the baby’s original exposure to beneficial bacteria. If that bacteria has been compromised in the mother, the baby could be less healthy throughout its life.

Disturbing New Statistics

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) in England has provided the Independent with the following information:

Until 2008, there were fewer than five cases a year in the UK of bugs resistant to carbapenem, our most effective intravenous (IV) antibiotic. New statistics reveal how there have been 386 cases already this year, in what the HPA has called a “global public health concern”. Doctors are particularly concerned because carbapenems are often the last hope for hospital patients suffering from pneumonia and blood infections that other antibiotics have failed to treat. Such cases were unknown in the UK before 2003.

Within the EU, more than 25,000 people are dying each year from antibiotic-resistant infections, and the numbers are sure to keep rising. A WHO conference held in Baku, Azerbaijan last week unveiled an action plan that has been agreed to by 50 countries.

Bugs Resistant for 30,000 Years!

The thing about antibiotics is that they tend to be sourced from nature, even if indirectly. This means that bugs have already encountered their enemy, and have developed resistance to them, long ago.

With few new wonder drugs in the pipeline, some doctors are warning of a postantibiotic age, in which simple infections will become untreatable again.

Most antibiotics are based on chemicals used by bacteria or fungi to fight other bacteria, and researchers have speculated that antibiotic resistance must have coevolved with these compounds millions of years ago. Some scientists even claimed to have cultured ancient resistant bacteria from frozen Siberian soil in the lab…

Ulitmately the age of resistance is immaterial – solving the problem is tantamount.

Insights from the USDA

While they do their best to distance themselves from the information, the USDA has published the following info:

  • A single antibiotic-resistant pathogen, MRSA—just one of many now circulating among Americans—now claims more lives each year than AIDS.
  • “Use and misuse of antimicrobial drugs in food animal production and human medicine is the main factor accelerating antimicrobial resistance.”
  • “Farmers and farm workers may get exposed to resistant bacteria by handling animals, feed, and manure.”
  • [antibiotic resistance] in Salmonella strains was most likely due to the antimicrobial use in food animals

Read more at Mother Jones

Not surprisingly, the USDA, under pressure from meat producers, has removed the report, and the researcher has been silenced. It’s pretty sad when the lives of millions are ignored in favor of the pursuit of commerical dollars. Especially when the industry would not die, just lessen due to lower yields increasing prices… I’m sure there will never be a surplus of beef in the USA.