We all know how antibiotics help us fight infectious diseases, save lives and reduce suffering. Although they will continue to do that, they are also over prescribed and particularly on young children up to 6 years old. When they are used repeatedly, they can create problems such as :
- Antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These bacteria have changed to become stronger and more virulent causing diseases which may persist with chronic symptoms of illness.
- Destruction of friendly bacteria. The multitude of friendly bacteria (many in our gut flora such as Lactobacillus) in our body helps us fight against unfriendly bacteria. Antibiotics are not selective and they destroy all bacteria unfriendly or not. So after a treatment using antibiotics it is a good idea to reintroduce friendly bacteria to the digestive system with an acidophilus supplement or simply with live yoghurt.
- Yeast growth. One problem leads on to another. In the absence of strong friendly bacteria to control the population of unfriendly bacteria and yeast, these may overgrow and bloc the proper functioning of the immune system. There appears a higher risk of becoming ill.
- Immune suppression. The repeated use of antibiotics can undermine our own immune system and increase the likelihood of a repeat infection. Ideally, the use of antibiotics should be reduced but in any case it would be good to support our immune system with vitamins, minerals and herbs.
- Nutrient loss. The use of antibiotics creates a new environment in the digestive tract and it may not be as functional as it should (showing signs of digestive irritation, diarrhoea, or dysfunctional intestinal flora). The loss of vital nutrient needed by the immune system may then contribute to the making of a vicious circle whereas the weak undermined immune system is not getting enough nutrients and becomes even weaker.
- Food allergies. These can be due to genetic predisposition or to immune system disorder but it can also be caused by malabsorption, poor digestion, repeated food exposure and poor integrity of the intestinal wall. Our immune system is normally capable of recognising what is our own from any intruders it may need to fight back. But it has been shown that partially digested food protein can travel across the intestinal wall and into the body where it will be confronted as an intruder. Now, many factors can cause the intestinal wall to be damaged and these include abnormal gut flora and decrease in normal gut flora. Both, as discussed earlier can be linked to repeated use of antibiotics.
Food allergies can be treated. First by identifying the problem food and eliminating it from the diet to decrease inflammation. Secondly, an appropriate treatment can be decided to boost the immune system, heal and strengthen the mucous membranes including intestinal walls.
These issues tend to develop from an early age but if left unattended, adults may still suffer with it. Here are some symptoms associated with food allergies : gas, diarrhoea, colic, constipation, irritable bowel or irregular stool pattern, chronic bladder infection, chronic earache, runny nose, sinusitis, wheezing, chronic bronchitis, chronic repeated infections, acne, eczema, itchy skin, painful joints, backache, cramps or headache, migraines, depression or anxiety, hyperactivity, poor concentration or insomnia.
As usual, if you feel you or someone you know are struggling with any of these symptoms, think positive. It can be treated with food, supplements and herbs. Just get in touch for more informations as treatment needs to be tailor specially for you. And if any of you have seen Food Hospital on TV, then surely you will feel inspired to use your food as your medicine.