The development of antibiotics has most certainly saved hundreds of millions of lives, however, the use of these antibiotics has come at a cost. We’re too quick to take potent medications, dismissing alternative remedies. Due to increased use, antibiotic resistance is a major concern.
What was once an incredible discovery with practical implications, is now one of the greatest health problems of our time. The continuous use of antibiotics is causing a resistance to these drugs, while harming beneficial bacteria colonies. What are the potential dangers of this phenomena and what alternatives are available?
Antibiotic Resistance and the Associated Dangers
The harmful bacteria that cause a wide range of symptoms, begins to become accustomed to the antibiotics that are so readily prescribed. Meaning, that after repeated use, they become ineffective. At this point, even if an antibiotic drug offers a high potency, it will not stop bad bacteria from multiplying.
Think of it this way — a large colony of bacteria cause problematic symptoms, however, a few are drug resistant. Antibiotics are administered, killing both good and bad bacteria, yet the drug-resistant bacteria remain. Left on their own (without the influence of ‘good’ bacteria), they multiply and may even pass antibiotic resistance to other bacteria.
There are a number of reasons why we need to be concerned about antibiotic resistance, especially based on the number of infections that we’re exposed to. As mentioned, antibiotics do not discriminate in terms of the bacteria they target and destroy. This leaves you at risk for a wide range of ailments.
Healthy bacteria in your gut are essential for optimal immune function. When taking antibiotics, these drugs wipe out all bacteria – including these healthy colonies. As an imbalance between good and bad bacteria emerges, this makes you more prone to illness and disease, as your immune system is not functioning at an optimal level.
As more and more individuals become antibiotic resistant, infections spread faster. As soon as a new strain surfaces, it can quickly spread to those within your family and even your community. In severe cases, individuals experience organ damage when left untreated, sometimes leading to death.
Natural Alternatives to Pharmaceutical Drugs
The foods you eat can significantly influence your ability to fight infections. Before we focus on what foods to include in your diet, it’s important to mention animal and animal-based products that are riddled with antibiotics. Drugs are not the only issue, so it’s important to source organically grown and raised food.
While focusing on natural sources, plants offer phytochemicals and other compounds which target infections while boosting immune function, reducing inflammation, and promoting the growth of healthy bacteria. In fact, most antibiotics were developed based on these unique plant-based compounds. Include more of the following in your diet, making potent tonics when an infection surfaces.
- Garlic — Based on numerous studies, it’s well known that garlic offers antibacterial properties. Once it’s crushed, the potent scent you experience is due to the bioactive compound, known as allicin.
- Turmeric — A staple in Indian cuisine, this potent anti-inflammatory is also capable of targeting bacterial and viral infections. This is based on the active compound curcumin and has even been used to target tuberculosis.
- Honey — Raw Manuka honey is highly potent, able to treat infections and heal wounds.
From apple cider vinegar to oil of oregano, there are plenty of natural sources in which you may already have within your household. The key is changing our mindset, not reaching for potent antibiotics to treat minor conditions that could essentially heal on their own or be treated with natural alternatives.