Antibiotic Resistance and Immune Support
Since the discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in 1928, antibiotics have become an important part of our lives. Antibiotics can treat severe infections and improve the health quickly, helping us to recover from bacterial infections. However, like all drugs, they may cause certain side effects.
What are antibiotics?
If you are wondering what is an antibiotic, the WebMD team explains that it is a powerful medication whose active component can fight certain bacterial infections and prevent life-threatening conditions.
What do antibiotics do? They can stop bacteria from reproducing or even kill them. Also, antibiotics help the white blood cells in the body attack the dangerous bacteria and stimulate the work of the immune system.
Common types of antibiotics
Penicillin was the first discovered antibiotic that became a basic component for broad-spectrum drugs like Amoxicillin and Ampicillin. These first-generation antibiotics are widely applied nowadays for the treatment of multiple mild-to-moderate infections. As for new antibiotics, they can be divided into 5 major groups:
- Tetracyclines (for example, Tetracycline and Doxycycline) are likely to used for the treatment of acne and rosacea, as well as pneumonia;
- Aminoglycosides (for example, tobramycin and gentamicin) are used only in hospitals for the treatment of serious infections like septicaemia;
- Cephalosporins (for example, Cephalexin) are used for the treatment of serious infections like meningitis and septicaemia;
- Fluoroquinolones (for example, Ciprofloxacin and Levofloxacin) are broad-spectrum antibiotics that can treat different infections;
- Macrolides (for example, Clarithromycin and Erythromycin) can be helpful in treating severe lung and chest infections. They can also be used by people with a penicillin allergy.
What is antibiotic resistance?
The National Health Service (NHS) of England and other international health organizations are worried about the necessity of reducing the use of antibiotics. Specifically, when it comes to mild-to-moderate infections that can be treated safely without an antibiotic medicine.
NHS experts believe the overuse of antibiotics in recent decades has made them less effective and led to the rise of so-called “superbugs” – potentially life-threatening bacteria resistant to all types of modern antibiotics.
Antibiotics: side effects and risks
According to the Mayo Clinic staff, antibiotics may cause side effects like:
- Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. According to Drugs.Com, every 10 people out of 100 who take antibiotics may experience these side effects;
- Thrush (candidiasis) is an infection triggered by the yeast Candida albicans (or candida). Every 10 in 100 women who take antibiotics regularly may destroy the normal balance of this bacteria in their bodies and trigger this vaginal infection;
- The first-generation antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin may cause hypersensitivity reactions revealed through hives, fever, and difficulties with breathing;
- Disrupted gut flora can be caused by the long-term use (few weeks) of certain antibiotics. Even a few weeks course of antibiotics may lead to the spreading of the resistant bacteria capable of living in the gut for 4 years or longer.
The majority of health care specialists agree that strong antibiotics should be used only in the life-threatening cases and for a short term.
Possible natural antibiotics
*The efficacy of these home remedies has not been proven. These remedies are in NO way a substitute for information and directions provided by a health care professional. Please contact your doctor if you have any questions about your condition.
To cope with irritating but not life-threatening infections, you may give a try these natural antibiotic remedies:
Wild oregano called Origanum vulgare is considered one of the best herbal antibiotics thanks to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. You can use this oil in these ways:
- For treating foot or nail fungus, you can soak the affected feet in a small tub with warm water and a few teaspoons of oregano oil;
- For relieving the symptoms of a sinus infection, you can add a few drops of the oil to a neti pot and inhale its steam.
Cayenne pepper (also known as capsicum) can be used as one of the most powerful natural antibiotics thanks to its anti-fungal effects. A recent Czech study showed that cayenne pepper can be very effective in treating one common infection in women – vulvovaginitis. Before using this essential oil, it is recommended diluting it with a carrier oil like olive oil because undiluted capsicum can burn the skin. Also, you may add cayenne pepper to your meals or drink the oil mixed with water daily for treating a sore throat.
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
GSE can help in beating the gram-positive and gram-negative organisms, and was shown to do so in an article published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine in 2002. This study concluded that, “The initial data shows GSE to have antimicrobial properties against a wide range of gram-negative and gram-positive organisms at dilutions found to be safe.”
Garlic may kill pathogens, bacteria, fungus, and some viruses without harming the gut flora. You can eat garlic daily to boost your immune system. Garlic can be also applied externally for treating ear infections in such way. Garlic may also work as a safer alternative for children who can’t use strong antibiotics.
Fresh ginger may be helpful in treating digestive infections caused by eating certain foods (sushi or raw oysters). You can add sliced ginger to salads, drink an herbal tea with dried ginger, or chew ginger roots daily.
Other powerful natural antibiotics with science-backed anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties are the extract of olive leaves, turmeric spice, Echinacea herb, and medicinal Manuka honey, which all have anti-bacterial properties. You can use these remedies in your daily diet or take them in supplements.
Support the immune system while using oral antibiotics
Sometimes, taking antibiotics is the only option for successful infection treatment. To boost your natural immune properties while taking antibiotic pills, you can follow such guidelines:
- Get quality sleep at night (no less than 8 hours);
- Regular exercises and walks;
- Eating less sugar and healthy fermented foods (probiotics) like probiotic yogurt, unpasteurized sauerkraut, raw pickles, and Kim chi (a Korean cabbage dish);
- Practicing meditation and yoga for relieving stress levels.
Keep in mind that despite the science-backed efficacy of the mentioned natural remedies, they are not a substitute the use of antibiotic pills. For example, if a person has sepsis (severe blood infection), pneumonia, kidney infection or a high fever only the timely intake of strong antibiotics can be helpful in saving his life from serious health complications or even death.