Antibiotic resistance: Can we improve our receptivity to antibiotics?

Henrietta Norton BSc, Dip NT, MBANT, AFMCP Co-founder of Wild Nutrition and Nutritional Therapist.

"Antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest threats to health security facing the world today and everybody must take action"  - Professor John Watson, deputy chief medical officer at the Department of Health, 2014.

 

Antibiotic resistance has been steadily on the rise in recent years, and antibiotic prescriptions from GPs and dentists have increased (more so in the North of the UK) during this period, despite government guidelines to avoid broad stroke prescribing.

 

How does antibiotic resistance occur?

 

Imagine you cut your finger and contract a common infection with Staphylococcus aureus. You leave it a few days and then go to your GP because it is beginning to ooze a little.  You are prescribed an antibiotic (possibly flucloxacillin as Staphylococcus aureus is now resistant to penicillin) as a cream or oral tablet. You start taking the antibiotic and go to bed that night assuming the wound will clear up. However from the time of infection to now, the infection has mutated as much as 600 times. Any of these mutations are capable of giving the bacteria the ability to replicate, even in the presence of the antibiotic, and become drug-resistant. This replication continues until a rapidly growing proportion of bacteria in the body becomes antibiotic resistant. In addition to this the antibiotics neutralise your beneficial bacteria as well as the pathogenic bacteria.

The above sounds worrying but in most cases where a persons immune system is functioning well, the bacteria is not able to replicate so quickly and your body is able to do its own 'damage limitation'.

What this tells us is that supporting your immune system is key and the most effective way of doing this is by looking after the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Our Food-Grown Multi Strain Biotic was formulated with this in mind.

 

Your gut is your first line of defence

 

70% of your immune system resides in the gastro-intestinal tract, and indeed the beneficial bacteria that plays a significant role in the immune system's destruction of infection can render the use of antibiotics less necessary in some cases. In addition, many immune cells reside in the intestines; overall health may be very dependent on the health of your GI system.

For this reason, prophylactic daily use of a probiotic is helpful and may assist in improving overall immune function.  Our Wild Nutrition, Multi Strain Biotic is high strength with a unique complex of 8 strains of bacteria in powder form to support shifts in bacteria or flora.

Supporting your immune defences through diet and optimising your gut's beneficial bacteria could make a significant difference not only to how your body responds to antibiotics but reducing the very need for them in the first place.

 

For more on gut health and how we can help restore these vital pathways, see 'Why take probiotics?', 'Is depression a gut reaction?' and 'Should we 'detox?'

 

Refs:

Lemberg D.A, Ooi, C.E & Da, A.D (2007) Probiotics in paediatric gastrointesntinal diseases. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 43: 331-336

Pray, L. (2008) Antibiotic resistance, mutation rates and MRSA. Nature Education 1 (1):30

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