Saturday, November 12, 2011

Negative Effects of Antibiotic Use


Whether you are prescribed with azithromycin, doxycycline, vancomycin, or others, antibiotic treatment is very effective at eliminating harmful bacteria from living organisms.  However, there are drawbacks to its use which can negatively affect your health.  While antibiotics for infection eliminate “bad” bacteria, they also eliminate “good” bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, in your digestive tract.  These bacteria, known as probiotic bacteria, are essential in maintaining proper digestive health.  Their elimination can cause diarrhea, malnutrition, improper breakdown of foods, the accumulation of “bad” bacteria. 

This issue is further complicated by the potential for antibiotic resistance.  Bad bacteria can develop a resistance to antibiotics, allowing them to accumulate along the digestive tract due to the absence of probiotic bacteria.  This can lead to further infections and disorders such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). 

So, if you antibiotic treatment is prescribed to you, the best strategy is to supplement with probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements, immediately after antibiotic treatment.  This will allow probiotic bacteria to re-colonize the digestive tract and maintain its health and proper function (McFarland 2006).

Natural food sources have also been identified as having anti-bacterial properties.  In my next blog, I'll tell what these sources are.

Dr. O 
"I don't live to eat...I eat to live!"
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References

1.    McFarland, L.V., Meta-Analysis of Probiotics for the Prevention of Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea and the Treatment of Clostridium difficile Disease. Am J Gastro, 2006. 101: p. 812-22.

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