Antibiotics’ overuse has led to the growth of bacteria that have become resistant to them. Because they have become stronger, they are being called Superbugs. However, this is only a natural process of a living being, and bacteria are, in fact, living organisms.
Consider, for example, what would happen if a burglar broke into your house. When he got in, you clubbed him over the head with a baseball bat.
What would he be wearing the next time he broke in? A helmet, of course!
Bacteria do the same thing. They learn how to defend themselves against whatever is threatening them. When they are hit over and over with the same antibiotic, they learn how to become resistant to it. Every living organism does this. It is called evolution.
The problem with pharmaceutical-grade antibiotics is that they are static. When practically any living organism is attacked using the same weapon repeatedly, it will eventually figure out a way to counteract or evade the weapon. Using our example, if every burglar faced a baseball bat when they broke in to a house, every burglar would be wearing a helmet.
Antibiotic resistant bacteria are now prevalent among animals and humans, as the same static antibiotics are being used over and over again. In fact, dosing animals with antibiotics for meat production is making human-disease bacteria even more resistant. This is one reason why we are seeing increased levels of foodborne illnesses, and a gradual rise in many infective diseases.
What are antibiotics?
Surprising as it sounds, raw antibiotics (anti=against; biotic=life) are natural substances. Antibiotics are produced by bacteria or fungi. These microorganisms produce antibiotics in order to protect themselves. Their tiny immune systems produce a biochemical arsenal to expand their colonies within a hostile environment of other bacteria. This hostile environment is the same one we live in, full of opportunistic bacteria ready to invade our bodies.
The antibiotics produced by the pharmaceutical industry is typically made from fermenting (or culturing) certain species of bacteria, and extracting their antibiotics as they are challenged by certain bacteria.
The roots of the pharmaceutical antibiotics movement began back in the late 1920s with Dr. Alexander Fleming. As a Scottish physician, Dr. Fleming was looking for ways to kill Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that infects cuts and wounds. One day he noticed that a particular mold from the genus Penicillium was particularly effective in repelling the bacteria. He isolated this bactericidal substance and called it penicillin.
Since Dr. Fleming’s discovery a variety of antibiotics have been isolated from microorganisms in pharmaceutical facilities around the world. These microorganism-produced antibiotics became the darlings of the pharmaceutical industry in the mid-twentieth century. Their effectiveness is one of the primary reasons why pharmaceutical companies rose to credibility and prominence among the populace. The ability of these microorganism-produced antibiotics to knock out life-threatening infections quickly became the “go-to” medication for many doctors in 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and even today.
Why Have Antibiotics Come Under Criticism?
The reason antibiotics have become so criticized over the past two decades is this very over-prescription by physicians.From the 1960s onward, doctors began giving out antibiotics for virtually every type of complaint, even those that had nothing to do with bacterial infections. Because antibiotics worked for many different types of ailments-as bacteria are often the cause of a number of ailments-doctors considered antibiotics as panaceas, placebos or both.
This indiscriminant use of antibiotics has led to a growing number of super-bacteria that are threatening our health increasingly. For example, the incidence of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) skyrocketed from 24 cases per 100,000 people in 2000 to 164 cases per 100,000 people in 2005 (Hota et al. 2007). Many other strains, such as macrolide-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (Fogarty et al. 2001), Helicobacter pylori (Ziemniak et al. 2006) and Clostridium difficile are just the beginning of an onslaught of antibiotic-resistant bacteria we will have to face in the years to come.
This information is for research purposes only not intended to treat or cure any disease. Be sure to consult your health professional if you suspect you or your family members have any disease, and before making any significant changes to your diet, lifestyle or supplements.
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