Reprinted with permission of Life Extension®.
Alternatives to Antibiotics
When antibiotics were discovered in the 1940s, they were incredibly effective in the treatment of many bacterial infections. Over time many antibiotics have lost their effectiveness against certain strains of bacteria, as resistant strains have developed, mostly through the use of "resistance genes."
In 1998 a potentially deadly bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus ("staph"), which causes widespread nosocomial (infections contracted in a hospital or clinic) infections, failed to respond to the most potent antibiotic vancomycin. The most troubling aspect was that this failure occurred in three patients in widely separated geographic areas.
There are several ways in which bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotic therapy. One is that some bacteria have now developed "efflux" pumps. When the bacterium recognizes invasion by an antibiotic, the efflux pump simply pumps the antibiotic out of its cells. Resistance genes code for more than pumps, though. Some lead to the manufacture of enzymes that degrade or chemically alter (and therefore inactivate) the antibiotic.
Where do these resistance genes come from? Usually, bacteria actually get them from other bacteria. In some cases they pick up a gene containing plasmid from a "donor" cell. Also, viruses have been shown to extract a resistance gene from one bacterium and inject it into a different one. Furthermore, some bacteria "scavenge" DNA from dead cells around them, and occasionally, scavenged genes are incorporated in a stable manner into the recipient cell's chromosome or into a plasmid and become a part of the recipient bacterium. A few resistance genes develop through random mutations in the bacterium's DNA.
Researchers around the world are taking another look at folk medicine, herbal remedies, and other alternatives to pharmacological drugs. Recent research has confirmed the antibacteriological value of herbal extracts from many parts of the world.
Examples of useful herbal remedies abound. Herbal extracts from goldenseal and echinacea may be effective natural antibiotics. Raw garlic has potent antibacterial effects. Kyolic, an aged garlic product, does not kill bacteria directly but does boost immune function, enabling the body to fight off some chronic bacterial infections.Gulf War Syndrome
Between August of 1990 and March 1991, the U.S. deployed more than 697,000 troops in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. The majority of the troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, or aboard ships in the Red Sea. Of these, more than 100,000, (1 in 7) have reported serious health concerns to the Department of Veterans Affairs or the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, some family members of those stricken gradually display signs and symptoms of the syndrome, suggesting an infectious explanation of the illness.
Drs. Garth Nicolson, Ph.D. and Nancy Nicolson, Ph.D., have released the heartening news, gathered from their research at the Institute for Molecular Medicine, Huntington Beach CA., that thousands of soldiers are being helped, when mycoplasma infections are identified and treated.
Appropriate cyclic treatments with antibiotics or other medications that suppress chronic infections have resulted in improvement and even recovery in most of the individuals treated.
Apart from an ugly list of side effects that commonly accompany antibiotic therapy, antibiotics can disrupt the friendly flora that resides symbiotically in the gut. Gut flora represents several pounds of highly sensitive material that is regarded as immune modulating. Disturbance of "friendly flora" can antagonize the immune and inflammatory process. Re-inoculation of the gut with cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus/Lactobacillus rhamnosus/Bifidobacterium longum/Bifidobacterium breve is vital to recovery.
To be successful, each patient must comply with a complementary health approach that employs the best of orthodox and natural medicine. Gulf War veterans presenting with mycoplasmas typically display nutritional deficiencies and poor absorption that must be corrected. Mega vitamin/mineral therapy is warranted and sublingual or liquid supplements should be considered:
Vitamin C, which detoxifies most heavy metals (5 to 15 grams daily, in divided doses)
Vitamin E (600 to 1000 IU daily)
CoQ10 (50 to 150 mg daily)
Bioflavonoids (200 mg three times a day)
Choline (1000 mg daily, in divided doses)
Inositol (750 mg daily)
Vitamin B5 (500 to 1500 mg daily)
PABA (500 to 1000 mg daily)
Sublingual vitamin B12 (1000 mcg daily dose)
Flaxseed or fish oils (1 tablespoon daily)
Minerals, such as zinc (50 mg daily), calcium (1000 mg per day), and selenium (up to 300 mcg/day)
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a potent detoxifier. Use 2 capsules (300 mg each) three times a day with meals.
Use 500 mg of L-cysteine, L-tyrosine, L-glutamine, and L-carnitine daily, on an empty stomach.NOTE:
Minerals should be taken apart from antibiotics, because minerals can affect antibiotic absorption.
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