Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Wisdom Wednesday: Antibiotic Countermeasures
So you took that antibiotic. Maybe you needed it, maybe not but that boat has sailed. Now what do you do?
This is a frequent issue in my office. The sooner you take steps to undo any potential damage, the better. Antibiotics often disrupt the microbiome. This can lead to dysbiosis, IBS, autoimmune disease and even death through overgrowth of C. difficle.
First, has the infection you were treating with antibiotics resolved? If it was an upper respiratory infection (URI) about 90% of URIs are viral and will not respond to antibiotic therapy. That’s a common complaint on entry for many of my patients – the antibiotic didn’t work.
Colloidal silver is a good place to start. It is effective against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. I am a big fan of the Netti Pot, a device designed to irrigate the sinuses with Kosher salt in distilled water. I just substitute colloidal silver for the Kosher salt. Use 1-part silver to 10-parts distilled water. It burns like hell fire for a minute or two, but relief from the congestion is immediate. Patients often report that they can feel they are healing immediately after the first application. It is vital that you use distilled water, tap water may contain nematodes that can grow in the sinus cavities. Why people continue to drink that stuff is beyond me.
The next step is the short term use of a probiotic. I suggest L. acidophilus as it is beneficial for most of us. If you developed diarrhea while taking the antibiotic, start the probiotic during antibiotic therapy. Just take it about three hours after the medication. If you stool remains normal, start the probiotic after completing the antibiotic. Take one tablet after each meal. Please do not take probiotics long term, a couple of weeks is plenty.
Another option is to take a pre-biotic. Slippery Elm Bark is my favorite. Pre-biotics will feed the healthy bacteria already present in your gut so there’s no guess work as to which probiotic to take. The only contraindication to soluble fiber is SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). If you feel you are having an allergic reaction to soluble fiber, please be evaluated for SIBO.
The third step is to support your immune system. I recommend daily supplementation of Echinacea. There is an urban myth that Echinacea cannot be taken daily. If you search for the key word “Echinacea” on my blog site, it will bring up past blogs on this subject. Echinacea is an immune modulator, not an immune stimulator. Frankly, to start taking Echinacea at the first sign of an infection has very limited value. You need to start it two weeks prior to the onset for maximum benefit.
About 80% of herbs sold in the U.S. are worthless. Search “herbal quality” on my blog site for more information. Fortunately, good quality Echinacea will make your tongue tingle within a minute of contact. If your Echinacea doesn’t have that effect, throw it away and buy another brand. I purchase most of my herbs from Australia, but Gaia Herbs is a good U.S. company and their products are available in many health food stores.
The Bottom Line:
antibiotics continue to be overused, even when they are necessary, you must follow a few simple steps to try to undo the collateral damage from their use. If these steps do not resolve your symptoms seek qualified nutritional guidance.