Why Natural Rearers Avoid Antibiotics, NSAIDs, Steroids and Vaccines

Alongside vaccines, antibiotics are seen as a wonder of modern medicine, and there’s no doubt that they have saved countless lives, mine included. Antibiotics are effective against many forms of harmful bacteria. Obviously, they won’t help if you or your dog have a virus. Taking antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses not only doesn’t work, but it can also have dangerous side effects — over time, this practice helps create bacteria that are harder to kill.

Frequent and inappropriate use of antibiotics can causes bacteria or other microbes to mutate so antibiotics don’t work against them. This is called antibiotic resistance. Unlike higher organisms, bacteria can transfer DNA not only to bacteria that isn’t their offspring, but also to bacteria of other species. In effect, it seems, bacteria have a communications network that tips off same and other forms of bacteria in the battle to colonise mammalian systems.

Treating resistant bacteria requires higher doses of medicine or stronger antibiotics. Because of antibiotic overuse, certain bacteria have become resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics available today.

Antibiotic resistance is a widespread problem which the American CDC calls ‘one of the world’s most pressing public health problems’. Among those that are becoming harder to treat are pneumococcal infections (which cause pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and meningitis), skin infections, and tuberculosis.

Antibiotic resistance is not only a serious concern for humans, but it’s also a growing problem for our dogs. Vets are seeing dramatic increases in bacteria strains that are resistant to multiple classes of drugs. There could come a time when effective antibiotics will no longer be available.

According to Shane Ellison, MS, a pharmaceutical chemist and author of Over the Counter Natural Cures:

“Today, antibiotics are being prescribed for any discomfort imaginable, including the occasional sniffle, cough, or earache. In 1954, two million pounds of antibiotics were produced in the United States. That production now exceeds 50 million pounds. The CDC estimate that more than 30 percent of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary, which equates to more than 50 million overdoses. And … many sufferers are wrongly prescribed antibiotics after diagnostic testing to confirm bacterial infection is bypassed. A grim reality has emerged: antibiotics aren’t miracle cures.
“Antibiotics also put 142,000 people into the hospital each year. Those between the ages of fifteen and forty-five are most at risk. Kidney and liver failure—along with allergic reactions, intestinal discomfort, and psychological disturbances—are common outcomes.”

Antibiotics can harm the sensitive balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut

Human and dog intestines contain around 100 trillion bacteria of various strains – both good and bad. Many people, especially children and dogs, are vulnerable to the side effects of unnecessary antibiotics, including lasting changes to their gut flora. Aggressive use of antibiotics, while potentially lifesaving if there’s a serious infection, can wipe out many of the good gut bacteria while leaving those immune to antibiotics to flourish. This is the case with Clostridium difficile (C diff) diarrheal infections.

Clostridium difficile is a species of bacteria that can be found in the intestinal tract of humans and many animals, including pets, farm animals and wildlife. C diff causes inflammation in the large bowels of dogs. Infection occurs when there is both the presence of numerous C diff bacteria and a reduction of friendly bacteria which normally exist in the colon of a healthy dog.

Dogs may also shed C diff in their faeces without showing symptoms of infection. The bacteria is capable of surviving harsh environmental conditions. Their spores are difficult to clean or remove. Once ingested by a new host, they pass through the digestive system to the colon. In the colon, spores can wake from the dormant state and begin to reproduce.

The effects of leaky gut

Leaky gut is a controversial condition, not wholly accepted by conventional medical practitioners who, it appears, haven’t yet seen the research. However, holistic practitioners claim that the gut can become overly porous, affecting the lining of the intestines and creating a dysfunctional environment for proper digestion. This, in itself, leads to further problems.

Leaky gut is also called ‘increased intestinal permeability’, because with leaky gut, the intestines lose some of their ability to filter nutrients and other substances. When this happens, particles of incompletely digested foods, bacteria, and other waste byproducts, may leak through the intestines into the bloodstream.

The intestines are lined with cells that are sealed together by something called ‘tight junctions’. In healthy intestines, these junctions work like gatekeepers, allowing or stopping particles leaking through the gut and into the circulatory system.

With leaky gut syndrome, particles can slip through the cells and tight junctions and literally leak into the bloodstream or lymphatic system, and move freely throughout the body.

When the body recognises these foreign substances and detects something is wrong, the immune system tries to fight what it perceives to be danger in the intestines. This causes inflammation.

In this situation, the ability to digest food and absorb nutrients is decreased, and the immune system can become compromised. When the body is continually trying to repair itself from the effects of leaky gut, it can be caught in a never-ending cycle, especially when the source of the problem is not diagnosed.

For example, unrecognised food sensitivities can create leaky gut, and if the same foods are constantly eaten, a self- perpetuating, inflammatory cycle will be triggered, and the intestinal lining can’t heal.

How food sensitivities arise

Inflammation causes the spaces between the cells of the gut wall to become larger than usual. Protein molecules can then traverse the membranes and be absorbed before they have a chance to be completely broken down. The immune system starts making antibodies against these larger molecules because it thinks they’re foreign invaders.
Antibodies are now made against proteins that were previously harmless foods. The immune system becomes hyper-stimulated and over-reactive to substances that aren’t supposed to be dangerous.

Humans and animals have proteins and antigens very similar to those within foods, bacteria, parasites, candida and fungi. If the immune system is unable to tell the difference between self-tissue and foreign substances due to leaky gut, normally healthy substances become antigens, creating inflammation.

Autoantibodies (self-attacking antibodies) are thus created and inflammation becomes chronic.

If this inflammation occurs in a joint, autoimmune arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis) develops. If it occurs in the brain, myalgic encephalomyelitis (chronic fatigue syndrome) may be the result. If it occurs in the blood vessels, vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) is the resulting autoimmune problem.

If the antibodies attack the lining of the gut itself, the result may be Crohn’s disease. If it occurs in the lungs, asthma is triggered on a delayed basis every time the individual consumes a food to which he has become sensitised. Practically any organ or body tissue can become affected by food allergies created by a leaky gut.

In dogs, the symptoms typically appear on the skin, with itching and hotspots. The ears can become inflamed. In severe cases, the head will swell.

Because the foods can trigger delayed reactions, sometimes up to 72 hours later, it can often be very hard to pinpoint the food an individual is sensitive to.

IgA antibody damage

This ongoing inflammation also damages the protective coating of IgA antibodies which are normally present in mucous and in a healthy gut. Since IgA helps us to ward off infections, we become less resistant to viruses, bacteria, parasites and candida.

Although IgA antibody deficiency is thought to be largely inherited, “it has also been associated with a variety of anti-rheumatic and anti-epileptic drugs. In about half the cases the deficiency is apparently reversible after cessation of therapy, although full recovery may take months or even years. IgAD was induced by multiple anti-rheumatic drugs in a patient with rheumatoid arthritis, suggesting that selected individuals may be genetically predisposed to develop this complication. On the other hand, different drugs with a common molecular mechanism of action (ACE inhibitors) may actually vary in their capacity to induce IgAD in a given patient.”

As well as antibiotics, vaccines can also cause destruction of IgA antibodies. In a scholarly scientific book called ‘Autoantibodies’ by Y Schoenfeld, ME Gershwin, and PL Meroni, the authors wrote:

“Autoimmune diseases are characterized by the presence of auto-reactive lymphocytes in affected tissues and circulating autoantibodies, immunoglobulins reacting against self-antigens.” In other words, the presence of autoantibodies is associated with autoimmune disease. Studies (6) conducted by Purdue University confirmed that dogs develop autoantibodies post-vaccination.

Shoenfeld and colleagues added: “The mere detection of autoantibodies in an asymptomatic person or in an apparently healthy subject should not be neglected. It is now appreciated that autoantibodies may predict the eventual development of a full-blown autoimmunity, such as specific HLA, IgA and complement components deficiencies…

“Involvement of autoantibodies in disease progression and complications, especially in the form of immunocomplexes, is widely accepted.” Schoenfeld and colleagues name vaccines as the leading cause of autoimmunity in this modern world.

So with IgA deficiencies, we and our dogs are set up for inflammation. HLA class I deficiency is associated with skin ulcers, sinusitis and chronic lung disease – all inflammatory conditions. My mother-in-law Gladys developed all of these conditions, and was hospitalised, when her blood pressure drugs were switched to a newer product. She now has symptoms of leaky gut, plus food intolerances.

When a leaky gut is produced, microbes are able to invade the bloodstream and colonise almost any body tissue or organ. Leaky gut also causes malabsorption and nutritional deficiencies.

Some puppies arrive in their new homes with food sensitivities, and leaky gut is often behind this. My suspicion is that their mothers suffered from gut dysbiosis (imbalance of good and bad bacteria). Perhaps they were given antibiotics at some point, and antibiotics can decimate the microbial balance, as can NSAIDs and steroids. This imbalance would then be passed to her puppies which can, in turn, lead to a harmful yeast overgrowth. Yeasts are a form of fungi. The yeasts within the gut then create leaky gut syndrome.

Other things like radiation and chemotherapy can wreak havoc with intestinal flora, or the good bacteria that keep the digestive system functioning properly.

Holistic practitioners are beginning to recognise that leaky gut syndrome is almost always associated with autoimmune disease. In fact, reversing symptoms of autoimmune disease is dependent upon healing the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Any other treatment is just symptom suppression.

So, as you see, whilst conventional drugs are powerful and frequently perform important functions, they do so at a price.

The suggestion is that there are other, more natural, solutions that can be used in most cases, leaving the heavy-duty, and sometimes life-saving, conventional bombs as a last resort.

Immunity in the Gut

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract has a major role to play in the immune response, and is a major factor when you’re seeking to avoid and/or heal inflammatory conditions. It has three main functions:

• digestion
• absorption of nutrients
• preventing toxins from harming the body

The gastrointestinal system is the main route of contact with the external environment because it’s dealing with the food we put into our mouths, so it constantly meets external stimuli. Some of these are capable of causing disease: bacteria, protozoa (single-cell organisms or parasites), fungi, viruses, or toxic substances.

The mucosal surfaces of the body (think mucous), including the gut, are thin and permeable barriers to the inside of the body. They are involved in gas exchange (the lungs), food absorption (the gut), sensory activities (eyes, nose, mouth, and throat), and reproduction (uterus and vagina).

Because the surface linings of these sites need to be permeable, they’re vulnerable to infection. It’s not surprising that the vast majority of infectious agents invade the body through these routes. These all have tightly controlled and monitored blood/organ barriers and are close to lymph nodes.

The gut acts as a portal of entry to a vast array of foreign substances – substances that we mostly call food, but also germs. The immune system has evolved to avoid a vigorous immune response to food antigens on the one hand and, on the other, to detect and kill harmful organisms gaining entry through the gut.

To complicate matters further, most of the gut, as well as other mucosal areas, are heavily colonised by commensal (good) microorganisms, which live in harmony with their host. These bacteria are beneficial in many ways. They provide protection against harmful bacteria (which also resides in the gut) by occupying the space allotted to bacteria in the gut. They compete aggressively (not just passively) with other organisms, and not just for space. Also note that something helpful in the gut can be dangerous if it gets into the bloodstream and interior organs. Good bacteria also serve a nutritional role, synthesising vitamin K and some of the B vitamins.

GALT

The gastrointestinal tract’s immune system is often referred to as gut-associated lymphoid tissue (or GALT) and works to protect the body from invasion.

The crucial role of the gastrointestinal system is shown by the huge number of immune cells within it. GALT represents almost 70% of the entire immune system, and around 80% of plasma cells (IgA-bearing cells) reside in GALT. IgA antibodies are a key first line of defence against invasion by inhaled and eaten pathogens at the vulnerable mucosal surfaces. IgA antibodies also reside in the blood.

IgM antibodies are also associated with the mucosa. They are the first antibodies to appear in response to exposure.

When facing a large challenge, GALT – the immune response in the gut – can increase intestinal permeability, sometimes causing damage to the intestinal mucosa. This can give rise to conditions such as coeliac disease and food sensitivity.

As mentioned previously, good gut flora competes against bad bacteria and, worse, fungi, for space and nutrients, preventing the bad bacteria’s colonisation of the gut. The balance of intestinal flora is dramatically altered by antibiotics and some other drugs. Taking an antibiotic kills large numbers of good gut bacteria as well as the bad bacteria. This allows bad bacteria, which wouldn’t otherwise be able to compete successfully with the normal flora, to grow in the gut.

One example of a bacterium that grows in the antibiotic-treated gut and can cause a severe infection is Clostridium difficile (C-diff); this produces two toxins, which can cause severe bloody diarrhoea and mucosal injury.

Alcohol, aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen in humans or Metacam and Rimadyl in dogs, are well-known irritants of the bowel lining. They can damage the seals between cells, allowing some substances to pass through the gaps and into the bloodstream. This is very, very bad.

How food sensitivities create further problems

Inflammation causes the spaces between the cells of the gut wall to become larger than usual. Protein molecules can then cross the membranes and be absorbed into the bloodstream before they have a chance to be completely broken down. The immune system then starts making antibodies against these larger molecules because it thinks they’re foreign invaders.

The result is that antibodies are made against proteins that were previously harmless foods. The immune system becomes hyper-stimulated and over-reactive to substances that are not normally dangerous.

IgA antibody damage

This ongoing inflammation also damages the protective coating of IgA antibodies which are normally present in mucous and in a healthy gut. Since IgA helps us to ward off infections, we become less resistant to viruses, bacteria, parasites and candida.
Microbes are then able to invade the bloodstream and colonise almost any body tissue or organ. Leaky gut also causes malabsorption and nutritional deficiencies.

So, you see, if you can use natural products which are less likely to cause harm, then it would make absolute sense to do so.

 

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