Antibiotics – The Cost of a “Quick Fix”

By Molly Graham, BFA, BEd, HFCH, DMH

Antibiotics are a class of drug that most of us have taken in one form or another, but often without understanding what exactly we’ve been given and how it works. Now, with news reports about near-indestructible bacteria invading our hospitals, it seems the prediction made by Dr. Walter Gilbert, a medical doctor from Harvard who won the 1980 Nobel Prize in chemistry, was spot-on:

“There may be a time down the road when 80 per cent of infections will be resistant to all known antibiotics.”

There is no doubt that antibiotics are of great medical value – they have reduced illness from infectious diseases and have saved many lives. However these drugs, which suppress the growth of bacteria, have come with a major cost to our health. Routinely over-prescribed with no clear understanding of how to use them appropriately, antibiotics are creating a problem that we all need to be aware of so we can make more informed decisions about our own health.

The war against germs

Antibiotics came into widespread use in the 1950s. Their development was based on the “germ theory” of Louis Pasteur (the man who inspired the “pasteurization” process to kill bacteria in milk and other foods), which holds that all infections and contagious diseases are caused by germs. With his theory, Pasteur mistakenly assumed that blood is sterile until invaded by these disease-causing microbes.

Conflicting with Pasteur’s findings is research from other scientists like Antoine Bechamps, Guenter Enderlein, Gaston Naessens and Dr. Thomas M. Rau – a medical doctor and author of Biological Medicine. Through studies and clinical practice they have found that invading bacteria is usually not the true cause of disease. This microbe is already present in the blood and digestive tract, and it only causes us to become ill when our immune system can’t keep it in check. We naturally have several trillion intestinal bacteria that help us to absorb and process food, detect and kill foreign bacteria, and break up foreign proteins to prevent allergic responses. The presence of these bacteria is crucial to a healthy immune system.

It’s a fact that modern conventional medicine favours pharmaceuticals. Perhaps this is why antibiotics are often given for viral infections, in spite of the fact they are not effective against viruses. Yet, according to Dr. Rau, taking antibiotics for an acute virus (like a cold) changes it into a slow or chronic virus (like an allergy).

Antibiotics are also known to cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and yeast proliferation. This is because they kill the helpful bacteria as well as the harmful – we actually weaken our immune system a little more whenever we take them. Most drugs – as well as toxic chemicals, radiation, pollution, poor quality or inappropriate foods, poor digestion, emotional stress and poor lifestyle – can weaken our immune system by throwing our natural internal environment out of balance.

The good intestinal bacteria help us to digest our food. When we then are not able to break down our food properly, it causes a toxic buildup of undigested proteins and other substances that can cause allergic responses, blood platelet aggregations and an imbalance of the pH value of the blood.

Anyone who has taken antibiotics should consider replacing the “good” intestinal bacteria that’s been killed off. You can do that by adding to your diet probiotics, such as acidophilus and bifidus, which occur as live cultures in plain natural yogurt, and are also available in capsules. To encourage the growth of these bacteria, eat plenty of raw (pesticide-free) vegetables – the microbes feed on the cellulose contained in raw veggies.

How do we get ill, and better?

A German doctor, Dr. Hans-Heinrich Reckeweg, defines diseases as expressions of the battle of the organism against toxins in its attempt to counteract and expel them. In his book, Homotoxicology, he describes different stages in the progress of illness. The first phase is the excretion phase where a healthy body detoxifies through perspiration, urination and bowel movements (and when there are high levels of toxins, by vomiting and diarrhea). The second deposition phase occurs if excretion is too slow, or if it’s suppressed with antibiotics or medication to reduce fever.

The body then turns to an inner excretion process, which creates inflammation. If this inflammation is suppressed by drugs like anti-inflammatories or antibiotics, there will be a buildup of toxins in the body. After a time, the toxins can enter into the cells – Dr. Reckeweg calls this the impregnation phase. At this phase there is a change in cell function, causing such conditions as diabetes, goiter, hormone imbalances or heart problems. Long-term intoxication of cells can lead to irreversible damage and tissue degeneration or tumours. This is the degeneration phase.

According to Dr. Rau, bacteria are only partially killed by antibiotics and are able to change into bacterial forms that have no cell wall. These cell-wall deficient bacteria can be seen in a live blood sample viewed under a dark-field microscope. Helpful bacteria can also become cell-wall deficient with antibiotic use; when we over-use antibiotics we are actually creating new bacterial forms. These new bacteria are not fully recognized by our immune system and provoke only a partial immune response.

Most of the time when we are prescribed antibiotics, they are unnecessary. Rather, what is needed is to support the immune response to the overgrowth of bacteria. We need to take the time to heal – to rest, drink plenty of water, use vitamin C, and take immune-boosting herbs like golden seal, Echinacea and astragalus.

We are all paying the price, especially our children, for the overuse of antibiotics because we want a quick fix to our ailments instead of giving our bodies time and support to heal themselves. Next time you are ill, ask yourself if it is a really serious illness, or if you are just not willing to take the time and trouble to support the healing process.