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Tag: antibiotics

Antibiotic Exposure in Infancy Linked to Food Allergies

A new study shows that children who were given antibiotics in babyhood are almost twice as likely to grow into kids with food allergies. The authors, from South Carolina College of Pharmacy in Columbia, theorize that the early disruption of normal flora and fauna in the digestive tract by antibiotics lead to a loss of oral tolerance levels and development of allergies as the child grows.antibiotics in babies linked to food allergies

I can’t say I was shocked to see this information, though it’s always good to see clinical results in a scientific study like this to convince people.

When we take antibiotics, the drugs kill all the bacteria in our body – the good along with the bad. Good bacteria assist us in normal digestive processes and are necessary for complete digestion and assimilation of nutrients into our bodies. We can replenish good bacteria by taking probiotics, but they are limited and unfortunately cannot precisely recreate the complex biome that should be inside our guts.

In Chinese medicine, it is taught that the digestive system in children is not fully developed until they reach six years of age. The Chinese realize that it takes time to build up the bacteria and other life forms in our guts that help keep us healthy.

The study noticed that many of the study participants where given multiple rounds of antibiotics as babies to treat infected eczema. Eczema can usually be controlled with dietary changes in either the breast-feeding mother or the type of infant formula. Babies battling eczema should be tested for food allergies and food sensitivities before they get to a point of multiple infections and repeated rounds of antibiotics that set them up for more food allergies and sensitivities.

The reason I was not surprised to see the results of this study is that I believe a pre-natal course of inter venous antibiotics administered during the ninth month of my pregnancy to address an infection of listeria resulted in my baby’s 41 food and chemical sensitivities. I know it was a necessary action because listeria likes to take up residence in the placenta and cause stillbirth, but none of my medical caregivers ever mentioned how it might affect my baby’s life once he was born. The entire focus was on getting him born alive, and as a result of the infection and treatment he suffered terribly in constant pain and discomfort for the first six years of his life.

If your baby is suffering, it may be due to what he is eating. There are things we can do to help ease his pain and heal his body even if he is still breastfeeding. Feel free to contact me for a free consultation about what can be done.

What causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) often stumps medical doctors. I see many IBS sufferers who carry thick files of medical records testifying to all the specialists they’ve seen, to all the medications they’ve tried, and to all the dietary and other advice they’ve received. IBS is a serious condition that can cause great physical distress to a sufferer.

In my experience as a naturopath, IBS can usually be traced to one or a combination of the following problems:

  • antibiotic usage.
  • bacterial infection.
  • parasitic infection.
  • enzymatic deficiency/intolerance.
  • decrease in oral tolerance thresholds, otherwise known as food sensitivities.

Let’s look at each of these a bit more closely and see where the solutions to IBS may lie.

Bacterial infection

If you have a bacterial infection, the culprit could be salmonella, e.coli, c.dif, or another pesky and sadly-too-common bacteria. Usually these will appear when a medical professional takes a culture and looks for them. Typically, these tests have already been done by the time a client comes to see me, and if they show positive results a course of antibiotics can make a big difference.

Antibiotic use

Of course, a round of antibiotics will kill off not only the bad guys, but also a lot of the good bacteria you need to assist in digesting your foods. Probiotics can help balance this, though sometimes you need to try several types to find the one you need.

Parasitic infection

International travel, camping, gardening… there are lots of ways you can get infected by parasites. Once, the entire city of Milwaukee was infected with cryptosporidium through the water supply, so don’t look at this as a stigma or judgement on your personal hygiene.

The host cycle of a parasitic infection can include acute phases and chronic phases. The life cycle of a parasite includes eggs, larvae, and adult stages, and it is important to target all three when eradicating the infection. Western anti-parasitic medication — Flagyl — will only get the adults, and it is not effective against all species, either. I advocate a gentle, herbal program for longer than 15 days to see the best effects. Then, you may still need to repeat the herbs 6 months to one year later, if the symptoms reappear.

By the way, testing for parasites is notorious for false negatives. If you suspect parasites, I always advocate doing a parasite cleanse without bothering with expensive, unreliable testing.

Enzymatic deficiency

The villi are the little hairs that line the insides of your stomach. Their job is to sense the food that you eat and call for the correct enzymatic formula to digest the food into small enough particles so that the villi in your intestines can absorb the nutrition and assimilate it into your body. When you are chronically inflamed, the villi get smashed and flattened and are unable to do their job well. The food does not get broken down enough, absorption and assimilation doesn’t happen, and deficiencies develop. Enzymatic deficiencies cover intolerance, too, such as lactose or gluten intolerance.

Supplementation with plant-based digestive enzymes can help correct this and enable nutrient absorption.

Decrease in oral tolerance, aka food sensitivities

I listed this last because I believe food sensitivities can be incited by any of the above-mentioned conditions, or perhaps you are simply a sensitive person who has unwittingly crossed their tolerance threshold through other circumstances.

Food sensitivities can manifest in a whole host of issues caused from inflammation in the body where it shouldn’t be: migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS, arthritis, MS, etc., etc., etc…. Food sensitivities likely play a role in every chronic condition that has inflammation at the root level.

The hopeful thing is that, if you can figure out the cause and address it appropriately, you can eliminate the irritable in IBS and lead a pain-free, “normal” life.

Food Dyes and Colors (FD&C) in Medicines

Why, oh why, do pharmaceutical companies add artificial colors to our medications?

Seriously, who was it that decreed that Penicillin and its antibiotic derivatives must be pink? Is it really important that Liquid Children’s Tylenol be dyed red? How necessary is it to boost the color of cough syrup to purple? Why does the Sudafed pill need to be coated red?

If you are sensitive to some of the “approved” Food Dyes & Colors you might have a hard time finding both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription meds that are dye-free.

When my kids had strep throat earlier this year, we were forced to accept the red food dyes that made the Keflex liquid pink along with the necessary antibiotics. I could time my son’s reaction to the food dyes by the truly evil mood that appeared 7-8 hours after taking a dose. Since this is a typical effect that food dyes have on him, we knew to expect it and wait it out until it passed, almost an hour later. We were hugely thankful when we completed the 10-day antibiotic course and his happy personality returned.

In the quest to take my historically weak-stomached 8-year-old to a family reunion on a cruise ship, I assembled various natural motion sickness remedies and made a trip to Walgreen’s to select an over-the-counter medication. Of the 8 brands/types of OTC anti-motion sickness meds on the shelf, only two were free of yellow food dye.

But, I digress from the original question: why do drug makers add ingredients to medicines that are not medicinal?

It drives me crazy.