The latest statistics about the amount of antibiotics used in the production of our food in the U.S. is staggering, to say the least.
New England Journal of Medicine, December, 2013, just published a paper
showing that 80% of all the antibiotics used in America ,and that is a
lot, are used in some form of agriculture. In other words, food
production. Yes, what we eat on a daily basis.
So, how much
antibiotics do we use in food production? Between livestock, aquaculture
(think fish), and crops we use 30,272,000 pounds per year. You read
that right, over 30 million pounds per year. Now, think of the average
dose a human might take for a sinus infection. That would be
approximately 10 grams for an average 10 regimen, or 0.022046226 pounds.
That equates to 1.39 billion doses of antibiotics in human doses. Yes,
billions. Now do you see the problem brewing?
I am sure you have heard the term MRSA which stands for Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. And
we have also heard the horror stories of the poor folks inflicted with
this malady. We have been warned to wash our hands and take other
measures to stay safe. All good ideas. Now we have another problem
bacteria, and most likely due to the over use of the antibiotics (see
Enter carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Carbapenum
is a class of antibiotics that is usually thought to be the 'drugs of
last resort'. In other words, something you don't want to have to use.
The enterobacteriaceae family has such members as E. coli and Klebsiella
species, all of which are normally found in our intestines and normally
cause no problems.
So, why do we need to use all these
antibiotics? Because most of our food animals are grown in something
called CAFOs, or Confined animal feeding operations (read as just
totally unsanitary). If you put any animal in close confinement, and
feed them foods that cause them intestinal distress, you are going to
have a mess on your hands. Let you imagination go here. Due to this
'mess' of animal fecal matter, which contains the the enterobacteriaceae
species, we have to use antibiotics to keep the poor animals from
becoming infected. And when you are using over 30 billion pounds of
antibiotics, you can see that some of the bacteria are going to survive
and be antibiotic resistant. So, when we get infected with one of these
'Super Bugs', we are in big trouble.
Such big trouble in fact that
the CDC just issued an alert to high risk patients. Healthy people
usually do not get CRE, so you want to stay as healthy as possible. We
will talk about that more in a minute. It is the people that are dealing
with a long term illness that are most at risk. Patients who use
various medical devices, those using breathing machines, catheters for
urinary problems, and those that have inter-venous catheter for long
term medication delivery, and, of course, those on long term antibiotic
therapy. Also those having to be housed in long term care facilities.
I stated before, healthy people don't usually become infected with
these organisms. This is a red flag to use who are healthy indicating
that we must protect our health at all costs. One of the best methods of
doing this is a simple blood test, the CBC, to determine if your immune
system is properly functioning. If there are signs of a sluggish or low
functioning immune system there are steps you can take to strengthen
that immune function, but you have to know first. But I feel healthy,
isn't that enough? Unfortunately, no. We see people that, from all
outward signs, look healthy, yet their immune system is a mess. These
are the ones that are the most venerable because they will never see it
coming until it is too late.
Remember, a simple CBC can alert us
to upcoming problems. We are not talking about exotic testing, just
routine lab-work and proper interpretation. This is where just being in
range may not be good enough. Have you physician do this test for you at
least once a year, more often if you are anywhere near the lower
quartile of acceptable functioning. If you are having difficulty getting
this lab-work done, call Doctor's Nutrition and we can arrange that for
Due to the overuse of antibiotics we strongly suggest eating
as much organically grown food as possible. Organically grown food does
not use antibiotics in the process. We also suggest taking a strong
probiotic on a daily basis.
At Doctor's Nutrition our job is to empower you in your quest to Live Healthy and Be Healthy.