While the issue of GMOs continues to draw debates worldwide, elsewhere on the planet, men, women, and children will die as a result of the effects of antibiotics.
All across the globe, citizens and countries are battling against huge conglomerate businesses over the issues of genetically-modified (GMO) foods and crops. The threat of GMOs is today’s cause of the moment, having outdistanced global warming’s battle cry of a decade ago. Worldwide, GMO rallies, marches, fund-raisers, and political agendas are a weekly occurrence. Yet, in spite of all the attention and concern that GMOs generate, the issues that they present pale in comparison to the cost in lives and suffering caused by antibiotics.
In 2010, The World Health Organization identified antimicrobial resistance as 1 of the 3 greatest threats to human health. Four years later, a subsequent World Health Organization (WHO) report issued in April, 2014, Dr. Shin Young-soo, WHO Regional Director, stated that, “Antibiotic resistance is one of the main threats to human health globally.” Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer of the UK, calls antibiotic-resitance a “catastrophic threat” and states that “Antimicrobial resistance is a ticking time-bomb not only for the UK but also for the world.” The U.S Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that, “Antimicrobial resistance is one of our most serious health threats.”
While GMOs are a fairly recent concern, antibiotic-induced resistance has been a concern since the early days of antibiotic use in the 1940s. Antibiotic-resistant pathogens kill more people than AIDS each year. More than a million people are infected with antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea each day. Infectious diseases remains the #1 health concern globally. Antibiotics however, have not created a decline in infectious diseases, they have driven them.
The WHO reports that approximately 60% of all deaths are preventable. Many of these diseases are linked to antibiotic use, directly or indirectly. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number one group of conditions causing death globally. Cardiovascular disease, along with obesity, cancers, and diabetes are four of the main global concerns that are linked to antibiotic use.
Consider this list of diseases and conditions linked to antibiotics: Increased cardiovascular disease, strokes, and death; Immune system suppression; Altered behavior; anxiety, and nervous system imbalances; Increased pathogenicity of Staph Aureus; Development of systemic allergic diseases; Increased risk of pancreatitis; Increases in Strep throat; Increased risk of sudden death; Increase risk of infections; Increased risk of breast cancer; Life-threatening colitis; Obesity; Kidney stones; Kidney damage; Asthma, Systemic lupus; Eye disorders; Cancer, Sepsis and Systemic inflammation; Colon Cancer; Increased susceptibility to disease; Arthritis; Nerve Damage; Lung damage; Nutrient deficiencies; Liver failure; and many more as yet to be determined effects.
All antibiotic use creates fungal candida, which in turn is linked to over 100 conditions and diseases.
China, a country whose development is leading the way to it becoming a global powerhouse, is also leading the way with antibiotic use, ten times that of the second leading consumer, the United States. Fungal candida has been found to be a cause of heart disease in children in Japan, as airborne candida from China drifts over to Japan on the air currents.
Antibiotics create damage in everyone who uses them. They destroy the foundation of health in the body by permanently altering the diversity of the human microbial flora. While GMOs may pass on antibiotic-resistant genes in a few of the people who consume them, antibiotics will create antibiotic resistant genes and microbes in everyone who uses them, and in every environment exposed to them. GMOs can pass on their genetics to other crops, but antibiotics will do the same much more readily and at a greater scale everywhere they are dispersed. The global scale of antibiotic use in animals is even more staggering. All use eventually passes out into the environment.
GMOs are not yet being consumed by everyone, while everyone is having multiple antibiotic exposures through foods, liquids, and even via airborne routes throughout their lifetime, and in some instances, on a daily basis.
In spite of all the warnings and concerns by governments and citizen groups about the effects of antibiotics globally, they remain one of the “sacred cows” of the medical community. Without them, the usefulness of the medical community would be greatly diminished. When faced with the increasing number of patients for whom they have no answer, MDs will consistently prescribe antibiotics without justification. Dame Sally Davies adds, ‘There is evidence that some GPs are dishing out more than they need to for medical clinical disease. We’ve clearly got it wrong, and I would argue that GPs do need more training. If we don’t take action, deaths will go up and up and modern medicine as we know it will be lost.’
Over 50% of antibiotic prescriptions in adults, and as much as 80% of prescriptions in children, are considered to be unnecessary. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the antibiotic prescribing is rising, not declining. Lead researcher, Dr. Jeffrey A. Linder, a physician and researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, found an antibiotic prescribing rate of 73% for bronchitis, when it should be 0%. They also found that sore throats only require antibiotics in 10% of the cases and the national rate is 60%.
If you ask an MD about who’s to blame for the increase in antibiotic resistance around the world, they lay the blame on the patient citing that most patients don’t finish taking their antibiotics as prescribed, as though this leaves an opening for antibiotic-resistance to develop. There is no science to back this type of statement however, as antibiotic resistance develops from the very first pill, the very first exposure. Even fungal candida develops during antibiotic use, not afterward. As Dr. Linder points out, “We know that antibiotic prescribing, particularly to patients who are not likely to benefit from it, increases the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a growing concern both here in the United States and around the world.”
Today, there will be no fundraiser, march, or rally concerning the vast array of problems caused by antibiotics. Government institutions and figures will continue to ask doctors and nations to curb antibiotic use without any measurable response, as has been the case over the past 20+ years. More preventable deaths and suffering will occur. Costs associated with antibiotic use will continue to escalate.
The responsibility in many cases will rest with each person. It can be a difficult area to navigate, and unavoidable in some cases. Given the prevalence of antibiotic in the environment, the best recourse may be to constantly or periodically correct for the imbalances that antibiotics create in our body. One successful approach that I’ve used with patients over the past 20+ years is the Candida Plan. Daily probiotics and a wide variety of Non-GMO organic foods can help. We need to daily address the complexities of the world that we’ve inherited and created by following sound practices regarding our health. We need to make wiser choices.
Jeffrey S. McCombs, DC