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I’m grateful for antibiotics as my status states, but what else happened?

Monday, March 10, 2014

It was quite a coincidence to read the following article in the NY Times on day 7 of my penicillin regimen.
The Fat Drug

I knew that antibiotics were given routinely to animals.
I did NOT know HOW LONG AGO this became accepted practice.
I did NOT know that the drugs were delivered constantly in their feed.
I did NOT know that increased weight was a side effect. (I thought that was a result of added hormones)
I did NOT know that tests were once done on humans, including children.

I learned that Alexander Fleming discovered penicillan.
The article states that on a visit to the USA, he was told about the agricultural uses of these drugs
… Fleming seemed disturbed by the thought of applying that logic to humans. “I can’t predict that feeding penicillin to babies will do society much good,” he said. “Making people larger might do more harm than good.”

Then the tone of the article changes with the statement.

“Of course, while farm animals often eat a significant dose of antibiotics in food, the situation is different for human beings. By the time most meat reaches our table, it contains little or no antibiotics”

I wonder if this is really true?

Over-prescription of antibiotics is said to be the cause of the emergence of “superbugs”
Now it’s also being investigated as one factor in the increase in obesity?

The problem I have with the last premise is that antibiotics were prescribed in the 50s almost automatically during doctor visits. I remember “mycin” and “sulfa” and “penicillin,” the last one usually by injection. Yet overweight or obese children were rare.

We were grateful for those miracle drugs. I had chronic respiratory problems. Of course no one considered the effect of my constant exposure to cigarette smoke. Even the doctor was smoking.

We’ve learned a lot since then. We still have a lot to learn.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Cipro has caused so much damage to my leg muscles and put a friend in a wheelchair (after only his third dose). Since then I have read and learned much about antibiotics and how only recently was it learned how antibiotics wipe out our gut flora. Docs now tell me it will take at least two years hopefully to restore my system using extensive supplementation - and that doesn't include the muscle damage (unsure of what has happened to dna due to cipro). And these are medical docs...the same ones who prescribe the antibiotics. Thankfully I have God to take care of me so you know I'm not worried but I'm not even allowed to be prescribed antibiotics as of now.
    1274 days ago
    I very much doubt the claim in the article that, by the time factory-farmed meat makes it to the table, it contains "little or no antibiotics." I'm sure the agribusinesses would like us to believe that. Antibiotics have saved many lives, for sure, and they do have value, but there is absolutely a big down side to them.

    And there are more and more "superbugs," to the point that there is a real possibility of infections developing that there are no antibiotics to treat. Very scary stuff. I try to avoid them if at all possible, and I admit that I try to buy local, antibiotic-free meat at the farmer's market as much as possible.

    Also of interest to me - my youngest son used to be far and away the healthiest of my three kids (not now, of course). When he went to the ER for what ended up being diagnosis of his tumor, they kept asking if he was allergic to any meds, and I kept saying that I didn't know, he had never had any. I didn't realize at the time how extremely rare that was. Even though the doctors surely know the dangers of over prescribing antibiotics, it seems that they still do it.
    1295 days ago
    Even routine use of antibacterial handsoaps may be linked to development of "superbugs".

    I can remember how hugely expensive those penicillin drugs were in the 50s and 60s -- a real burden for my parents.
    1295 days ago
    We sure have a lot to learn and you are helping a lot thanks.

    "in my day" in the 60's and 70's we had tv from 6-10pm and were outside all day only to come home and sleep all night.
    WE ate meat cooked in animal fat and bacon and eggs and fried bread and pork--- chicken at Christmas and a 'roast' on sundays with left overs in our lunches.

    We also ate biccies and cakes and ice cream too. We weren't obese then.

    I'm often reminded of the Wall-ee movie where the people had to be in floating wheelchairs as they had never walked.

    While our supermarket food providers only see profit not content it does beg the thoughts of buyers to be vigilent.
    1295 days ago
    interesting blog always is,
    I have had huge doses of antibiotics to kill bacteria in my gut, (no success) and in the past few years, have fought fungal infection in my ear, and fungus loves antibiotics, and have been well few for months until they finally discovered what my problem is, funny, my ear doctor doses my ear with different powders, and such, but also paints it with gentian violet, which I remember my school had outbreaks of impetigo ( I think that was what they called it, sores on our mouth and lips, sometimes bigger, always sore, anyway, I believe they finally have got rid of mine, and 2 more months and they will replace my ear drum, and then hopefully my hearing will be coming back, maybe not 100 percent, but much better than it is now.
    1295 days ago
    Not only that, but the over prescribing of drugs causes or intensifies allergies. My sister nearly died at age 19 when the doctors prescribed a mega dose of penicillin after her open heart surgery. She had taken it for at least 12 years prior.
    I am allergic to statins and had my dear Steve hadn't pitched a fit about prescribing the same "crap" when they tried to give me a newer version of statin drugs. The cardiologist said good thing he did, or I may have preceded him in death.
    Great blog, says we need more studies done on all and ORGANIC is the wiser way to go.
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    1296 days ago
    Too many hormones coming for different sources. No meat for me, nor milk. When I feed the kiddies, no red meat, only pork, chicken and turkey. Altering our corn and soy is not much better. The govt protects the farming community before it considers health.

    Pass it on.

    1296 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    Very interesting article.

    For years I have attributed some of my ongoing health issues with overload of antibiotics in my childhood. I suffered from chronic tonsillitis and was given penicillin for years in addition to tetracycline for acne (giant, pink horse pills). Had my tonsils out at age 21 and ENT was puzzled at why this had not happened early on. Me too. Didn't think to question family doctor or parents.

    Now allergic to most antibiotics.

    Hope your CRUD clears up soon. I'm going on Day 7 of CRUD and Day 5 of an antibiotic without much relief.


    1296 days ago
    I wonder if anyone tested the meat before and after processing and cooking to see if that claim about it containing little or no(ha ha) antibiotics is true. And we won't even get into a discussion on the over use of antibacterial hand sanitizers, which by the way make great fire starters! Good blog!
    1296 days ago
  • DR1939
    I was lucky in that I always had physicians who did not readily prescribe antibiotics. In addition, none of my family was susceptible to respiratory infections, so there was not that need for medications.
    1296 days ago
    I knew that penicillin and others were overprescribed when I was a kid in late 50's and 60's but did not realize some of the other things. I think we also have a lot to learn. But I also think those medicines do have their place, we (or the drs) just have to know it and not prescribe it like they used to. But for some infections they are the best defense still.
    1296 days ago
    Interesting article. Thanks for sharing. It would be nice if op-ed pieces like this would list references for the sources of the material. From what I learned working in a lab, antibiotics are heat sensitive such that once a product is cooked the antibiotics are rendered inactive.

    So many things have changed in our society since the discovery of antibiotics. Certainly an argument can be made for the correlation of inactivity (non-agrarian society, rise of technology, children glued to TV or gaming devices) and weight gain. That being said, for those individuals who restrict calorie intake and exercise vigorously but still can't lose weight, a review of their childhood antibiotic intake might be eye -opening.
    1296 days ago
    I think researchers tend to go too far when it comes to finding the causes of obesity. I mean yes of course that could be one of the causes, but probably not the biggest one. Like you said, in your times, it was an automatic prescription, and there were a lot less obese children and adults. Instead of focusing on finding all the possible causes I think researchers should focus on resolving the main ones.
    1296 days ago
    Interesting blog in many aspects. Like you, I learned a LOT from the article, and much of it was disturbing. Also, as I look back, I think I got away from some of the automatic doses of antibiotics as a child because I was allergic to penicillin, and sometimes alternate antibiotics weren't appropriate for whatever I had. Finally, your comment on the chronic respiratory infections hit me between the eyes. I also had near constant exposure to second-hand smoke and frequently in concentrated doses, like the inside of a closed car with two smokers in front. I've long blamed that exposure on the sinus problems I've had most of my life, and today it infuriates me to see people smoking around children.
    1296 days ago
    Making me think again. And that's almost always "a good thing". emoticon
    1296 days ago
    1296 days ago
    Thank you, for the post!
    I'm rooting for you!
    1296 days ago
    Very interesting post
    1296 days ago
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