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by Glen Depke Simply put, antibiotics are poisons that are used to kill. Only licensed physicians can prescribe them and they are used to kill bacteria. While many have benefited from antibiotics, it is important to understand that antibiotics kill organisms and you are an organism. So what are the biggest challenges when taking antibiotics? First of all, this will destroy the beneficial bacteria in the gut. You have more bacteria in your gut then you have cells in your body and this high amount of bacteria is essential for an optimally functioning GI tract. This bacteria also keeps yeast in check. Between yeast and beneficial bacteria, they compete for nutrients in the food we eat. Due to the high amount of beneficial bacteria, the yeast is kept in check and this causes them to assist in producing nutrients such as B vitamins. The challenge when taking antibiotics is that every time you take these, you kill your beneficial bacteria and upset the balance of your GI. The yeast is then allowed to grow out of control and create one challenge after another. The challenge with low beneficial bacteria and yeast overgrowth due to antibiotic treatment is that this can create damage to the interior lining of the small intestines and lead to leaky gut. Often when the GI integrity is compromised, this will lead to binging on poor quality carbohydrates and this ends up with results of weight gain, food born allergies, immune disorders and neurological challenges such as brain fog and depression. Yikes! The scary truth is that this often leads back to the same problem that you took the antibiotics for. This is not only the antibiotics you take orally, this is also the antibiotics fed to animals in conventional feed lots today. This is why I always suggest consuming the highest quality meat available to you such, from companies such as Blackwing Meats and Vital Choise. Always look for organically fed meat sources when available. They may be a bit more from a cost factor but they will be higher in nutrient value and you often need less from a consumption standpoint. Because more antibiotics per pound are used on livestock than in human medicine, it is difficult to determine our personal exposure, but the mere possibility of this kind of thing is certainly a worry. Our goal is to educate you and to help you make informed decisions. Some simple tips follow: 1. An ounce of prevention goes a long way; exercise, eat intelligently and take a few supplements. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and recreational drugs. Get some rest once in a while. Breathe! 2. Ask Questions. If your doctor diagnoses you with an upper respiratory infection, sore throat (in which the strep test is negative), bronchitis, sinusitis, or ear infection, and you wonder if you really need an antibiotic, make a point of asking her about it. A lot of physicians would be pleasantly surprised that one of their patients would even consider trying to recuperate without antibiotics. Ask if you can treat your condition symptomatically and come back or call in a couple of days if you are not better. 3. Take an objective look at yourself and your life-style. If you keep coming down with the same thing, do some research and a little thinking. Do you drink a lot of soda? Do you smoke? Are you taking antibiotic after antibiotic and now have a secondary yeast or fungal infection? How is your spiritual life? Your stress level? The point is, many factors contribute to “health and wellness.” As far as chronic sinus infections go, Johns Hopkins researchers are now saying most such conditions are caused by a fungus. So, if you do have chronic sinusitis, stop taking antibiotics, get on an anti fungal diet, and ask your doctor for anti fungal medications. If your doctor refuses, visit a health food store for natural, off-the-shelf anti fungals such as olive leaf extract, garlic, and Caprylic acid. Once you improve, make sure you go back and let your doctor know how things worked out. Chances are she is neither experienced nor comfortable with prescribing anti fungal medication. Your story may convince him/her to do his/her own research, the first step to changing her treatment philosophy. If you’ve decided to go ahead and take an antibiotic: 1. Get the facts. Ask your doctor how many days you must take the antibiotic and if you, in fact, do need the latest, most powerful one on the market. Simple urinary tract infections are now treated with only three days of antibiotics. Sinus infections, bronchitis, and ear infections in children over two years of age can be treated with as few as five days of antibiotics, new or old, generic or name brand. This may not be possible, however, if you have other medical conditions or if you smoke. 2. Build trust. Commit to the full course of the antibiotic unless you experience significant side effects or an allergic reaction. You sought medical advice and agreed to the prescription. You will build trust with your doctor if you work as a team. This trust will be very important once you see number 3 below. 3. Take an anti fungal with the antibiotic. For example, you could ask your doctor for a prescription of nystatin to take during the course of your antibiotic. Many dermatologists do this when prescribing long-term antibiotic courses for acne. Most cases of upset stomach or diarrhea that kick in a few days of beginning a round of antibiotics can be cured with a single dose of the drug. Diarrhea after a two-week round of antibiotics is likely caused by a different bug altogether — be sure to bring that to your doctor’s attention. 4. Supplement your intake. Take an antioxidant supplement, one which includes vitamin E, zinc, selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin A, among others. 5. Keep your bowels moving…if antibiotics kill off your friendly, intestinal bacteria, once you cease taking antibiotics you’ll run a higher risk of infection by other, more hostile bacteria. These bacteria will be quick to find and exploit pockets of debris that could be collecting and putrefying in your intestines if you happen to become constipated. So, be sure to keep your digestive tract as clear as possible until you can repopulate it with friendly bacteria. Fiber from your local health food store would assist, as long as you don’t have a history of intestinal obstruction. Fiber may not only relieve constipation, it also slows diarrhea by absorbing excess water. Staying hydrated and moving your body will also assist in moving your colon. 6. Replace the good bacteria in your intestines. Supplement with a quality prebiotic/probiotic such as the Depke Wellness Prebiotic/Probiotic Formula for a few weeks following any course of antibiotics. Do not take these simultaneously with your antibiotic, or you will simply end up with a lot of very dead, albeit still friendly bacteria in your intestines. At the very most, take probiotic supplements either in between antibiotic doses or after you have completely finished your prescription. 7. Look back at why you became ill to begin with. If you suffered from strep throat after indulging in half a box of chocolates or several margaritas, that should have come as no surprise. Who wouldn’t be crippled by that amount of garbage? More than likely, you have your own experience regarding similar binges. My point is, diet plays at least as much a role as actual exposure to germs as to whether we get sick — when we are healthy and eating correctly, our bodies are amazingly resistant to infection. Another very important factor is to recognize some of the earlier signs of infection and health challenges. If you notice an inner ear discomfort you could place a couple of drops of hydrogen peroxide in your ear canal for about 5 minutes for each ear. This may take care of your infection right away before it moves to the inner ear and eventually the sinuses. You can also jump on a rebounder a couple of times per day in 5 minute intervals to assist in moving your lymph. Talk to your Naturopath  about using homeopathy or herbal tinctures to assist the body in moving through this naturally by assisting your own inherited ability to heal. If this seems to have gone too far, have in place a quality muscle testing practitioner that can assess the cause of your possible infection and suggest the proper supplementation to address this right now. Often an infection can be dealt with by taking large quantities of probiotics at once. This has been shown to address infection much quicker and without the symptoms of antibiotics. The key though is to already have this person as a part of your team. Look for someone that has a long history of use of AK, ART, NET or another comparable form of muscle testing and have them ready to go prior to having challenges. If you wait until the problem is “in your face”, it will likely be too late. These quality practitioners are a gift and I always have at least one on my team for optimal health. Knowing what you know after reading this article will empower you to understand antibiotics and natural alternatives so you can now make an informed decision. You do not have to succumb to the fear based tactics of conventional medicine. In all sincerity, they are only suggesting and teaching what they know and they can only know what they are taught. Now you have new found knowledge on antibiotics. Remember, there is a time and a place for antibiotics. I have a client that has an extreme case of staph infection that is out of control. By all means, antibiotic use makes sense in this case. If you have a food borne infection, which is very common these days, or other simple yet seemingly challenging infections, these can often be dealt with in much less invasive ways. Educate yourself and make an informed decision based on the collaboration of your conventional doctor, natural health practitioner and your muscle testing practitioner. If you have any comments or questions feel free to post these below and I will address them personally.