Tag Archives: Antibiotic Resistance

WORLD MICROBIOME DAY 27 JUNE 2019

 

Source: MotherDirt.com
Today is World Microbiome Day, a day devoted to celebrating all things microbial worldwide. The theme of the 2019 World Microbiome Day is ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE.
The day is dedicated to introducing international microbiome researchers to the public to raise awareness of the diverse world of microbes and how they need to be protected.
“Microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, etc) can be found everywhere in and on plants, animals, water, soil, food and humans. Within each of those habitats, microorganisms live together in communities called microbiomes. Microbiomes have an effect on (amongst others) human health; therefore, scientists are exploring how these communities of organisms co-exist with each other, with us and our environment.
“The 2019 World Microbiome Day theme is ‘Antibiotic Resistance’. Antibiotics are life-saving drugs against harmful bacterial infections that also affect the beneficial bacteria of the human, animal and plant microbiome. Overuse and misuse of antibiotics can lead to bacteria becoming resistant to the antibiotics making them ineffective. That’s why we need everybody to help raise the profile of this important issue and empower people to use antibiotics responsibly.” (World Microbiome Day, 2019)

World Microbiome Day 2018: “Mind Our Microbes”

 

 

HUMAN & OTHER MICROBIOMES

The human body contains collections of micro-organisms that include bacteria, protozoa, fungi, viruses and other one-celled organisms living in and on the body. Our bodies’ interactions with these microbes are crucial to the state of our health. These microbes live both INSIDE us –   in our digestive organs and lungs — and externally ON us – on our skin, mouth, genitals. Our microbiomes serve many essential functions in the body:  aiding digestion, supporting the immune system living in our guts and preventing infections. In addition, the gut microbiome continually  interacts with the brain, making it possible to support mental health through changing your gut microbiome. Humans are actually ECOSYSTEMS made up of our human cells and billions of these other micro-organisms. (World Microbiome Day, 2019)
Other animals on earth living on the land, in the water and the sky also need ecosystems made up of their own cells and a healthy variety of micro-organisms. The  same is true of plants’, the soils’, food sources’, oceans’, rivers’ and lakes’ ecosystems.
The poisoning of the ecosystems on our planet and climate change have done serious damage to the planet – with dire consequences.
Source: xascaleproject.org
I’ll let Jasmina Agranovic, whose principal interest is the skin microbiome (she’s the president of Mother Dirt*), speak in her own words to explain the importance of the various microbiomes in the human body:
“There’s an important dynamic at play between consumers and scientists right now. These two worlds were once far apart, but have recently started to overlap. This is especially evident in the field of the microbiome, where it could even be argued that public demand has become a driver of the science. Never before has a topic been spoken about so publicly and marketed ahead of extensive clinical and scientific validation.
“The gut microbiome has done a lot of the heavy lifting in reframing our relationship with bacteria. As people are becoming more aware of the benefits of good bacteria in digestive health, there is also a shifting view our bodies as ecosystems, rather than simply tissues and organs. While still a stretch, it is slowly becoming less of one to see how the same is true for their skin….
Source: Wellness Mama
“The impact of this ongoing and prevalent conversation is something you can see already: It’s now becoming more common for primary care doctors to prescribe a probiotic in conjunction with antibiotics. Kombucha has transformed from a specialty item found only at health food stores to something you can pick up at your local drug store. Kimchi and Sauerkraut have become dietary staples, along endless other fermented and probiotic-infused foods.
“This public interest has placed more scrutiny on the science. Together, these are driving a big financial appetite by investors, creating support for entrepreneurs and researchers with big ideas in the space.
“Companies like Ubiome specialize in at-home gut and vaginal biome screenings. OpenBiome works in stool donations, enabling people to get live-saving fecal transplants. Seres Therapeutics was also the first publicly traded microbiome biotech company based off of their work on treatments for C Diff. In 2016 the FDA banned triclosan, which is the active ingredient in many antibacterial soaps, stating it’s no more effective than washing with soap and water, and that it could actually do more harm than good over time.
“Even museums have started to showcase the microbiome as part of our future. The Victoria & Albert Museum in London has an exhibit on display until Nov 2018 called “The Future Starts Here: 100 projects shaping the world of tomorrow” where one of the projects included in the show is Mother Dirt representing the skin biome and what might exist in a future home.
“So what’s the next big thing in bacteria? We earnestly believe that relationship with the microbial world is one of the most important shifts in public health of our generation. For many, the microbiome and the importance of good bacteria in and on your body might be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to many of the health issues we are still trying to solve. We don’t know what we don’t know, but many are rightfully excited at the prospect of exploring this field for all the potential it seems to hold. The public interest has helped push the gas pedal on the scientific progress. As we continue to make progress in new discoveries in the field, it will be increasingly important that the science remains rigorous and that we also temper expectations.
“Keep asking questions, keep challenging the norm, and keep pushing for more, and together we’ll create a world where clean comes with healthy.”

 

*MOTHER DIRT

Mother Dirt is a company in Cambridge MA that makes skin biome-friendly products based on extensive research on the skin microbiome and the Ammonia-Oxidizing Bacteria (AOB) our skin needs to stay healthy .
Source: MotherDirt.com

We believe that the diverse world of microbiomes deserves more recognition due to its effect on human, animal and environmental health! Join us in celebrating World Microbiome Day 2019 and communicating the effects of antibiotics on the microbiome.

(World Microbiome Day 6/27/2019)
You can go to the World Microbiome Day 6/27/2019 site to learn more about the importance of microbiomes and take some quizzes to test your knowledge about six microbiomes: Food, Plant, Soil, Animal, Marine and Human.

 

ADDITIONAL READING

What’s in the Human Microbiome

How the Gut Microbiome Influences the Brain – and Vice Versa

Repair the Soil’s Microbiome to Resolve the Climate Crisis

Antibiotics, the Gut Microbiome & the Rest of the Body

AO Biome: Clean vs Sterile

Follow Up on AO+ Living Bacterial Skin Tonic

There are additional posts on AllergiesAndYourGut about the gut and other microbiomes. You can search on the site for what interests you.

 

REFERENCES

Hardin, J.R. (12/18/2014). AO Biome: Clean vs Sterile.  https://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/12/18/ao-biome-clean-vs-sterile/

Hardin, J.R. (4/9/2015). How the Gut Microbiome Influences the Brain – and Vice Versa. See: https://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/04/09/how-the-gut-microbiome-influences-the-brain-and-vice-versa/

Hardin, J.R. (6/13/2015). What’s in the Human Microbiome. See: https://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/06/13/whats-in-the-human-microbiome/

Hardin, J.R. (1/29/2016). Repair the Soil’s Microbiome to Resolve the Climate Crisis. See: https://allergiesandyourgut.com/2016/01/29/4404/

Hardin, J.R. (2/25/2016).  Follow Up on AO+ Living Bacterial Skin Tonic. See: https://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/09/27/follow-ao-living-bacterial-skin-tonic/

© Copyright 2019. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

 

Factory Farming Produces Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria

 

 

images

 

Information from the International Master on Sustainable Development (Behrend, 2013):
  • 80% of all antibiotics used in the US are administered to farmed animals to promote growth and prevent disease. That amounts to about 29 million pounds of antibiotics per year.
  • These antibiotics produce drug-resistant “superbugs” in farm animals and humans, causing widespread disease, deficiency, and death.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 76 million cases of food borne illnesses a year and 5,000 deaths a year from viral and bacterial pathogens related to the animal farming industry.
  • The treatment of these illnesses costs $26 billion in healthcare costs annually.

 

In the US and around the world, antibiotics from every major class used for humans are also used in agriculture. Antibiotic-resistant  bacteria spread from farm animals to humans via food, animal-to-human transfer on farms and in rural areas, and through contaminated waste entering the environment. (Food & Water Watch, 2015)
Antibiotics resistance is now a very serious global problem.

 

Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in some way that reduces or eliminates the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply causing more harm. Bacteria can do this through several mechanisms.

 

geneticmutation

 

 

In September 2012,  more than 150 well-respected scientists and 50 farmers sent a letter  to the US Federal Drug Administration and the US Congress, presenting overwhelming evidence that the use of antibiotics in livestock production poses a serious risk to human health. The letter pointed out that:

Hundreds of scientific research studies and analyses by international scientific bodies support the conclusion that the overuse of critical human drugs in food animal production is linked to human diseases increasingly impervious to antibiotic treatment, putting human lives at unnecessary risk.

 

Also in September 2012, Food and Water Watch, a nonprofit organization advocating for safe food and water, issued a report called Antibiotics Resistance 101 describing the reality of antibiotics use in factory farming and its seriously negative impacts on the environment, the economy, and the health of all living things – including humans, animals and plants.

 

AntibioticResistance_Page_01-231x300

The FDA issued ineffective VOLUNTARY guidelines.

 

fandwantibiotics

 

 

This graphic shows how  the antibiotic resistance cycle operates:

 

anibiotic-resistance-cycle

 

 

antibiotic_resistant_infection_flowchart

 

 

website-quote_v2_2

 

Examples of superbugs that have developed from the overuse of antibiotics, particularly from factory farmed animals:

 

 

dr-richard-raymond-antibiotics-and-food-safety-perceptions-vs-reality-40-638

 

 

 

superbugs

 

See Food and Water Watch’s site for more information on factory farming, antibiotic resistance, and the many other issues they’re involved in – including labeling of GMO foods, fracking, and water privatization.

Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.

 

imgres-2

 

REFERENCES

Behrend, K.E. (2013). Rural Development: Antibiotics in Factory Farming. International Master on Sustainable Development EOI. See: http://www.eoi.es/blogs/imsd/rural-development-antibiotics-in-factory-farming/

Food & Water Watch. (2015). Antibiotic Resistance 101: How Antibiotic Misuse on Factory Farms Can Make You Sick. See: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/antibiotic-resistance-101-how-antibiotic-misuse-on-factory-farms-can-make-you-sick/

 

 

© Copyright 2015 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

 

How Hand Sanitizers Are Bad for You and the Planet

 

 

(Source: www.personal.psu.edu)
(Source: www.personal.psu.edu)

 

I’ve written on the dangers of hand sanitizers here and there on this site but decided to devote a whole post to them after encountering a big wall dispenser of Purell above a sink in a lovely West Village church bathroom  yesterday – with no hand soap option. I’m sure the church believes they  made a sensible choice. This got me thinking about how thoughtful people have been seriously misled. So here’s the explanation of why Purell in a bathroom is a bad idea.

 

images-10

It’s important to understand how the heavy use of Purell and other hand sanitizers is doing harm to our health.
The prevalent obsession with germs, viewing all of them as harmful and in need of being killed, is based in ignorance and simply misguided. Without the billions of friendly micro-organisms living in and on our bodies, we wouldn’t be able to sustain life. When we ruthlessly kill them on our skin and inside our bodies, we are doing ourselves a great disservice and jeopardizing our health.
As Michael Pollan, a well known American author, journalist, activist and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, put it in his excellent article Some of My Best Friends Are Germs (Pollan, 2013):

… as a civilization, we’ve just spent the better part of a century doing our unwitting best to wreck the human-associated microbiota with a multifronted war on bacteria and a diet notably detrimental to its well-being. Researchers now speak of an impoverished “Westernized microbiome” and ask whether the time has come to embark on a project of “restoration ecology” — not in the rain forest or on the prairie but right here at home, in the human gut.

 

 

 

 

THE HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS

 

(Source: sciencefocus.com)
(Source: sciencefocus.com)

 

The HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS offers an explanation of why it’s important to be exposed to a wide variety of germs in childhood:
A lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic micro-organisms such as gut flora probiotics, and parasites increases susceptibility to allergic and other autoimmune diseases by suppressing the natural development of the immune system. The lack of exposure leads to defects in the establishment of immune tolerance.
The Hygiene Hypothesis is also sometimes called the Biome Depletion Theory or the Lost Friends Theory.

 

1932 news item from Nov, 1932: POOR KIDS MORE IMMUNE TO GERMS ... An early observation consistent with the Hygiene Hypothesis .(Source: Modern Mechanix blog.modernmechanix.com)
Canadian news item from Nov, 1932: POOR KIDS MORE IMMUNE TO GERMS … An early observation consistent with the Hygiene Hypothesis (Source: Modern Mechanix blog.modernmechanix.com)

 

The result of providing too sanitary an environment for our children is that they aren’t able to build up a natural resistance to pathogens, making them more susceptible to developing allergies, asthma, skin conditions and a wide variety of other illnesses and diseases – including all the autoimmune conditions, heart disease and depression. Specifically, lack of exposure to pathogens is believed to lead to defects in the establishment of immune tolerance. (Hardin, 2014)
hygienehyp_m2129538
In Some of My Best Friends Are Germs, Pollan mentions the interesting finding that children who live with a dog at home are healthier overall, have fewer infectious respiratory problems, fewer ear infections and are less likely to require antibiotics. This is strong support for the Hygiene Hypothesis. Researchers found that the effect was greater if the dog spent fewer than six hours inside – the longer dogs are outdoors, the more dirt they bring inside with them so the children are exposed to more diverse micro-organisms from playing with and being licked by their dogs. (Pollan, 2013)
Isn’t this the perfect point to make to parents who tell their children they can’t have a dog because dogs are too dirty?

 

(Source; newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)
(Source; newswatch.nationalgeographic.com)
Many schools in the US now require children to carry and use bottles of hand sanitizers. And, at least in the US, there are Purell dispensers all over hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, airports, work places, grocery stores, bathrooms – and in people’s purses and pockets.
The widespread use of hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps is seen by many as an unwelcome epidemic harming individuals’ health and contributing to the rise of drug resistant bacteria, often referred to as super bugs. (Hardin, 12/22/2013)
For more information on the Hygiene Hypothesis and why it’s important to be exposed to diverse populations of microbes, see Live Dirty, Eat Clean … The Gut Microbiome Is the Future of Medicine.

 

 

TRICLOSAN

 

(Source: www.ecomythsalliance.org)
(Source: www.ecomythsalliance.org)
Hand sanitizers, antibacterial soaps, toothpastes, and other products that “kill 99% of germs” likely contain triclosan. In 1969 triclosan was registered as a PESTICIDE  and is now widely used as a potent germicide in personal care products.
Do you think it’s a good idea to rub a pesticide on your skin?
As with antibiotics, triclosan doesn’t distinguish between useful microbes and pathogenic ones in destroying that 99%.  Among the harmful effects of using anything containing triclosan is evidence that it interferes with fetal development. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports evidence that triclosan disrupts the body’s endocrine system, altering hormone regulation. Bacteria exposed to triclosan are apt to become resistant to antibiotics. It weakens the heart muscle, impairing contractions and reducing heart function. It is known to weaken skeletal muscles, reducing grip strength. It washes into sewage systems and pollutes our waters. And it has been found in the blood, urine and breast milk of most people. (Hardin, 9/6/2014)
Triclosan, originally used as a pesticide, is a hormone disruptor found in thousands of products like toothpaste, cutting boards, yoga mats, hand soap, and more. (Source: saferchemicals.org)
Triclosan, originally used as a pesticide, is a hormone disruptor found in thousands of products like toothpaste, cutting boards, yoga mats, hand soap, and more. (Source: saferchemicals.org)

 

At least Purell doesn’t contain triclosan.
For more information on triclosan, see my 9/6/2014 blog post Triclosan, Your Toothpaste and Your Endocrine System.

 

 

SUPER BUGS

There is strong evidence that anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizers containing triclosan contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, often referred to as super bugs.
Ten years ago, in 2004, a research team at the University of Michigan exposed bacteria to triclosan and found increased activity in cellular pumps that the bacteria use to eliminate foreign substances. Stuart Levy of Tufts University School of Medicine, one of the study’s authors and a leading researcher on antibiotic resistance, pointed out that these overactive excretory systems “could act to pump out other antibiotics, as well.”

 

superbugs

 

This is a serious problem. Pathogenic bacteria such as streptococcus, staphylococcus, and pneumonia are already in the process of evolving defenses against currently used antibiotics and pharmaceutical companies aren’t developing many new antibiotics.
In the 15 years between 1999 and 2014, the FDA approved only 15 new antibiotics – compared to 40 in the previous 15 years. The World Health Organization currently regards antibiotic resistant super bugs as “a threat to global health security”. (Butler, 2014)

 

 

 

CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE

 

(Source: devids.net)
(Source: devids.net)

 

And then there’s my favorite bacterium: Clostridium difficile – the one you may not have even heard of but which has reached epidemic proportions, infecting 250,000 people and causing 14,000 deaths each year in the US alone. I had a nasty C. difficile infection in 2010 and fortunately didn’t die from it – though there were times I thought I was going to and felt so miserable I sometimes wished I would.
You can read here about how I vanquished my C. difficile infection without resorting to antibiotics – the usual Western treatment for it. It just didn’t make sense to me to take more antibiotics since it was frequent antibiotics that had weakened my gut microbiota to the point that a C. diff overrun took over.
The bottom line about C. difficile and hand sanitizers is that NO TYPE OF HAND SANITIZER  KILLS IT. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012)

 

 

 

(Source: mommynotions.com)
(Source: mommynotions.com)

 

 

 

 

YOUR TAKE AWAY FROM THIS INFORMATION

Educate yourself about friendly bacteria versus pathogenic ones, return to washing your hands the old fashioned way – with soap and water, use your “hand sanitizer” only for emergencies – and teach this to your children.
If you must, use a non-triclosan-containing hand sanitizer to clean surfaces on phones, keyboard and  laptops, and other high-touch surfaces. But clean your hands with good old soap and water.

 

Use the soap
Use the soap

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Butler, K. (2014). Does Purell Breed Superbugs? The dirty truth (and the good news) on hand hygiene. Mother Jones. See: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/12/germophobia-superbug-hygiene-soap-bacteria

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Life-threatening germ poses threat across medical facilities. See: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0306_cdiff.html

Hardin, J.R. (2011). Successful Holistic Treatment of Clostridium Difficile Gut Infection: Case Study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37.  See: http://issuu.com/davidmiller4/docs/c._difficile_omj_article_lo_res

Hardin, J.R. (12/22/2013). Asthma. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See:  http://allergiesandyourgut.com/symbiosis-versus-dysbiosis/asthma/

Hardin, J.R. (2011). Successful Holistic Treatment of Clostridium Difficile Gut Infection: Case Study. Oriental Medicine Journal, 19:4, 24-37.  See: http://issuu.com/davidmiller4/docs/c._difficile_omj_article_lo_res

Hardin, J.R. (9/6/2014). Triclosan, Your Toothpaste and Your Endocrine System. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/09/06/triclosan-endocrine-system/

Hardin, J.R. (8/6/2014). Live Dirty, Eat Clean … The Gut Microbiome Is the Future of Medicine. AllergiesAndYourGut.com. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/08/06/live-dirty-eat-clean-gut-microbiome-future-medicine/

Polan, M. (2013). Some of My Best Friends Are Germs. New York Times Magazine, May 15 2013. See:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/say-hello-to-the-100-trillion-bacteria-that-make-up-your-microbiome.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.