A few years ago, the executive chair of Google said that every two days, we create as much information as we did from the beginning of civilization through 2003. Not long after, a research group claimed that 90% of all data in the world had been created in just the past two years.
The figures might be wrong, but what they tell points to a truth we all experience every day: We are so bombarded with information, it sometimes seems impossible to pay attention to everything you want to pay attention to – let alone what you have to pay attention to or feel you should.
Patients sometimes ask which websites and publications we make a point of keeping up with. Dr. Mercola’s site is an essential one, of course. Another is Dr. Shallenberger’s Real Cures Newsletter. (For others we especially like, explore our blogroll over there in the sidebar and our link library here.)
A few weeks ago, Dr. Shallenberger featured an excellent article on the overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals raised for food. It’s worth quoting at length:
Besides killing bacteria, antibiotics do two other things. One is that they create super bacteria like CRE [Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae]. In the case of CRE, the use of antibiotics has trained the bacterium to make an enzyme that breaks down antibiotics. It’s a very simple concept. Living organisms adapt to what they are exposed to. And when bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, some of them can adapt by developing systems that make them immune to the antibiotics.
The other thing that antibiotics do is weaken your immune system. When you get a bacterial infection, your immune system will analyze the bug and come up with a way to kill it. That’s what happened to the 50% of people who were not killed by CRE. Their immune systems were able to stop the infection. But when your doctor kills the infection with an antibiotic, it prevents your immune system from properly working. The result is an immune system that functions a little worse than it did before. This leads to more infections, which, of course, leads to more antibiotics. And the circle continues. So what have antibiotics given us? They’ve given us nightmare bacteria created by antibiotics that kill people combined with immune systems compromised by the use of antibiotics. So what’s the answer?
According to one of the experts from the National Institute of Health the answer is to “contain” the bacteria. Give me a break, please! According to the same doctor, most of the cases of CRE have been in hospitals and nursing homes where the bug can travel from patient to patient. So here we are creating super bacteria in every hospital and nursing home in the country and the answer is to contain them? Here’s a better idea. How about stopping it altogether? And how can we do that?
Let’s get rid of the idea of dishing out antibiotics for every infection as though it didn’t matter. Let’s get rid of the idea of lacing up every animal we eat with antibiotics. That includes farmed fish, poultry, beef, etc. Let’s start prescribing therapies to our patients that strengthen the immune system. How about stopping the use of antiseptic soaps, hand wipes, counter wipes, and all of the other indiscriminant use of antimicrobial chemicals? There has never been any evidence at all that these measures save lives or even prevent infections. In fact, where do the super bugs live? In hospitals and nursing homes — the very places where they use these chemicals the most. But here’s the problem with all these suggestions.
You can’t do them. These changes have to come from the same industry that makes billions from selling the antibiotics.
Yet we must change, as well, and pressure both industry and government to force the greater change we desire, need, require and deserve. Increasingly, we see examples of the power of social media to exert that pressure. Even small and symbolic victories matter, as we’ve seen with things like GMOs, fluoride and mercury amalgam. At the very least, they draw attention, help educate others and motivate us to keep fighting the good fight for a healthier, more positive future.
Collectively, we need a different, more accurate appreciation of how health and illness happen. Modern Western medicine treats illness as something that comes from outside. Biological medicine understands that what we experience as illness is our body’s response to environmental cues; its attempts to heal itself as it was designed to do.
So the biological practitioner looks for the best ways to support those natural healing abilities. The Western practitioner looks to provide relief by suppressing symptoms, by finding the bad guys – the bacteria, the virus, the cancer – and killing or otherwise vanquishing them.
That’s the logic behind antibiotics. They kill bacteria.
It’s also the logic behind things like chemical pesticides and GMOs built with them in mind: Kill the bugs, weeds, fungi and so on with brute force, never mind their effects on the environment or human health.
Through the past several months, we’ve collected a ton of excellent material on these two issues and the consequences of this mindset on our health, our food and our environment. As said, there’s a ton of information out there. Here are 9 articles that especially stood out:
- FDA: Anti-Bacterial Soaps May Not Curb Bacteria (AP)
- Antibiotics in Animals Tied to Risk of Human Infection (NY Times)
- Beyond Antibiotics (Dr. Wilson)
- CO2 Producing Hollow Food (IPS)
- Nutrition, Roundup and Modern Health Epidemics (Dr. Vaughan)
- Roundup’s Reach: Present in All Tested Human and Animal Samples (GreenMedInfo)
- Warning Signs: How Pesticides Harm the Young Brain (Food & Environment Reporting Network)
- Pesticides Can Lower Intelligence (living on earth)
- Your Food Is Poisoning You (Outside)
Leave your own suggestions for recommended reading on these topics in the comments.