Did your doctor prescribe antibiotics for you the last time you got sick? If so, did you not respond well or at all? The reason could be quite simple: Antibiotic resistance. At least 70% percent of bacteria do not respond to at least one of our antibiotics. If you are a meat eater, including poultry, are you aware that the meat industry has gone overboard in pumping animals with antibiotics to spur their growth? This practice, done for profit, has had a devastating impact on our health and care.
The overuse of drugs in animals has created dangerous bacteria that are no longer responding to routine antibiotics. Even one of the cadillacs of antibiotics, Augmentin, is no longer effective for a lot of people. What used to be a regimen of 5-10 days has now been stretched to even longer, with diminishing to no results. Some people have to be on Augmentin for 21 days before they kick an infection, and that is not good.
According to Joshua Sharfstein, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner, “This is an urgent public health issue,” as reported in The Washington Post. “To preserve the effectiveness (of antibiotics), we simply must use them as judiciously as possible.” So what has the FDA done? It has issued DRAFT (my emphasis) guidelines AGAIN, and the public has 60 days to comment. Sharfstein went on to say that if the industry doesn’t voluntarily comply, it (FDA) will move to regulatory mechanisms. (The whole article is in today’s Albuquerque Journal, July 1, 2010, page A5).
What planet is this guy living on? Does he really think that the industry will voluntarily quit giving antibiotics to the animals, which means the time from birth to slaughter is slower, translating into lower profits, and at the risk of alienating both the drug and farm lobbies? Give me a break. This guy has failed to look at FDA’s long history–since 1977–of trying to get the industry to voluntarily quit giving antibiotics to animals except in cases of medical treatment and endangerment to human lives, as he even says he would like. In short, it has been 33 years and nothing has been done, and so much for industry’s voluntarily quitting the practice.
Europe banned the use of antibiotics and related drugs to livestock for growth purposes in 2006. They could see that antibiotic resistance was out of control. And as Dr. Brad Spellberg, an infectious disease specialist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, further points out, “We’re running out of drugs and new drugs are not being developed.” This is a one-way path to disaster and a health crisis that has already resulted in deaths. It is not as if we don’t have proof of the inability of antibiotics to wipe out an infection–it is there. But now our government will eventually spend millions of dollars more in the long run to mandate the outlaw of such, assuming it gets the lobbyists out of their beds. (And that won’t happen in my life time.)
What does this mean for people trying to lose weight? Simple–reduce your intake of meat. Eat more fish. Eat more vegetables and fruits. For vegetarians and vegans, this is a no-brainer. For the rest of us, it will take an attitude adjustment. But if you have personally experienced an antibiotic that didn’t work, then it shouldn’t take you too long to make that adjustment.
For a short review of the documentary, Food, Inc., click here. This DVD is available in the Albuquerque Library system. It is a very popular documentary, so you will want to reserve it now, as it will be several weeks before you are notified to pick it up.
For more on Dr. Brad Spellberg, and his book, Rising Plague, a book about antibiotic resistance, click here. Finally, if you have never heard of MRSA, the flash-eating bacteria disease of which certain forms are associated with high death rates, then just Google it. If there were ever an antibiotic-resistant deadly disease, this is it. You can get started learning about it at the Mayo Clinic website. What used to be found mostly in hospitals is now quite common in the general population.