We’ve come across some very serious super bugs in recent years. And it’s getting harder and harder to cure them.
To add insult to injury, the medical industry is doing its part to make sure the situation only gets worse.
But it’s not just our cavalier attitude toward antibiotics — in both prescribing and taking them — that’s catapulting us toward a second dark age. New research shows that there’s another “pill problem” fanning the flames of potential catastrophe.
And in my view, it’s even more common…
NSAIDs kill more than just pain
You’ve probably heard of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. It’s the culprit behind the most common — and dangerous — hospital-born infections, causing potentially life-threatening diarrhea.
Needless to say, patients receiving antibiotic treatment are at highest risk. First and foremost, these drugs decimate your microbiome, wiping out the protective good bacteria along with the bad. And if there’s one good thing I can say about the study I want to share with you today, it’s that the researchers clearly acknowledge this threat.
The bad news? It turns out that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also play a role in this crisis. And a lot of people take them. You can find these drugs (like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen) in just about every American medicine cabinet.
As part of this recent study, researchers observed antibiotic-treated mice for a week following infection with C. diff. One group received an NSAID called indomethacin — a drug similar to ibuprofen — before infection. The other group did not.
When all was said and done, only 20 percent of the NSAID-treated mice survived their C. diff infection. In contrast, a whopping 80 percent of the mice who weren’t treated with NSAIDs survived.
In other words, NSAID exposure prior to C. diff infection led to more severe and lethal illnesses. And according to these researchers’ analysis, the drug’s depletion of the microbiome (the environment in your gut where probiotic bacteria thrive) is the main reason why.
NSAID exposure altered bacterial populations and lowered the production of gut-protective prostaglandins. And, in mice at least, this made an already deadly infection four times as fatal.
Unconventional answers to a common threat
Let me address the elephant in the room here — no, it’s not a human study. But I still felt it was worth reporting, and here’s why…
NSAIDs’ devastating impact on gut health is a foregone conclusion at this point. We already know that they can trigger and worsen colitis — an inflammatory bowel disease. And the fact that these researchers discovered changes like impaired epithelial cells (which line your digestive tract) and altered immunity falls right in line with that.
It’s also true that this research only looked at one specific NSAID drug. But its cousins, including ibuprofen and aspirin, all work roughly the same — and carry similar risks. So it’s fair to speculate that they share this risk, too. In fact, I’d say it’s all but guaranteed.
Conventional medicine has gotten us into quite the pickle!
Luckily, us non-conventional practitioners have an arsenal of answers to fix the problem. In fact, most of the work I do starts with a healthy gut. Because if more people had a flourishing microbiome, there’d be less disease of any kind — including superbugs.
A daily, high-quality probiotic is the simplest place to start. (And it just so happens that my favorite brand, Dr. Ohhira’s, has a collection of studies demonstrating its unique ability to combat C. diff infections.)
But a healthy diet might actually be the most important prevention strategy. And by healthy, I obviously don’t mean the junk food they serve in hospitals — where the majority of these infections are transmitted.
So what should you be eating to pave the way to a healthier gut? Fortunately, it just so happens that I devoted an entire article to the subject in the most recent issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“EXCLUSIVE: Your ultimate guide to a complete microbiome makeover”).
“How common pain relievers may promote Clostridium difficile infections.” Science Daily, 01/08/19. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/01/190108084452.htm)