Last week I told you about the role that gut bacteria plays in heart disease prevention.
So you might also recall that mainstream medicine is, in turn, making a shocking turnaround on antibiotic use. More specifically, they’re acknowledging that antibiotic overuse may be eroding the public health by way of microbiome destruction.
Now, new research illustrates this lethal link in a rather frightening fashion. And it delivers a lesson in responsible prescribing that everyone needs to be paying attention to…
Highway to heart disease
It’s news I never thought would see the light of day: Recent research shows that older women on long-term antibiotic treatment face a higher risk of heart disease.
That’s the conclusion of a study of more than 35,000 participants of the Nurses’ Health Study. At the start of the study, none of the women had heart disease. But after eight years, women over 60—who had taken antibiotics for two months or longer—faced the highest heart risk.
But women between 40- and 59-years-old suffered increases in cardiovascular risk with longer-term antibiotic use, too. It also left women more likely to face individual heart risk factors like history of heart attack, high body mass index (BMI), or conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
These increases weren’t modest, either. No matter how the scientists crunched the numbers, compared with older women who didn’t use antibiotics, long-term users faced increases in heart disease ranging from 39 to 44 percent.
Even after adjusting for nearly every relevant factor imaginable, those increases stayed high for older women taking antibiotics longer than two months—hovering between 28 and 32 percent.
And when they pulled stroke risk out of the equation, the increases rose even higher. In fact, among women who used antibiotics for two months or less during middle adulthood, risk of heart disease rose as high as 65 percent compared to women who didn’t take antibiotics at all.
Take only what you really need
This isn’t the first time research has linked antibiotic use to heart problems. Previous studies have tied their use to arrhythmia and sudden death—especially among people who already have coronary heart disease, peripheral artery disease, or pneumonia and other infections.
And the reason behind this deadly connection isn’t a mystery, either. Research clearly shows that antibiotics disrupt your gut’s microbiome in a lasting way. And that disruption paves the way to cardiovascular disease…by way of chronic inflammation, lipid changes, and weight gain.
Now just imagine for a minute how many millions of lives—not to mention billions in health care dollars—could have been saved, had American medicine not poo-pooed (pun very much intended!) the efforts of doctors like me to talk about the critical importance of gut health.
The fact that conventional medicine is even starting to scrutinize antibiotic prescription practices is worth celebrating. And to think that they’re actually giving some attention to the way these drugs mess with the bugs in your gut is more than I ever dared to hope for.
Bottom line: Antibiotics should only be prescribed and taken when they are absolutely needed, and for the shortest time possible. In this study, the most common reason for antibiotic treatment was respiratory infection. (Despite the fact that most nagging coughs actually do go away on their own.)
But urinary tract infections (UTI) were another common indication. And that’s bad news for chronic sufferers, as the return of summer also marks the start of another “UTI season,” when rates of these infections peak again.
Obviously, full-blown infections require swift treatment. So the key here is to prevent problems before they start. And one way to do that is to boost your water intake.
Research shows that adding a few extra glasses of water a day—for a total around 96 ounces daily—can cut rates of UTI (and resulting antibiotic use) in half. But for a more detailed strategy to keep these common bacterial infections at bay before you need antibiotics, take a look at the March 2018 issue of my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives (“The common infection you should NEVER shrug off”).
P.S. Improving your cardiovascular health is crucial to living a long, healthy life. And my online learning tool, the Ultimate Heart-Protection Protocol, is a one-stop source for all of the right supplements, exercises, foods, lifestyle interventions, and medical recommendations for preventing and reversing America’s biggest killers—high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. To learn more, or to enroll today, simply click here.
“Long-term Antibiotic Use Tied to Higher CVD Risk.” Medscape Medical News, 05/09/2019. (medscape.com/viewarticle/912793)