Superbug bacteria are constantly in the news. In early 2015, a relatively new superbug called CRE which emerged in early 2013 and declared a “nationwide threat” by the CDC has been linked to a commonly used medical device known as a duodenoscope used to treat gallstones.
Like other deadly bacteria including MRSA, CRE is resistant to antibiotics. These are especially becoming a threat in hospital environments.
Hospital employees and medical workers are urged by the CDC to “take precautions” to prevent spreading these bacteria to others in the hospital environment as well as those on the outside.
This bacteria is being referred to by CDC officials as a “nightmare” bacteria that will kill half of all those who are infected.
In the recent past, bacteria such as Clostridium difficile which affects the intestinal tract, Tuberculosis, and the Staph infection MRSA have been reported as causing serious illness and death. To date all of these have developed into bacterial strains which are now antibiotic-resistant.
In this case, however, the bacteria seen in these environments apparently are isolated to one specific group of bacteria. Officials have focused on superbugs originating from a group including Klebsiella pneumoniae, a superbug which was fatal for 7 people in the state of MD, and bacteria made resistant from a gene known as NDM-1 (named for New Dehli).
Five of 70 kinds in this bacteria family are now resistant to antibiotics known as carapenems – a potent antibiotic that is one of the last stands available against superbug bacteria.
Good grief, this sounds pretty serious!
Time to pull out the big guns. Maybe you’re thinking about running to the store and buying all the antibacterial soaps and disinfectants you can to protect yourself and your family.
Before you become hysterical and spend your life savings on Lysol and antibacterial products, there are some things you should know about bacteria…
Some of the main reasons resistant bacteria occur are due to the following:
- Overuse of antibacterial substances in the hospital environment to “eliminate” bacteria
- Over use of antibiotics for illness in humans
- Over use of antibiotics in farming environments on animals and birds
When these substances are over-used, the result is that ALL bacteria are wiped out. So guess what that means? The beneficial bacteria are going bye-bye too.
So what’s the big deal? Turns out, eliminating the good bacteria in our bodies and in our environment has dire consequences.
If we don’t have the friendly bacteria that normally occur in our intestinal tracts and that take up residence in our entire bodies … and which also occur in our farming environments where our food is grown, we become extremely vulnerable to disease and illness.
These and other bacteria are found dwelling in the intestinal tract and can be considered harmless, but are known to develop into urinary tract infections or pneumonia. Those with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to illness, and can easily die if the bacteria is contracted.
In modern day, many people have weakened immune systems due to poor dietary habits that include a lot of processed foods, stressful lifestyles, environmental toxins, and the overuse of powerful antibiotic drugs.
How antibiotics can be harmful
Sometimes we need antibiotics when an illness is serious and all other methods have been exhausted. The trouble is, over the last number of decades, antibiotics have been the first line of defense in treating illness. And because so much good bacteria is destroyed in our bodies due to the emphasis on killing bacteria – the problem is that even one round of antibiotics can decimate good or beneficial flora in the digestive tract which support the immune system and overall health.
Sometimes the resistance can go on for years in the gut, and cause long-term health effects. Once friendly bacteria are diminished, it becomes easy for opportunistic bacteria to set up house. Most people have had multiple rounds of antibiotics in their lifetime, some dozens.
In 2010, a study published in the Journal Microbiology examined long-term effects of antibiotic exposure in human beings, and the results were not favorable. The study determined that even short-term use of antibiotic therapy could have negative long-term effects on beneficial gut bacteria.
So how could it be the case that the very medical establishment which is supposed to protect us from harmful bacteria and sickness have actually been responsible for creating this problem in the first place?
Although there are some great things about our modern medical system – and thank God for that for when you really need it – unfortunately, it is a system that is built on the premise of treating symptoms. Because of this focus, the actual root cause of a problem is often not identified or remedied.
So what can you possibly do to keep from contracting one of these pernicious bacteria?
How to avoid superbug bacteria:
1. Avoid antibiotics as much as possible.
Use natural remedies instead of toxic drugs and over-the-counter medications.
2. Avoid processed foods, sugar, and anything refined.
Packaged and commercial foods contribute to disease and the growth of harmful bacteria in the body, which leads to chronic health issues or death.
3. Avoid using anti-bacterial soaps, washes, hand sanitizers, and any related products.
These contribute greatly to bacterial resistant strains which can make you sick or cause death.
4. Wash hands when appropriate (but do not overwash as this can remove good bacteria and oils that keep your skin healthy) with plain soap and water.
5. Use quality probiotic supplements regularly.
Because there are so many chemicals, toxins, and now superbug bacteria in our environment, taking a high-quality therapeutic grade probiotic is something every man, woman, and child should be doing to prevent disease. Brands I recommend via Amazon affiliation include BioKult, Ther-Biotic Complete from Klaire Labs, BioDoph 7 plus by Biotics Research brand, Prescript-Asisst, or HLC Pharmax High Potency Capsules.
6. Eat fermented and cultured foods.
In addition to taking a high-quality, therapeutic grade probiotic, fermented and cultured foods are absolutely vital to supporting the immune and digestive systems. By preparing these at home, you ensure a better proliferation of bacteria and higher numbers since you can culture your foods longer than those bought in the store (which are normally cultured for only 4-8 hours). And with bacteria, the more diverse and higher numbers you can get, the better. Prepare these with safe, organic ingredients sourced from healthy farms (vegetables and dairy foods, etc).
7. Avoid processed foods and refined sugar.
These contribute to a weakened immune system and compromised digestive tract, and a negative effect on overall health.
8. Include plenty of real, whole and traditional foods in your diet.
Grassfed meats and organ meats/bones, pasture raised poultry and eggs, raw dairy foods including milk, butter, cream, sour cream, yogurt, kefir, olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, seafood from safe sources, organic fruits and vegetables, sprouted nuts and legumes, and use sprouted grain foods sparingly. Avoid anything that has been grown or raised with GMOs (genetically-modified organisms), pesticides/herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and isn’t produced naturally.
Grains can be inflammatory for various reasons and can contribute to yeast overgrowth, digestive issues, and long-term auto-immune disease. Even sprouted/soaked and fermented grains may not be a good idea. Read more about why grains can be harmful to health: The Truth About Wheat and Grains – Are they Good for Your Health?
Use superfoods to support your immune system:
- Fermented cod liver oil
- Liver and other organ meats from safe, pastured sources
- Egg yolks from pastured hens
- Grassfed meats and poultry
- Organ meats like liver, kidney and heart
- Bone broths made from the bones of animals and birds on pasture which contain minerals and amino acids critical for health
- Traditional fats including lard, tallow, schmaltz (chicken) from pastured sources, olive oil, coconut oil and sustainable-produced palm oil (check with manufacturer)
- Cultured and fermented foods and beverages such a raw dairy foods including milk, butter, and cream and also fermented dairy foods like yogurt and kefir from healthy cows on pasture and organic cultured vegetables, condiments, sauces, and dressings
- Safe-sourced seafood and fish roe (eggs) which contain fat-soluble vitamins A&D, Omega 3s, selenium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and other important minerals
- Seaweed and kelp (rich in iodine)
- Organ meats from pastured animals and birds and citrus fruits for immune boosting vitamin C. I use and recommend Luscious Garden High Vitamin C Powder sourced from organic acerola cherries.
9. Use safe, non-toxic cleaning products in your home.
We used to use commercial cleaners with ingredients which reduce or eliminate friendly bacteria in and outside of your body (think skin, mucous membranes, digestive tract and immune system).
We use and recommend Branch Basics. These effective, non-toxic , all-in-one concentrate cleaners can save up to $300 annually on household cleaning. Branch Basics offers refillable, easy-to-use pthalate and BPA-free bottles.
10. If you are stricken by a superbug bacteria and cannot recover despite all your best efforts, there is a procedure that can be done with implanted matter from a donor into the colon where the infection normally originates.
Read more about this procedure here from Chris Kresser.
According to Professor Thomas Borody with the Center for Digestive Diseases in Sydney, AU, “a single infusion of a healthy donor’s fecal material into the infected colon resulted in a cure rate of no less than 97%.” Over 1500 of these have been performed with success. Read more here.