Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
23 Nov

The Problems with Antibiotics: Possible Alternatives and Damage Control

Are there any viable alternatives to antibiotics? I just spent the last few posts talking about all the bad things that stem from taking too many antibiotics, and you’re likely wondering if there’s anything you can do when an infection comes around. Although I wouldn’t suggest ignoring your doctor’s antibiotic prescriptions for some herb you found on some site online, there are potential alternatives. Not every alternative I list is going to work for you. To be honest, we have yet to confirm many viable alternatives that pack the punch of modern antibiotics. And in many cases, the wallop of conventional pharmaceuticals is exactly what the doctor ordered (in, um, every way). Sure, it could be said that every dose of antibiotics given out is exerting a selection pressure on billions of microbes that will ultimately lead to greater resistance, but when it comes down to it, you don’t want to be sick in the here and now.

So, once again, are there any viable alternatives to antibiotics, and if we have to take one, what can we do to mitigate the potential fallout?

First, the alternatives.

Fecal Transplants

Feces is mostly made up of living bacteria. That’s why poop-covered greens are often at the heart of these E. coli outbreaks you hear about – the bacteria lives on. Bad for those who like unwashed commercial spinach, but good for fecal transplants. Yes, fecal bacteriotherapy – the transplantation of fecal matter from a healthy human with healthy gut flora into an unhealthy human with unhealthy gut flora via enema or nasogastric tubing (through the nose directly to the gut) – is a promising new procedure. It’s particularly effective against recurring C. diff infections, showing “complete resolution” in 92% of 317 patients across 27 studies. C. diff is notoriously antibiotic-resistant (many C. diff infections happen because of antibiotics, in fact); only three antibiotics are currently even remotely effective at combating the nasty infection, but the fecal transplants displace the C. diff and replace the missing good stuff.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, fecal transplants are a bit of a hard sell. It clearly works, but since it smells of the dreaded “alternative medicine” and there is as yet no randomized controlled trial testing it, few physicians are even aware of or prepared to handle the procedure. Furthermore, most insurance won’t cover it. That they often blend the “fecal probiotics” with milk to form a “lactofecal slurry” (my choice of words) probably doesn’t help, either. Everyone loves a chocolate milkshake, but c’mon.

All hope is not lost. At-home fecal transplantation using a basic drug store enema kit has been shown to work just as well. (Of course it’s imperative that you work with your doctor if this is a route you think you might want to take.) And although most fecal transplant research centers on C. diff, it’s been shown to resolve antibiotic-related changes in short chain fatty acid production and increased diarrhea. I imagine we’ll see a lot more in coming years. Overall, I think fecal transplantation is the most promising antibiotic alternative.

“Natural” Antibacterials

To deal with pathogenic or competing microbes without pharmaceutical intervention, organisms have developed natural antibiotics. So it should come as no surprise that certain naturally-occurring substances have antibacterial properties. Modern and ancient medicine have identified many of these and isolated them, purified them, extracted them, and as I said in the first post, modern antibiotics like penicillin originally stem from naturally-occurring antibiotics that bacteria have been using against each other for millions of years. The problem with recommending natural antibiotics as a replacement is that there exists very little evidence in the literature supporting their efficacy. Plenty of antibacterial compounds exist, often in herbs and spices with long histories of medicinal uses, but that doesn’t mean that taking a pill of an extract of that herb or spice will kill whatever’s infected you. It might, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it did – heck, go through all my Smart Spice posts and you’ll see that just about every one has some sort of antimicrobial function – but I can’t recommend it because I simply don’t know.

One argument (to which I’m somewhat partial) in favor of natural, whole food/herb antibiotics is that they have a long track record of dealing with real-world infections and microbial attacks. That even though modern pharmaceuticals have isolated the compounds with the most powerful effects, whole foods contain a wider range of compounds working in concert and “attacking” the problem from different angles. Anyway, here’s the list of some (but not all) foods/herbs with natural antibacterial action, along with some relevant links. I tried to limit the list to only those substances showing efficacy in vivo:

Garlic

Using doses between 1-3 mg/ml, garlic extract was effective against antibiotic-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In another study, garlic extract reduced the viability of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in mice, and lowered inflammation associated with the infection. It’s worth noting, however, that a 2003 review (submitted before the other two studies were run) found garlic and other herbs/foods to be mostly ineffective as an in vivo antibiotic. It also concluded that while solid evidence for using herbal replacements is scarce, there’s enough in vitro evidence to demand further investigation.

Honey

As a topical antibacterial agent, honey has been used for thousands of years, a role which plenty of clinical studies have confirmed (PDF). Some studies have even found that topical honey works better than systemic/oral antibiotics in treating infected wounds. So, next time you’re infected with E. coli, do I recommend taking a tablespoon of raw honey? No, not quite. But you can certainly benefit from applying a dollop to a cut or open wound instead of reaching for the antibiotic ointment. That last link has guidance on how to apply honey to wounds.

Forsythia Suspensa

Forsythia suspensa is one of the 50 “traditional herbs” used in Chinese medicine, and a few studies indicate that it has antibiotic capabilities. In the only in vivo one I could find, oral extracts taken from the dried forsythia fruit proved effective in killing antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus suis, both alone and when combined with amoxicillin in a 4:1 forsythia:amoxicillin ratio. Of course, seeing as how most Chinese medicine sources I could find refer to forsythia suspensa as a broad spectrum antibiotic compound, it’s possible that it has systemic effects as well.

Coconut Oil

Coconut fat contains lots of lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride. In the body, lauric acid turns into monolaurin, a monoglyceride with antibacterial properties also found in human breastmilk. Makes sense, huh? A baby’s immune system is pretty undeveloped, especially early on, and some delicious milky antibiotics from Mom are just the ticket. Hmm, I wonder if it works in adults…

Oregano

Speaking of monolaurin, an in vivo study showed that a combination of monolaurin and oil of oregano was effective against staph infections in mice (60% survival rate), even slightly more so than vancomycin (50% survival rate), a type of antibiotic. An in vitro study showed that oregano oil makes conventional antibiotics more effective against E. coli, perhaps lowering the effective dose and subsequent side effects.

Cranberry Juice

It has proven effective at preventing urinary tract infections, but whether or not it can be an effective treatment remains to be shown.

Just be wary. Natural does not mean safe, nor does it mean “less powerful.” Think of red yeast rice, which is an over-the-counter statin analog (statin drugs came from it, actually), with all the potentially negative effects of Lipitor and Crestor. Go ahead and eat your garlic, add oregano to soups and stews, use coconut oil like normal – basically, treat food like food – but be careful when treating them like medicines (not that garlic is going to hurt you, of course). I’ve given you a list of foods with antibiotic properties, so now do your research or find someone who’s done theirs to decide if these are right for you. Don’t mess around with serious infections; instead, try these alternatives out when it’s a minor one, at least at first.

Vitamin D

A thought provoking article by the Vitamin D Council hints at the antibiotic potential of vitamin D megadoses. We already know that vitamin D is crucial for immune support, and numerous testimonials (in this forum and others) of folks taking large doses of vitamin D at the onset of a cold or infection and beating it abound, but the D Council article discusses a little-known role for vitamin D: the expression of the gene involved in producing endogenous antimicrobial peptides, or our body’s own antibiotics.

In the short term, megadoses of around 30-40,000 IUs are perfectly safe. Just don’t maintain that dosage for longer than a week.

Waiting It Out

For relatively minor conditions, like a middle ear infection, some doctors are recommending that patients simply “watch and wait.” A 2005 study put this to the test. Two groups of kids, each with ear infections. One group gets amoxicillin, the other goes home empty handed. The antibiotic group’s symptoms resolve quicker than the “watch and wait” group, but not by much. Both groups’ infections resolved. Plus, as time goes on, more members of the antibiotic group get sick again, this time with antibiotic-resistant bugs. After 30 days, both groups had essentially identical cure rates. Both were equally effective, but the “watch and wait” group got to keep their gut flora intact.

If it’s not life-threatening and it’s not impeding your ability to enjoy life, wait a little while. See how your body sorts it out. Check with your health provider first, though.

Maintaining Good Gut Health

Sometimes, antibiotics are necessary. Sometimes, alternatives simply won’t suffice and you (or someone you care about) just gotta take the stuff. When that happens (and even when it hasn’t happened yet), maintaining good gut health is paramount.

You should already be eating a variety of fermented foods, but the need for dietary probiotics grows more pressing when antibiotics enter the picture. And yes, take probiotics and eat fermented food during your course of antibiotics. Sure, some of them won’t make it out, but some will, and most studies show that concurrent probiotic/antibiotic schedules are helpful in avoiding antibiotics-related complications:

So, eat yogurt, kefir (real kefir, make your own, make coconut kefir (combo of monolaurin and probiotics?), search for “kefir grains” on Craigslist), sauerkraut, kimchi, and real pickles when you take antibiotics. Focus on variety. Continue to eat them after the antibiotics are done. Don’t stop.

Don’t always wash your produce (if it’s from a farm you trust, like your backyard) and eat some of it raw, because there’s a lot of interesting bacteria out there, and most of it – contrary to popular belief – will not kill you. This is a good way to introduce gut flora to your system.

Eat foods that contain soluble prebiotic fiber. You gotta feed the flora, keep it happy.

Go outside. Roll in the mud. Play in the dirt. Pet your pets. Don’t stress over washing your hands so much.

Speaking of stress, try to work on that. Chronic stress, whether it’s physical, emotional, financial, professional, or traffic-related, can negatively impact your gut flora.

Don’t despair.

I know I spent this post series talking about the negative ramifications of antibiotics on one’s gut flora. I know there have been some scary articles claiming that your gut flora may never return to normalcy. But really? It’s not always so bad. If you’ve taken antibiotics and are asymptomatic – that is, your digestion is normal, you’re not falling ill out of the blue – you probably have nothing to worry about. Continue to eat and live well.

But what if you’re one of those who took heaps of antibiotics? What if you’ve tried the probiotics, the prebiotics, you spend time outdoors, you get dirty from time to time, but you can’t shake the poor gut health? Talk to your doctor about the possibility of fecal transplants. Other than that, we could all wait around for small interfering RNA-wielding nanomachines, crafted by DARPA, and cold plasma jets to supplant antibiotics entirely, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Now I want to hear from you. What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Would you consider a fecal transplant?

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I can attest that the chronic stress of finishing this stupid master’s degree is affecting my gut/digestion. Probiotics seem to be helping, but only the healing process of being done will make the pain go away! I’ve been taking vitamin d to prevent getting sick during this, and so far so good! My prof is pretty sick, and I’m A-OK (other than being pretty burned out).

    Graham wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Hi, I haven’t taken any type of antibiotic for about 20 years (if I recall correctly. Combination work-outs (cardio/weights) and yoga, ballet, walking, not to mention cycling as my main source of transportation, keeps me in shape and in health. When I sense any type of bodily sickness, I usually add a few hours of sleep to my daily intake, take regular sweats in the sauna, and imbibe lots of herbal tea (with ginger, lemon, and honey). I’ve been following a relatively primal diet for about the past 10 years or so (only heard about Mark’s writing a few months back) and can attest to the aforementioned physical/detox routine in combination with the diet.

      Monika wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  2. not for all the riches in the world, sir…

    “Yes, fecal bacteriotherapy – the transplantation of fecal matter from a healthy human with healthy gut flora into an unhealthy human with unhealthy gut flora via enema or nasogastric tubing (through the nose directly to the gut) – is a promising new procedure.”

    jakey wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • My favourite part of that:

      “That they often blend the “fecal probiotics” with milk to form a “lactofecal slurry” (my choice of words) probably doesn’t help, either. Everyone loves a chocolate milkshake, but c’mon.”

      Graham wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • That last line cracked me up pretty good.

        TokyoJarrett wrote on November 24th, 2011
    • Just a quick one, I am amazed you haven’t mentioned colloidal Silver which kills most things

      paul halliday wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • Are you kidding me?! DO NOT USE COLLOIDAL SILVER! It is incredibly dangerous! I understand concerns regarding antibiotics and healthy gut flora being damaged,, but the solution is NOT to resort to quackery. If you have an infection that can only be managed through antibiotics, request that your doctor take a sample of your infection and do a graham stain and sensitivity. That way you can be prescribed a specific antibiotic that only targets the bacteria that is making your sick and not the other healthy flora. This is the recommendation of laboratory microbiologists that work in hospitals.

        Hailey wrote on November 23rd, 2011
        • Not to mention Colloidal Silver turns you blue. Like a Smurf. It’s kind of disturbing…

          Ghost wrote on November 23rd, 2011
        • There’s nothing quackish about colloidal silver, as the antimicrobial action of silver is well understood and even used in modern medicine. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are poorly educated about colloidal silver and don’t distinguish between highly concentrated silver preparations and properly made Electrically Isolated Silver at 20 PPM. At 20 PPM, you would die of hyponatremia from excess water consumption before enough silver could be ingested to cause argyria, which is, by the way, a purely cosmetic condition where the skin turns grayish blue. There’s nothing dangerous about argyria.

          All the scare stories in the news about CS/EIS are about Rosemary Jacobs, who use nasal drops that were either silver nitrate or mild silver protein (with a silver concentration most likely in the thousands) and the two guys who turned themselves blue by making homebrew CS incorrectly, using tap water and/or adding salt, and making a highly concentrated silver soup. Properly made CS/EIS contains pure silver and steam distilled water ONLY, and the concentration is 20 PPM or less.

          As for intestinal flora, CS/EIS should have no effect on them unless the contents of the GI tract are liquid, as silver has to be mobile in an aqueous environment in order to be effective. In most people, the contents of the colon are moist solids, in which any silver would be immobilized.

          Alex wrote on November 23rd, 2011
        • Anytime anyone shouts “it’s incredibly dangerous!” I automatically shut down especially when followed up with accusations of “quackery” and a recommendation to go see “my doctor.” Puleez. Talk about quackery!

          Deannacat wrote on November 25th, 2011
        • Collodial Silver is not dangerous at all! If you over do it for a long period of time you may turn blue. But the above comment is ignorant as this was used as an antibiotic for thousands of years and not one person has ever died from it. As an example, it how they kept milk fresh in the 1800’s

          brian wrote on November 7th, 2013
    • oh i could NOT agree more with this comment. DIY @ home, yet? oh god.

      donkey wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  3. If find olive leaf an effective antibiotic I’ve used for years. Also I’ve seen IBS partially relieved by the Primal Flora.

    Grokitmus Primal wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • I’ve been thinking about trying olive leaf. I’ve read it can lower blood pressure, though, and I already have low blood pressure. I forgot to ask my doctor the last time I saw him (he’s great when it comes to natural supplements), thanks for the reminder.

      Lisa wrote on November 24th, 2011
  4. Dear Mark,

    While I appreciate some of what you’ve said regarding not enough evidence for alternatives to antibiotics, I disagree with it completely. One thing that’s been tested and proven, in many studies, to have antibacterial and ANTIVIRAL properties, and to even kill MRSA and C-Diff, is Doterra’s Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils.

    Let me point out an essential difference to anything else on the market: ours are authenticated for their purity by an independent lab to contain absolutely no chemical residues, herbicides, or pesticides. They’re the first to be standardized, and are thereby being tested now by the medical community and scientists.

    Herbs and essential oils have been used for millenia as medicine, and they were very effective. This was the medicine of Grok’s day, and is being returned to in today’s world because antibiotics have produced supergerms that pharmaceuticals can’t kill, but essential oils can.

    Blessings,
    ~Rev. Diane Jarecki
    Health and Wellness Coach
    Co-owner of Wings o’ Change

    Diane Jarecki wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Anything you would recommend for a chest infection.. I dont want antibiotics .. Thanks

      Lottie wrote on November 20th, 2012
      • love forsaken to protect from others now miss you my true family sisters and mother hope well mark

        markoshea wrote on February 28th, 2013
      • The best thing I made up was with muka honey,one clove of garlic, lemon juice.and warm water.> one table spoon of muka honey, one crushed garlic,and table spoon of lemon juice and mixed in a glass of hot water let it cool down give it a stir and drink it all in one go. Do this one a day for three days.

        Smudger wrote on July 2nd, 2014
  5. Definitely probiotics – and I’ve also used St John’s Wort and Echinacia tinctures with success in treating bacterial and/or viral infections.

    By the way, Mark – though you might like to know – I’ve featured you in this article:

    http://paleodietnews.com/3443/who-are-your-paleo-diet-heroes/

    Enjoy!

    Brian Cormack Carr wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  6. Brewer’s yeast resolved what I believe as a food poisoning (so bacterial?) condition while I was vacationing in Cuba (I’m Canadian).

    My conditions were stomach cramping, gas / bloating and diarrhea. I visited the on-site infirmary and the person attending (I don’t know her medical qualifications) sold me a bottle of Brewer’s Yeast tablets. I didn’t know what they were at the time. Regardless, the effect was almost instantaneous.

    It’s a curious cure for me – a fungus interacting with bacteria. While I haven’t looked too hard, I haven’t found anything supporting my experience (i.e., brewer’s yeast as an antibacterial).

    Regardless… if you have brewer’s yeast already, maybe its worth bringing on your next trip!

    Ian wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Without trying to start a war here, I can vouch that Cuban healthcare can be accessible, effective and inventive. Neccessity and all that.

      Lauren wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • When the state is too poor to afford to regulate people towards more expensive options, some surprisingly free-market-esque alternatives are eventually allowed to thrive.
        Free access to buy drugs without paying $$$$$ to see a doctor to tell you what you already know, for example.

        My 63 yo mother hasn’t had healthcare in 25 years. She hasn’t mooched off of hospitals either…broke her leg and it cost us about 2300.00 to take care of it. To say she’s come out ahead is an understatement. Especially considering no doctors upselling her on dangerous gateway drugs, like statins!
        Here’s a national healthcare plan: stop telling people to eat poisonous

        Oly wrote on August 13th, 2012
    • Well it makes sense because when you are treated for a fungal infection like candida, you must use probiotics. Fungus and bacteria must remain in good balance in the body so if one takes over, then you should supplement with the other. I’ll keep that in mind… a couple beers for a bacterial infection.. hahaha!

      catherine p. wrote on November 29th, 2011
  7. I’ll vouch for Coconut Oil! While everyone around me was getting sick for weeks with the seasonal virus that was going around, I had it for a whopping 3 days. Just increased the amount of coconut oil I was ingesting and only had mild symptoms compared to everyone else. My hubby, who is not a huge fan of coconut oil, had the nasty bug for 3 weeks. Since I work in various schools, mostly with young or disabled kids, I get exposed to a lot of stuff. I think I’ll keep my coconut oil consumption up for a while and will hopefully have a better chance of not getting whatever evil bug is going around.

    Tree wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  8. You missed a big one: 23ppm silver gel. Proven to work, and work well. I keep some at the house and it played a very large part in healing a serious infection on my arm (cellulitis). Healed in 3 days, with a 50% reduction in the borders of the redness and edema in just 12 hours. I heard of someone else locally that had a similar experience.

    I just read a study on how coconut oil healed wounds that could not healed by antibiotics.

    Dave, RN wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  9. Love this post! Thanks!

    Another reminder to take my Vitamin D drops in these cold, dark winter months.

    sara wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  10. If you have an infected wound I would skip the snake oil and go straight to the most powerful antibiotics you can get, a limb is a terrible thing to lose.

    rob wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • This is the kind of reactionary, fear-driven mindset that leads to the overuse of antibiotics. Yes, if you have a festering gash in your abdomen, go for the pharmaceuticals. But if you scrape yourself with a rake in the garden, for —‘s sake, try something milder. Sheesh.

      David wrote on November 24th, 2011
  11. I’m surprised there was no specific mention of Phage Therapy – used in the Soviet union in particular in the first half of the last century, and largely abandoned in favour of antibiotics since.

    Jed Harrison wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • I wrote a comment about phage therapy in the other post on antibiotics. It’s fascinating!

      The documentary I watched was called, “Phages: The Virus that Cures” and is available on-line for free if you Google it.

      Basically, it is one of the key ways that the country of Georgia deals with bacterial outbreaks. While more time consuming to create than antibiotics, they are specific to the outbreak rather than broad spectrum.

      A quick internet search shows that some bio-tech companies are looking to start manufacturing phages on a larger scale.

      Happycyclegirl wrote on November 24th, 2011
  12. The very thought of having someone send fecal matter into my stomach makes me want to gag. To me, the cure would be worse than the disease. But all the other methods sound well worth trying.

    Laura wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • The fecal matter is through an enema. It only goes into the colon – which is exactly where you want it. I read about this treatment earlier this year. It sounds promising. I have a friend who runs a colon hydrotherapy business. I think people don’t realize how important healthy gut bacteria is to our health.

      ValerieH wrote on November 28th, 2011
    • believe me, if you spent half of your adult life pussy-footing around foods and what is and isn’t safe for you to consume, and the other half sh*ting like there was tomorrow, you’d want a fecal transplant, nay you’d do pretty much anything for one!

      Niki wrote on August 28th, 2014
  13. Mark,

    Given how last week you stated, “lean human guts contain more flora from the bacterial phylum of Bacteroidetes and less from the Firmicutes phylum, whereas obese human guts contain flora more heavily weighted toward Firmicutes.”

    I was hoping this article would offer ways/examples/food to help cultivate one bacteria (bacteroidetes) over another (firmicutes).

    Is there any information how one would go about doing that?

    Evan wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • ditto Evan’s comment above. thanks

      helen wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  14. The fecal transplant is thinking outside the box…

    Great link… I hope for great things from this.

    Glockin Grok wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Its also disturbing. I’ve heard of it plenty of times before, and while its pretty clever and is known to work…its just so gross, haha. I’ll stick to my tried and true herbal methods, but hey to each their own. As long as it works, and works well, after all.

      Joshua Rogers wrote on January 10th, 2014
  15. Just a note on the “wait it out” example. Most doctors do not wait and see with ear infections anymore. The wait and see approach, which was instituted after the 2005 study, resulted in kids with hearing damage. The general approach for ear infections is back to treating with antibiotics and or tubes for those with recurring infections.

    Carrie S. wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • when my kids get ear infections i grate an onion and put 5 drops of onion juice in the ear. the pain is usually gone within an hour and the infection within 24 hours. i have only ever had to do 2 applications of the juice once — if i don’t have an onion i use garlic in warm olive oil. no antibiotics used in my house. also, we use homemade kefir as a wash for mild infections and redness on genitalia.

      emily wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • You can also/afterwards pack warmed, chopped onion in muslin and lay it over the ear, then put a hat on to keep it there. That seems to somehow draw out the infection. Just do it on a bath night!

        Lauren wrote on November 23rd, 2011
        • I have successfully used chopped red onion in cheesecloth tied around my toe with an ingrown toenail. If you can keep it on all day, it really helps with the pain as the nail grows out. Does smell very onion-y though.

          Diane wrote on November 23rd, 2011
        • Que up the Twilight Zone music……

          Paul Verizzo wrote on November 24th, 2011
        • A Swiss friend of mine uses a warm cabbage leaf and puts that over her ear. She says that it “draws out the infection”. She swears by it!

          We started to raise the cribs and beds of our kids with a wooden “riser” that we built so that they are sleeping on an incline. (The riser is about 4 inches or 10 cms high and fits under the frame of their beds.) This seems to help the ear drain when they have a cold much like adults prop themselves up with pillows.

          Since we started doing this we have not had a single occurrence of ear infection while prior to doing this our one child was prone to them.

          Happycyclegirl wrote on November 24th, 2011
      • I use warmed tea tree oil for ears. Works perfectly overnight every time. It’s also great on just about any cut or scrape and when my husband gets bronchitis, which he seems to be prone to, I rub it on his back and chest before bed. It really helps break up the mucus.

        Deannacat wrote on November 25th, 2011
    • Definitely agree – waiting it out for a day or so would be ok to see if it goes, but waiting it out for too long with a serious ear infection could lead to permananet damage. If your balance has gone in addition to being in pain then get to the doctor’s pronto!

      pixiedon wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • that is the “see” part of wait and see. If you give it some time and it doesn’t resolve itself then you take the anti biotics. Because the side effects can be serious make sure you need it.

        bbuddha wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • I know this is an old post, but I just have to reply…
      ear infections don’t cause “hearing damage.”
      They can cause a temporary conductive hearing loss, meaning sound vibrations can’t reach the nerves of the inner ear, because of fluid, etc in the middle ear. A peanut in your ear can also cause a conductive hearing loss. Also temporary (hopefully). Also not “hearing damage.” The problem for children with recurring ear infections that cause conductive hearing loss is that they may miss a lot of time hearing while they are developing language, so they may have speech and language delays. The “general approach” you mention is still BS. Most of these kids would benefit greatly from not consuming milk, sugar, processed foods, etc. Stop the scare tactics, esp when you are wildly incorrect in your statements!

      lynexx wrote on September 14th, 2012
  16. You’ve listed a lot of good information here, Mark. Though I will strongly emphasize this point: If you are at the point of HAVING an infection, GO TO THE DOCTOR AND GET THE ANTIBIOTICS ASAP. I work in the medical profession, and you do NOT want to screw around with alternative medicines if you are already suffering from infection. Untreated UTI’s for example can lead to bladder and urethral scarring. That is much, much worse than taking a round of antibiotics. The best way to avoid over-taking antibiotics is with what Mark has written here…Good habits of eating well, keeping your hands washed, adequate regular rest, and taking care of your immune system should be enough to prevent most worries about over-medicating on antibiotics.

    Laura Blacksin wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • I think making the blanket statement of going to the doctor and getting antibiotics ASAP because you have an infection is way too general. Are you saying any and all infections need an antibiotic? This is exactly the type of advice that has gotten us where we are today. Using natural alternatives takes practice and common sense. Instead of just going to a doctor and opting for antibiotics, try going to a naturopath instead.

      PJ wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Additionally, just because you take an antibiotic doesn’t mean it can even reach that infection in your big toe, or wherever it happens to be. The body is so loaded with bacterias that the antibiotic may be used up before it can even deal with the targeted infection. This results in multiple rounds of different antibiotics. Many naturopaths are experienced in dealing with infections. A huge advantage to using natural treatments is that it not only takes care of the infection that you know about, it can help build your immune system to deal with infections you didn’t even know you had. All without destroying your flora and general health.

      PJ wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • I am also in the medical profession and I think part of what this article was saying was that you DON’T “need to go to the doctor and get the antibiotics asap” thus the name of the article being Are There Antibiotic Alternatives and Mark saying “if there’s anything you can do when an infection comes around.”
      Your example of “Untreated UTI can lead to bladder and urethral scarring” yes, is some cases. Is that much worse than taking antibiotics? If we are looking at worst case scenarios antibiotics could kill you…that sounds worse. A paper cut can also lead to gangrene but it doesn’t mean it will and it also doesn’t mean you need antibiotics for it. You need to look at each case individually ESPECIALLY when the infection is already present.
      I personally, would rather as you so eloquently put “screw around with alternative medicine” for the vast majority of infections and let my body heal itself, which it will almost always do, rather than push chemicals into my body. I have other friends who are also MD’s and use antibiotics for every infection without giving much thought to the consequences, no doubt antibiotics have there place but that place is not everywhere! We need to be much more diligent about both prescribing and taking antibiotics, which Mark has done a great job addressing.
      Also Mark said here to NOT worry about washing your hands so much.

      Martin wrote on November 24th, 2011
      • I’ve been avoiding antibiotics ever since a reaction to erythromycin left me unable to walk for a week. I’ve been experiencing a lot of success learning the medicinal properties of local herbs (when based on a plants actual tannins and phenols rather than “it looks like a liver, so it must heal the liver”) for mild ailments and poulticing on wounds. But this summer, a rash showed up surrounding an ingrown hair on my leg… and spread rapidly and painfully. In a day it went from dime-size to a 4-inch diameter.

        I freaked out about it. I went to the doctor ASAP, got it checked out (probably standard staph, hopefully not MRSA), got a perscription antibiotic, took it faithfully through the full regimen… it just kept spreading. A little slower, but it wasn’t going away. With my gut angry at me and the rash unaffected, and having calmed down a bit, I went ahead with what I probably should have done in the first place:

        Twice a day, I poulticed the rash with a mix of common plantain and wood strawberry. Both plants are known to contain a wide range of chemicals that both combat bacteria and support the immune system. No magic joo-joo, just real, effective chemical treatment. Where on earth did we ever get the idea that isolated synthetic antibacterial compounds were better for most things than the complex cocktails of multi-spectrum antibiotics delivered by traditional medicinal plant use? Oh yeah… you can’t patent common plantain.

        Either way, the rash stopped hurting the first day. The second day, it shrank a few inches. A day later, it was down to two small, isolated patches. Finally, there was just one patch left that hung around another couple of days before disappearing. Who knows. Maybe it WAS MRSA. Wouldn’t make a difference; the Medications that MRSA is Resistant to are just the expensive, pill-shaped ones that you can’t find growing in your yard.

        There’s nothing holy about the medical profession. It’s perfectly possible for the individual to educate themselves on how to treat common ailments

        Erik wrote on November 24th, 2011
        • common plantain and wood strawberrycommon plantain and wood strawberry
          I find no reference no resource for your claim that they contain chemicals for immune “?
          plantain has soothing properties anti inflammatory which is a close cousin to immune ,wood strawberry ????

          star wrote on August 15th, 2013
  17. I am a garlic lover and eat it raw daily. I rarely get sick.(Once every few YEARS!) I also make a tincture called Usnea which is an antibacterial, antiviral and it works great. Echinacea is a good one as well as Goldenseal though I rarely use them. A persons diet is a huge factor. You have to be diligent with alternatives so many people prefer the quick fix and if you are in a critical situation (you have let things go too long before treating) then antibiotics might be best choice. followed by good probiotics. However if one investigates and follows a consistent protocol with a quality alternative there is no reason why it can’t work.

    Rainessa wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • High five, raw garlic lover! I also like to throw it in for a minute just to soften it a tiny bit and mix it with spices at the end of cooking. Mmmm.

      Lisa wrote on November 24th, 2011
  18. Don’t forget elderberry syrup. It’s one of the only things that works against a virus–antibiotics do not. Keep some in your cupboard for the next time you get the flu.

    Here’s some info:

    “A new, Norwegian study involved 60 patients who had been suffering with flu symptoms for 48 hours or less; 90% were infected with the A strain of the virus, 10% were infected with type B. Half the group took 15 milliliters of Elderberry syrup and the other group took a placebo four times a day for five days.

    Patients in the Elderberry group had “pronounced improvements” in flu symptoms after three days: Nearly 90% of patients had complete cure within two to three days. The placebo group didn’t recover until at least day six; they also took more painkillers and nasal sprays.”

    But the BEST way for the body to deal with illness is to fast. When the body goes into its fasting/cleansing mode, the immune system is supercharged and because it doesn’t have to deal with digestion, it can put all its energy toward fighting off infection. I always used to forget which way the old saying went: Starve a cold, feed a fever or vice versa? The answer is, starve BOTH or at least IM.

    And it goes without saying that the primal lifestyle and regular use of probiotics such as kefir and kombucha will keep sickness at bay. My coworkers get multiple infections every winter (and summer too) and then run to the doctor for antibiotics, but they’re always exclaiming how I never get sick!

    Outis wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  19. Edible epsom salts (and other forms of magnesium) taken daily can completely eliminate seizures in many epileptics. This spares them the lifelong side effects of pyschotropic antiepileptic medications. The salts have magnesium, something fantastic for neural functioning.

    JohnDoe wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  20. Garlic capsules by the handful for me. That consistently knocks out respiratory infections for me, as well as other infections (such as the time I decided to get my ears pierced and ended up with a swollen pussy mess!) Garlic has never failed me, I haven’t taken antibiotics in years. I have also successfully treated my pets with coconut oil when they’ve had injuries/infections. I applied it topically as well as added it along with cod liver oil to their food.

    julie wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  21. “Would you consider a fecal transplant? If you do try it out, let me know how that goes.”

    You first, Mark.

    oxide wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • I’ll even send you some for free! ;)

      Jon wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  22. Anitbiotics are definitely a cause of a lot of infrections. I haven’t been sick in 2 and a half years and I think a large part of that is because I have stopped worrying about washing my hands and dishes so thoroughly. Probiotics have done great things for me too.

    This is Sparta Strength wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  23. For infected cuts, punctures, or skin infections epsom salt works better than any antibiotic.

    DRK wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  24. For topical use we’ve done well with coconut oil with a couple drops of tea tree (melaleuca) oil mixed in. I keep it in a small bottle in the bathroom and it gets applied to cuts and scrapes and rashes as needed, even to athlete’s foot. When the commercial antibiotic ointment didn’t help heal an infected scrape on my husband’s leg, even after a week’s use, this mix did the trick in two days.

    deb wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  25. What about sulfa drugs? How do they fit? This is what I usually get for ear infections. The “wait and see” method has never worked for me.

    azsundevil wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  26. I would like to know who is going to pay for the 500 person RCT double-blind study on garlic? Correct me if I am wrong, but garlic isn’t a big money maker. Hence why many natural products do not have a lot of large studies behind them. Please keep this in mind when purporting only evidenced-based care.

    Furthermore, while antibiotics certainly are important in many cases, as a student of naturopathic medicine studying, the antimicrobial actions of herbs and whole foods cannot be discounted. At all!

    There is no issue with taking herbs over antibiotics especially in a world where antibiotics are given out like candy. In fact, they may be more effective and with MUCH less side effects – did you know that kids given antibiotics under the age of 2 are at a much greater risk of developing asthma in future?

    There is also nothing wrong with a “watch and wait” approach to ear infections. I would like to see just how many kids got hearing damage from an untreated ear infection. What medical care were they receiving, what was their nutrition like – is mom feeding them sugary drinks and corn dogs with their antibiotic dose?

    Individual health must be evaluated from an individualistic vantage point. Know your body, listen to it, and trust the healing power of nature.

    RMTC wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • BINGO! Well said. I also wonder how many children got hearing damage from an untreated ear infection as opposed to tubes being placed in their ears and continuous rounds of antibiotics for recurrent infections. I believe if anyone is getting recurrent infections, you need to find out WHY AND WHAT IS CAUSING THEM and eliminate the cause. Isn’t that what natural medicine is all about, after all?

      PJ wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Actually, it’s not bad to be prudent with herbs either. As with pretty much any substance, allergic reactions can and do occur; my youngest child seems to be over her reactions to rosemary, but we still do our best to avoid it. (I wish the people who included it in “Natural Flavors” when selling turkey would do the same, because sometimes that’s the only way we can get it. :-()

      We have also had a couple of infections get downright dangerous despite following a darned good eating regimen and good supplementing practices even before we went Paleo; even though we rarely get sick, the same younger child last year ended up with pneumonia right before the holidays and it took an abx IV in the doctor’s office to get her really started on a recovery. So while “wait and see” has its times, sometimes by the time you DO wait, what you see is that it actually has gotten worse. Given the increasing number of abx-resistant strains out there now, as an educated parent it’s hard to “wait and see” when you already know someone whose kid has blown out eardrums multiple times with that approach.

      In cases where we need them, though, it is definitely good to know about protocols for re-stocking the gut to the extent possible. Not sure if I myself could go thru a fecal transplant outside a case of c.diff, but I could actually see me OKing it for one of my kids if things got dire enough.

      deb wrote on November 24th, 2011
  27. Hi Mark… as someone who’s research touches on both immunology and the human microbiome field, I am appalled and terrified by your advice about trying fecal transplants at home. While you put in a cursory warning – at least your legal department got you to do that – you neglect to clearly spell out the incredible risk involved. Feces is full of a lot more than beneficial bacteria. The potential for transmission of pathogenic bacteria, parasites and serious, life threatening viruses (Hep, HIV, etc) is very very real. There are things most people would never think to test for because donors are asymptomatic. Also, this is the internet, and guess what, some people out here lack common sense. You have (at least, I feel you should have) a responsibility as someone who puts out health related information – even if specifically not classified as health advice or recommendations – to not glibly suggest or encourage dangerous courses of action. While I agree that the therapy has promise, and I hope to see work (lab research, clinical trials) continue on it, this is ABSOLUTELY NOT something that people should be trying at home. Please please please people, if you are interested in this therapy, talk to your physician. Look at where the studies are being conducted and think about contacting those researchers. Do NOT try this at home.

    Adrienne wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • I appreciate your input on this, Adrienne. I’ve tightened up my disclaimers to ensure my original point was clear: consult a doctor before you go anywhere near fecal transplants. Absolutely people should use caution.

      Mark Sisson wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  28. I learned my lesson with antibiotics. I was a super healthy and active 35 year old that was into running/biking/triathlons, etc. I rarely got sick, but with a 3 year old, it happened. I got a sinus infection in April 2011, and went to the Dr. I was prescribed AVELOX, 10 pills, 1 a day… the side effect listed “May Rupture Tendons”, typically in 60+ year olds.. So i figured while i was on these meds, I would take it easy in the gym.

    Soon after, my knees ached while running or biking. Then it got worse, and worse, to the point where I could barely walk in June. I got blood tests done, no Lyme, and I was told I had nothing wrong. WRONG… When I mentioned that the drug was causing my aches/pains, and I read about “fluoroquinolone toxicity”, the Dr made me feel like I was crazy.

    Over the summer I worked on my diet even further, diet made a difference because I now had “Leaky Gut”. Anything I ate leaked through my gut into my blood stream, causing aches and pains. Eating Paleo made me feel better. Then in the fall, I started having other issues, muscle spasms, tendon tightness, rashes, random aches/pains throughout my muscles and joints, I cannot work out, I can barely walk without it causing something to ache. I used to wear Vibram FiveFingers but when I wear them, my arch aches!!!!!!! I cannot ride my motorcycle, my forearm hurts. Mouse and keyboard use at work make me now feel like I have carpel-tunnel.

    In the coming new year our $3600 health insurance deductible resets, and I am going to go all out with more tests, MRI’s, brain scans, etc… And we wonder why our health insurance rates are going up??? But I have a feeling that my Nutritionist and is absolutely correct, that eating right and time are the only things that will heal my gut and hopefully allow my body to get back to normal.

    This is the same drug as Cipro and Levaquin, which was given to the troops that went to the Gulf War, and now have Gulf War Syndrome. It is not meant for anything except “life threatening situations”, but its so effective that Dr’s prescribe it like candy. Meanwhile, a year or so later, you end up with aches and pains and do not realize the drug caused these pains, and you are told you have Fibromyalgia, or Chrones, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc… These drugs are ruining us, it certainly ruined me.

    Dan Lombardi wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • My story is the same as yours. The ENT That was treating my sinus infection insisted my rapid decline wasn’t caused by the antibiotics, or prednisone. Now I’m a non compliant patient, but doing much better eating homemade sour kraut, and drinking homemade mead.

      drk wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • Hi drk – prednisone is a corticosteroid that is contra-indicated with fluroquinolones. FQ’s alone have a high serious adverse reaction (wide spread damage) profile. With steroids or nsaids or caffeine that risk is heightened.

        Geoff wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Dan – same experience for me from crossfit to crippled due to fluroquinolones. One year on most of the ADR’s are passed but I’m not able to get back to the kind of strength and speed training I was doing before.
      I wouldn’t bother with further tests – they most probably wont show anything. Join the FB groups and put yr story up on the fluroquinolone wall of pain. And check out http://www.saferpills.org the advocacy group on FQ’s – covers the private university studies on Levaquin. They are looking to have an advocate representative in every US state. If youve not seen them (guessing you have) Dr Jay Cohen’s site has some useful materials and the Mayo Clinic document from 2010 on Musculo skeletal damage in young high intensity athletes. FQ’s are according the UK Prof of Clinical Pharmacology I saw, “not like any other class of antibiotic” – they are wrecking thousands of lives. And often prescribed when there is no infection. Wishing you healing and recovery! Geoff, UK

      Geoff wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • Thanks Geoff… I looked up Dr. Cohen’s website and there’s a whole link specifically for issues due to fluoroquinolones. I may call him up to make a phone-appointment to see what suggestions he has.

        http://www.jaycohenmd.com/fluoroquinolone.html

        I am on Facebook’s “Fluoroquinolone Antibiotic Toxicity (Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox, Floxin)” group…

        I also heard good thinks about Ozone-Therapy, so I’m looking into trying that. I just cannot believe this has happened to me, and how the FDA has not put a stop to this already. If I get any worse, I worry about not being able to work, since it hurts to type and use a mouse. I am getting weaker and more frail by the day.

        Thanks again.
        Dan

        Dan Lombardi wrote on November 25th, 2011
        • Hi Dan

          You can contact me or any of the QVF rep’s from the saferpills site, I’m in UK – but there may be one in yr state. I know some are organising meet-ups. I dont think Dr J C has any further info than what you can gather from these guys or the fqtoxicity site/yahoo forum. Theres a bunch of folks you can talk to. Drop me a line if you like.

          Be great to see Mark do something on FQ’s at some point, they really are a serious health hazard.

          Geoff

          Geoff wrote on November 26th, 2011
        • you might want to consider homeopathy. they have good results clearing up iatrogenic disease caused by pharmaceutical side effects. they can make a homeopathic remedy from the pharmaceutical in question and use it to help your body eliminate its cellular memory as long as there has not been irreversible structural damage.

          tlc wrote on November 29th, 2011
    • Just about the same thing happened to me. I was prescribed Cipro for a kidney infection. The infection cleared up within a day or two, but I started having pain in my left achilles tendon. For that I was prescribed a powerful anti arthritis drug- with many scary warnings- which had me doubled over with stomach pain. It was after almost a year that I discovered, browsing on the net, the connection between tendon problems and these drugs. My Dr did not believe it even after I brought the package insert to him, with a great big warning about it. A chiro fixed it using something called the Graston Technique.

      Rene R wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • I have never, ever posted a comment in my life, but I have to comment on Cipro. I have noticed that because my husband and I are attorneys, we tend to be “over-treated” (damn lawyers are always suing, you know). Starting at age 30, I began my antibiotic allergic reactions, including epi-pen shot at around 34. Even with these known allergies, my drug-happy doc prescribed Cipro for I don’t even remember what. I couldn’t walk! My knees and joints, my headache worse than my past migraines…finally, FINALLY after a wireless ER visit, we determined it was the Cipro that was attacking my joints, etc. I, too, had the same reaction as many on these comments about the fecal therapy, and I’m not convinced yet, but I laughed for days over the squat-to-poop suggestions before I decided my life long spastic colon and IBS

        Brenda wrote on November 23rd, 2011
        • …oops, my inexperience at commenting is showing. To cut to the chase, I skipped the squatting equipment and cured my lifelong bowel issues after a week. I only recently admitted to my skeptical hubby that I now always squat. My point is, I have slowly learned that the things that sound the most unconventional or even crazy may be exactly what the doctor didn’t order–and that alone is worth a second look.

          Brenda wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Have you seen a Lyme Literate doctor?

      freddie-set-go wrote on November 26th, 2011
  29. You forgot dandelion root tea! Taking fresh dandelion root and chopping it up to make a long-steeping tea will pretty much destroy all inflammation in your body and stop infections like boils and infected cuts. Works every single time. For the bacterial sniffles (green mucus), drink it twice a day for about ten days. Symptoms go away on the first day, but you want to really clean house, so ten days to two weeks is recommended.

    *disclaimer – If it’s not working, get to a doctor!

    knifegill wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  30. There’s an herb I only know as “mountain tea” that is absolutely wonderful for colds and congestion of any kind. I began using it 20 years ago while living in Greece, and it’s available in Greek/Middle Eastern groceries in the States, and in a lot of fruit and veg shops and ethnic delis here in AU. I think it’s a sage. Anyway, I brew it one stalk broken up per cup of tea and drink it with honey or just straight. Seems to help break up congestion and definitely eases the symptoms of colds.

    Shelli wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  31. I cure sinus infections with fresh garlic crushed into juice and 1-2 drops applied to my nostrils (using the tip of a well-washed pinkie finger). Works every time in a few days, and has replaced the several-times-a-year antibiotics I used to get. There may not be clinical studies to support this yet, but three straight years of this versus the previous 10 of antibiotic therapy and I’m a believer!

    David wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  32. I’m a big fan of the “wait and see” method, unfortunately my antibiotic-hungry patients aren’t. Everyone wants instant results and falsely think that’s what antibiotics do. Also want to put my plug in for the Neti pot as an awesome cure for many problems with sinus and allergic disease!

    Amyamm wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  33. For whatever this is worth… (besides, or in addition to, colloidal silver) this is a concoction I made up in a large quantity….Seems very effective.
    Equal parts of:
    Fresh chopped garlic
    Fresh chopped onion
    Fresh grated ginger root
    fresh horseradish root
    fresh cayenne (or hotter) peppers
    raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
    Mix in glass jar, shake at least once a day for minimum of two weeks.
    Filter.
    Dose: one or two ounces two or more times daily.

    martha wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • That’s an old remedy that’s been around a long time and it works great for prevention as well.

      cj wrote on November 26th, 2011
  34. I get chronic sinus/strep infections and my naturopath suggested putting xylitol in my neti pot and rinsing twice a day. It takes a while (a week or more) but it works for me. Whenever I feel one coming on I supplement with garlic and extra vitamin c, plus the xylitol in the neti pot, and I can now fight them off naturally.

    I dissolve 2 teaspoons of powdered xylitol in 2 cups of warm water.

    Sally wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  35. A very timely post. I would like to ask about how best to deal with the ‘Mystery bacterial infections’. I currently have a red swollen head and face, with puffy eyelids. Extremely disfiguring. Along with it has been fever and chills and a day of diarrhoea. Tests reveal it is a skin bacterial infection of some kind, but the petri dish is yet to grow the spores to tell us what. No one I know has this. I don’t usually take antibiotics, but, I have succumbed, given how frightening this is. I suspect I picked up the germs from my home chicken coop, where I buried a dead chook last week. It was sick for three days and I don’t what it died from. I was careful to use gloves when I disposed of the body, but I suspect I got the germs from the chook poo in the yard rather than the body itself. My GP is totally out of her depth on this one. Anyone here have any suggestions?

    Tam wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Histoplasmosis maybe?

      From Google:

      Histoplasma fungus grows in soil. When particles become airborne, they can be breathed into the lungs, causing infection. Soil contaminated with bird or bat droppings may have a higher concentration of the fungus.

      After infecting the lungs, the fungus travels to distant areas of the body, including the skin. This is a sign of widespread (disseminated) infection. Skin lesions can be caused by an immune response to the infection (usually a rash called erythema nodosum or erythema multiforme), or by the fungus itself when it spreads to the skin.

      Caroline wrote on December 5th, 2011
  36. What about Apple Cider Vinegar for infections? Like sinus related infections?

    Jacqui wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  37. Mark:

    THANK YOU for the much-needed short list of what to do when taking a round of antibiotics, which I am now. I asked for the list in the comments yesterday, and boom, here’s the list today. Can’t get much speedier help than that. I am very grateful.

    Much is written on this blog about stress. So I know better than to stress over taking this round, notwithstanding the all the scary information that abounds. I’ve taken antibiotics before, never habitually, always with improvement that would not likely have resulted without them, and with my other systems (including my gut) apparently intact.

    In the comments yesterday, a doctor presented the other side of things, i.e. – the danger of infection. Reading that, I pictured how it would be if I skipped the antibiotics, contracted an infection, and had to explain to my doctor that I’d chosen to take that risk in order to protect my gut flora.

    My good health and strength are in the stratosphere, thanks to being Primal. I’ve positioned myself well, as we all have, to endure something with a well-established potential downside. I think the point of this series of posts was to bring awareness and discourage wide-spread use. All good.

    So, as I see it, there’s no need to add stress and fear to my particular equation. Dashing out now for some sauerkraut. Haven’t had any in years, but I’m open to new things. :-)

    Thanks again.
    Susan

    Susan Alexander wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Susan, just a quick note that dashing out for some sauerkraut isnt the solution you are after, most that come in a can is not kraut at all but cooked sterelised cabage with vineger. The web is filled with advice on how to make it, and its great ! Or finding a speciality shop that has real kraut is the only other solution.

      Michal wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • Thanks so much. There’s a great specialty shop near me here in NYC. I’d never opt for the canned. :-)

        Susan Alexander wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  38. Neem ( azadirachta Indica) has potent antifungal and antimicrobial properties.

    Also called the “village pharmacy”…

    esochiro60 wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • and stinks to high heaven :D

      Lauren wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  39. I have had this thing where when I stand my ears start pounding from the inside and the only way I can stop it is to swallow hard quite a few times. Then there is major crackling in my ears when I swallow. I feel really tired and weak also. This has been happening for a few months now. So I have just recently started apple cider vinegar. It is really annoying. Any suggestions???

    Jacqui wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Hey- I am sure that someone has already answered your question already but in case they haven’t you are probably experiencing orthostatic hypotension (hope I spelled that correctly) which is simply low blood pressure upon standing. I have always had it and the primal life has only increased it. Certainly make sure that you get checked out and don’t just take my suggestion. However, it can be ameliorated by standing up slowly. I personally have to monitor my sea salt intake as well. A lot of people go crazy on this site about salt- but they are mostly men and don’t have my bp. Doctors and nurses often can’t even register mine. Sometimes in the middle of a kick- I see stars! I hope this helps.

      Lila wrote on November 25th, 2011
  40. I can also report health problems that started with a round of antibiotics for strep throat. I ended up with a systemic yeast infection that caused outbreaks of hives for three years. I finally conquered it using a supplement called SF722 and eliminating all grains and refined carbs from my diet.

    And by the way, taking large doses of garlic in late pregnancy may cause hemorrhage after birth. It thins the blood.

    I frequently use oregano oil at the first sign of illness. It has worked very well to stave off whatever I felt was trying to make me ill.

    diane wrote on November 23rd, 2011

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