Antibiotics Cause Oxidative Stress (study)
The July 3rd issue of Science Translational Medicine reports on an important reason long-term antibiotics are harmful. The antibiotics studied (ciprofloxin, ampicillin and kanamycin) each caused oxidative stress in cultured human cells and if used for four days caused mitochondria to malfunction. They found all three of these antibiotics caused damage to DNA, proteins and lipids of the cultured human cells and when used long term caused glutathione levels to fall due to the ongoing oxidative stress.
The study also found that use of NAC (N-acetylcyteine) reduced this oxidative stress.
There are two very important take home messages here:
1. Do NOT use antibiotics unless absolutely necessary (very serious potentially life threatening infections) and don’t use them long term.
2. If you must be on antibiotics, take NAC and I would add other nutrients (like Vitamin C) that help fight oxidative stress.
The pathways that lead to glutathione require optimal function of the methylation cycle which requires adequate B6, B-12, and folate, along with adequate trace elements.
These needs can be met with a great organic, whole-food diet that includes meat, eggs, or fish for the B12, but for many it may make sense to supplement, especially if you must be on antibiotics for more than a week or two.