Antibiotics in the First year of life Increase Asthma Risk

AugmentenParents, do everything you can to avoid antibiotics in the first year of life!  I was not so wise 20-30 years ago when my own children were infants.  I was the typical pediatrician back then, trained by the system and believing antibiotics were both harmless and the cure for most infections.

I’m embarrassed to make that confession, but it’s good for the soul!  I recall in my early days hearing about Naturopaths who were shunning antibiotics and promoting probiotics, thinking they were misguided. Little did I know that  it was I and mainstream medicine that was misguided.

The study in Lancet “Assessing the association of early life antibiotic prescription with asthma exacerbation, impaired antiviral immunity, and genetic variants in 17q21:a population-based birth cohort study” (which you can read here… )  found that antibiotics the first year of life caused a doubling of wheezing and hospitalizations for asthma.  How could that be?

You guessed it, that same antibiotics vs probiotics thing!  You see, the healthy bacteria in our intestinal track have a lot to do with our immune system and the balance of the immune system (and thus the development of allergies and asthma). More antibiotics = more allergies and asthma.  The single worse thing you can do for your baby is to give them antibiotics.  OK, I exaggerate, cyanide or aspartame would be worse.

Point is, you can avoid allergies and asthma to a large extent, by giving your baby good probiotics and avoiding antibiotics. 

So when should you use antibiotics and when should you try to avoid them?

Use them for a proven bacterial pneumonia that is serious (your child is struggling to breathe). A CBC (complete blood count) will often tell us if the infection is likely viral or bacterial, due to the predominance of neutrophils.  A consolidated infiltrate (infection in one part of the lungs) is usually bacterial. Use them and you may need your child admitted to the hospital for sepsis (bacterial infection in the blood) or bacterial meningitis. Avoid them like the plague for colds and coughs, runny noses, “sinus infections” unless it’s a serious bacterial sinus infection, and more than 90% of ear infections resolve on their own without antibiotics. Strep throat is more controversial.  I always treat it, as I don’t want any of my patients to develop the serious potential side effects of untreated strep infections. I know some naturopaths who do not treat strep throat with antibiotics and instead boost their patient’s natural immune system. 

The study also showed that children who received antibiotics in infancy had significantly lower induction of cytokines, which are important in host defense against viral infections to both RSV and rhinovirus.  So antibiotics in infancy make you more prone to viral infections.  RSV has been known to greatly increase your chances of life-long asthma 

 (see other blogs on this – www.drpaulvideos.com – click on blogs and search probiotics), 

 

Dr. Paul

 

Ebola- Why Most Don’t Need to Worry, What You Need to Know

EbolaThe August 2014 New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) article “Ebola- Underscoring the Global Disparities in Health Care Resources”, highlights the real issues concerning the current world Ebola crisis. 

The current Ebola outbreak in West Africa has now claimed over 1000 lives, mostly in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  Ebola has now also spread to Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country.  Given the case fatality rate of 60% quoted for this outbreak, it tends to bring that sense of panic to the minds of everyone.  

What is important to realize is that this RNA filovirus is only transmitted through body fluids.  It is not respiratory. The images in the world media of the Americans being flown to the USA in plastic containment units, with everyone around them in full body mask and protective gear, misleads us all to thinking that this is a respiratory virus and that just sitting near someone with Ebola will put you at risk.  You only catch Ebola from body fluids; usually feces, vomit, oral secretions, or blood.  This makes sense.  With a fatality rate of about 60% for this current outbreak, if it were respiratory, it would quickly wipe out entire villages and cities.  

The incubation is typically 5-7 days but can be 2-21 days. The symptoms may include fever, weakness, diarrhea, and a rash with about half of those infected developing bleeding and hemorrhage. 

For those living in regions of risk (West Africa), the key is avoiding contact with body fluids, and if handling those who have died from this disease, use gloves when you are in contact with the body, and wash your hands after any contact with anyone who might be infected.  It would be wise to avoid intimacy, where exchange of body fluids could occur, including kissing on the mouth.

This crisis will not likely become a world-wide epidemic, because good hygiene and sanitary systems will prevent spread from person to person.  At the government level, money might best be spent improving water and sanitation systems in the countries suffering from Ebola. 

You can read the article in the New England Journal of Medicine here…

 

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Pregnancy– Reduce Diabetes!

gluten freeType-1 diabetes is no longer rare. This used to be called Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). It is now known that the immune system destroys the pancreatic islet cells that produce insulin.  Once destroyed there is little chance they will recover.  Your child or you will need to take insulin by injection or pump daily for the rest of your life.

Type-1 diabetes has been on the rise.  In the years 2002–2005, 15,600 youth were diagnosed in the USA.  In the under 10 years age group, the rate of new cases was  1 in 5000.  I have had about 2 new cases a year in my practice of 10,000 so that fits with my experience. 

It was thought that we didn’t know why the immune system was attacking the pancreas.  I have a few ideas that I will share at the end. 

What if you could do something to significantly reduce the chance that your unborn child would get diabetes?  Turns out that the study “A maternal gluten-free diet reduces inflammation and diabetes incidence in offspring of NOD mice” (read here… ) showed that moms who were gluten-free prevented their offspring from getting type 1 diabetes!

While this study was on mice, preliminary studies are showing that being gluten free for pregnancy and while breast-feeding seems to be protective.  I would add that you avoid wheat and gluten altogether.  Sadly these grains have been so altered, through hybridization and genetic modifications, that our immune systems just don’t recognize these proteins as food and we mount an immune attack.  Inflammation results and there is also the probability that parts of partially digested gluten protein looks enough like the proteins in the islet cells of the pancreas that our immune system thus attacks the pancreas.

The study found that fetal and early life gluten-free diets reduced the development of diabetes and changed the gut microbiota resulting in a less inflammatory immunological milieu in the gut and pancreas (to use the words of the authors).

What this means is that bacterial diversity and certain strains may be more protective than others.  We know this to be the case.  Probiotics (good bacteria) decrease inflammation. It seems that gluten is not only directly pro-inflammatory but also changes the bacterial makeup of the gut.

I agree with this study and hypothesis.  If inflammation in the gut is bad, we should avoid all the things we can that would potentially trigger unnecessary inflammation. So what are some of the other offenders?

1.  Gluten, from wheat and grains (the more refined the worse it is).

2.  Aspartame (NutraSweet, Splenda) our body converts to formaldehyde = autoimmune attack on every tissue it reaches.

3.  Antibiotics (they destroy the good bacteria leaving you vulnerable).

4.  Sugar, junk food– it is pro-inflammatory.

5.  Vaccines (especially aluminum containing and giving many too young). We know that the current schedule shifts the immune system to a more allergic state.

6.  Foods high in histamine (for those vulnerable– see that blog from earlier this week)

 

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few key ones. Please respond in the comments with the main ones I’ve forgotten.

 

Dr. Paul

 

 

 

 

New Hepatitis C Treatment– Near 100% Cure in Just 3 Months Without Interferon

hepatitis-cAbout 170 million people world-wide suffer form chronic Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) which untreated leads to liver cancer, liver failure, and an early death.  The infection is usually from shared needles with IV drug use, or a blood transfusion.  The initial viral infection of the liver can result in cold or flu like symptoms. Fatigue and ultimately yellow color of the skin can develop.

 

In the study “ABT-450/r-ombitasvir and Dasabuvir with or without Ribavirin for HCV”, there was nearly 100% cure rate after just 12 weeks with common side effects of fatigue, headache, and nausea but much less severe than past treatment with interferon.

 

If you suffer from Hepatitis C that is progressive and active, this may be an option soon.  I would vote for this if I had to treat Hepatitis C.  These were phase 3 trials so general availability may be limited for a time.  Ask your research institution or hepatologist or gastroenterologist to see if you can be included in a trial.

 

You can read the study here…

 

Dr. Paul