Usually when we see the word super we connect it to heroes—or something else that is equally strong, fast-acting, or powerful. Rarely do we attach the word super to a negative thought. In the case of superbugs, however, there is nothing good about the word super.
Superbugs are not Jurassic-sized mosquitoes or a fly the size of a bat; they are bacteria that have mutated to the point where antibiotics no longer have an effect, which can lead to long-lasting diseases and even death.
The overuse of antibiotics for conditions that don’t warrant them (viral infections like cold/flu, most ear infections, etc.) and the use of antibiotics in agriculture (beef, pork, chicken, and fish) are the leading factors contributing to the formation of superbugs. Even if you don’t take antibiotics, you most likely consume them daily through our food supply.
Other than limiting the use of antibiotics (prescription or agriculturally), taking care of the immune system is the perfect place to start the fight against antibiotic resistance. By maintaining a healthy immune system, you eliminate the need for antibiotics and eventually the formation of superbugs. These are the steps I use to support my immune system and avoid the need for antibiotics:
1. Buy organic.
Nonorganic foods contain chemicals that can decrease immune response and/or lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
2. Avoid sugar.
Sugar decreases immune-cell production and it blocks the ability of existing immune cells from doing their job.
3. Eat more antioxidants.
Antioxidants are well documented for supporting immune health. Eating foods rich in colors (green, red, yellow orange, purple, blue) or, as I say, “eating a rainbow every day,” will go a long way toward boosting immune function.
4. Get more exercise.
Exercise increases the production of immune cells and decreases stress and stress-related hormones, which are linked to immune weakness.
5. Take key supplements.
Dietary supplements will provide the added boost that you can’t necessarily get from your diet. Two in particular, InSync(probiotic) and AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound), are part of my daily supplement program.
Researchers have found that there is a positive connection between probiotics and the immune system. Why do I use InSync? InSync stands out from other probiotics in several ways: its tablet technology (GI Guard) and its balance of doctor-recommended friendly bacteria. While most probiotics dissolve in your stomach and expose the bacteria to the harmful effects of stomach acid, GI Guard protects the delicate bacteria from heat, moisture, and stomach acid—the three things known to harm these friendly bacteria.
AHCC appeals to the pharmacist in me due to its nearly 25 human clinical studies proving it can maintain peak natural killer cell activity (a critical component of immune function). AHCC will help keep your immune system primed and ready to act when needed, protecting you from superbugs. In a recent study on mice that were given a lethal dose of the superbug Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the mice dosed with AHCC survived significantly longer than the placebo group. In short, by taking AHCC daily I am assured that when my body comes in contact with a virus or bacteria, my immune system is primed and ready to react.
Superbugs are here to stay, but it’s our job to make efforts to not make this bad situation worse. We can achieve this by focusing on several areas: eliminating the use of antibiotics in agriculture, saving antibiotic use for critical conditions, keeping the use of antibacterial disinfectants to a minimum, and taking care of our immune systems by using my simple suggestions above. If we all make this our practice, we can slow the growth of superbugs and live healthier lives.
About the Author
David Foreman, RPh, is a retired pharmacist, author, and radio host of the syndicated show “The Herbal Pharmacist.” He is well versed on the healing powers of herbs, vitamins, and other natural supplements and is the author of 4 Pillars of Health: Heart Disease. He is a frequent speaker at some of America’s leading universities, medical groups, and hospitals on the subject of natural health and healing. His shift from traditional pharmacist to herbal pharmacist was based on his belief that education is the key to understanding that natural health plays a vital role in mainstream medicine, and he has dedicated his entire career to educating consumers about the benefits and power behind natural herbs and supplements.