I do not remember the last time I took antibiotics, if ever. I’m rarely sick, and when I am, it tends to resolve on its own. If I were to take antibiotics, however, I’d make sure that I’d really need them instead of using them as a first option. Actually, I apply this method of self care to any form of medicine since I don’t want to risk hurting my body by taking medicine that I may not even need if I can help it. In the event I needed antibiotics, I will have made sure to exhaust all other options regarding my health and the infection in question, and to follow the instructions carefully so I do not contribute to antibiotic resistance. After healing from the infection, I’d want to repair any damage done to my microbiome by consuming probiotic foods and researching the drug I will have taken to know what specific species could have been affected. The experiences I have in order to shape my opinion come from accumulated knowledge of how antibiotics work, the risks associated with resistance, and the kind of care and dedication I have to my health.
As I’m supposed to write about how my diet might affect my microbiome, one major thought comes to mind: The effects of a low carb diet on the microbiome. As someone trying and succeeding at weight loss, my main goal in eating low carb has been to directly manipulate my metabolism for fat burning rather than glucose burning. This could very well affect the kinds of microbes living in my body, since bacteria having high carb demands would not survive very well on my diet. I imagine the kinds of microbes I’m cultivating are ones that rely heavily on fat, protein, and fibre for fuel. Hopefully, this means these are the bacteria that can further influence my food preferences to continue sticking to my diet, and live a healthy life.
In the article “Helicobacter Pylori Related Health Problems in Children” written by Akcam and Aslan, they assert that there are many potential dangers of chronic infection with H. Pylori. Akcam and Aslan support their claim by providing a diversity of evidence regarding the diseases that are associated with H. Pylori infection, including but not limited to: cancer, heart disease, neurological disease, and nutrient deficiency. Akcam and Aslan underscore the seriousness of disease correlated with H. Pylori infection in order to spread awareness and promote research and treatment for diseases previously not associated with H. Pylori infection. Akcam and Aslan primarily target an audience already literate in the biological sciences, but their paper can be read and understood by anyone concerned with health and disease (1).
Akcam, Mustafa, and Nagehan Aslan. “Helicobacter Pylori Related Health Problems in Children.” Iranian Journal of Public Health, Iranian Journal of Public Health, 1 June 2015, www.questia.com/library/journal/1P3-3737115651/helicobacter-pylori-related-health-problems-in-children.
Our behavior and health has been previously thought to exist in a vacuum, untouchable by the microbial world. But research uncovers every day that microbes have an enormous impact on many aspects of who we are, physiologically and psychologically as well. Even though microbes influence us, we also influence them through our own choices and behaviors. Many behaviors that influence our personal microbiomes center around what we eat and how we manage our hygiene. Eating, for example, has the power to change our microbiome for better or worse depending on what foods are consumed. One who eats mostly junk food will culture a microbiome that benefits from that type of food, and said microbiome would influence the person to eat more unhealthfully. The true is also said for healthy food, so developing habits with healthy food will cultivate a microbiome that feeds off of it. This can lead into a cycle of being accustomed to eating healthfully, or eating poorly and developing diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Another habit that influences one’s microbiome is cleanliness. Although I am not arguing against having good hygiene, being too meticulous about it has been correlated with higher rates of allergies and autoimmune disease. Although correlation does not equate to causation, one hypothesis for this phenomenon is that disallowing the body to be exposed to enough microbes and pathogens leaves the immune system unprepared and misguided, increasing one’s chances for allergies and autoimmune disease.
To summarize which HPV strains I think should be prioritized, they are the ones with both the highest prevalence, and highest risk for permanently debilitating or fatal disease. This includes the hepatitis B and C viruses, along with the human papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer. Even though the EBV virus causes mononucleosis and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the latter is not a guaranteed, let alone common, outcome of EBV infection. Mononucleosis is a severe infection, but rarely fatal, and resolves within months. Hepatitis, until recently for hep C, has been a lifelong condition with treatment but no cure. Hepatitis B and C cause not only liver cancer, but liver failure of other causes. A vaccine for hepatitis B and C should be prioritized for these reasons. The human papillomavirus is a common STD and not infrequently causes cervical cancer, so a vaccine for this virus should be prioritized as well. Viruses and their respective diseases to target after ones that are prioritized would be the EBV virus and the HTLV-1 virus. These viruses can cause deadly cancers; however, they do not do so on a frequent basis that would warrant the same calibre of funding that should be directed towards hepatitis or HPV. The lowest priority would be the Kaposi’s Sarcoma virus, because indirect treatment involves keeping a patient immunocompetent-as in, instead of treating KSHV, the cause of the immunosuppression in the patient is treated instead.