Forming a personal philosophy on antibiotics can be easy coming from a person who never relied on them because their life depended on it or to improve the quality their life. With increasing antibiotic resistance, I’d argue that antibiotic use should be minimized. Life threatening situations would be an exception.
There haven’t been many instances that I required antibiotics. The first was when I got my wisdom teeth removed. My dentist prescribed very small amounts of penicillin to prevent infection. I believe I also got prescribed an antibiotic when I had a serious sinus infection. During these times I was a young child. My parents approved of the prescriptions and never questioned the physician which is reasonable.
I still believe that antibiotics can be used in a beneficial way without contributing to antibiotic resistance, we just have to find that medium. Now that I am an adult, I will definitely be more cautious when getting medication prescribed. I will ask questions during consultations about what the drug is supposed to do and if it is an antibiotic or not. Maybe there are other types of medication that could be used in lieu of antibiotics.
Growing up, I never really monitored what I ate. I was a competitive gymnast and trained over 20 hours a week. I ate what would make me feel full and what would give me energy to get through lengthy practices and late night homework sessions. It wasn’t until I got to high school when I started to be more cautious about what kind of food I was putting into my body. I tried to eat less processed and fried foods. I also tried to incorporate more protein, fruits and vegetables. Of course growing up in Hawai’i means that spam is simply too staple. I tried to limit it to special occasions. I’d say that this mentality lines up pretty well to this day.
An intentional choice that I make regarding food consumption is that I stray away from any supplements or “add ins” that have not been recommended by my physician. This includes diet pills or even extra probiotics. This is solely because I don’t want to upset my stomach or take something that could adversely affect my health when I don’t have a real problem to begin with. I do enjoy yogurt, kimchee and even a calcium or immunity boost in my smoothie but these instances are in small quantities and are not very frequent.
Perhaps a non-intentional choice I make is that I haven’t drastically changed the type of food I eat or the portions I eat. My diet has been pretty constant throughout my life since I grew up in the same city my entire life. Even though I moved from Hawai’i to Oregon in college, I didn’t really change much in what I ate. I just had to adapt to not having local favorites such as poke and poi mochi. This means that my microbiota has also been pretty constant throughout my life.
(1) Geoffrey Garnett in a research project called “Role of Herd Immunity in Determining the Effect of Vaccines against Sexually Transmitted Disease” (2005) claimed that vaccination protects the immunized as well as the population that cannot receive immunizations. (2) An algorithm was developed that modeled STI rates based on data obtained from childhood vaccinations. (3) The purpose of this study was to show that if everyone that can safely receive a vaccination actually got vaccinated, STI rates will decrease. Those who cannot receive a vaccination will be protected via “herd immunity,” the notion that if majority of the population is vaccinated, they will protect the individuals who are not. (4). Garnett uses a professional tone and terminology to communicate findings to other researchers, scientists and doctors interested in HPV vaccination and herd immunity.
This week we have dived into gut microbial health. Below is a list of behaviors that an individual could engage in that could cause changes to their gut microbial community.
- Moving to a different location. This could mean moving to an environment that is a different climate than what one was used to. Different types of microbes flourish in different settings.
- Change in diet. All bacteria metabolize food differently. If an individual were to add significant amounts of fat to their diet, it could overwhelm the microbial gut community causing them to malfunction leading to disease. On the other hand if one were to start including probiotics or fiber, that could change gut health in a positive way.
- Vaccinations. Vaccinations affect immune system operations thus affecting gut microbial communities. Certain cells responsible for controlling and monitoring immune health work directly with the microbiome in an individual so they know what is harmful and what is not.
- Poor hygiene. Not practicing proper hygiene can introduce new microbes into one’s gut. It’s important that everyone does their part to ensure that disease and harmful bacteria does not spread.
A non-infectious disease that could potentially be influenced by microbials is cancer. Cancer is a tricky disease especially since there are many different types, location in the body and gene mutations that cause the disease in an individual. Microbes may influence those mutations and affect how cell’s respond and edit those mutations when copying DNA. This could also be the case in cardiovascular, kidney, digestive and neural diseases. Microbes could be the cause of the body’s inability to process material properly. This could involve processing toxic material out of the body, absorbing proper nutrients or even making conscious, reasonable decisions mentally. Microbes, although tiny, have the potential of doing damage and throwing off the body’s natural tendency to remain in homeostasis.
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