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Nutritional Anthropology's Bible:
Probiotics and tonsillitis
My doctor has prescribed
penicillin for tonsillitis. He also says I should take a “probiotic”
to counteract the effect on my guts. Does that sound right? I am 20, and
in good health.
A. No. When penicillin saved my life
from tropical blood poisoning back in the 1960’s it was rightly
regarded as a precious, life-saving medication. Its benefits clearly outweighed
any possible drawbacks. Furthermore the penicillin was injected.
now rarely inject, but routinely prescribe antibiotic pills. Worse some
do so for trivial conditions, many of which antibiotics cannot touch –
like most kinds of tonsillitis.
soon will bear a big new warning -- that overusing them makes them less
effective. Doctors must be
sure a patient is suffering a bacterial infection, not a virus, before
prescribing antibiotics, say the warnings mandated by the Authorities.
Too often, doctors prescribe antibiotics for viral earaches, colds and
have no effect on viruses; they only fight bacteria. Yet the American
government estimates that 50 million antibiotic prescriptions are
useless and unnecessary. Germs are growing impervious to antibiotics.
Penicillin is becoming ineffective. Some diseases have become
untreatable by every antibiotic on the market. Any time antibiotics
are used, survivor germs emerge stronger and spread.
action by the authorities is not before time! I weep to see how these
wonder drugs have been used so improvidently. They should have been used
as sparingly as possible – only in life-or-death situations. It is
incredible to think that they are handed out like sweets. Don’t rely
on your doctor to police himself. If he prescribes antibiotics, ask:
“Is my condition bacterial? Is it fatal?”
for the “probiotic”. This is a capsule which is designed to smuggle
a cargo of “good” bacteria down to your colon. Why would anyone want
to do that? That’s because the antibiotics have killed off all those
good little elves working away in the dark to keep your colon and immune
system healthy, and your biochemistry running sweetly.
take the hint: antibiotics create havoc in the guts. As I shall write
in a future article, “Make of Your Gut a Herb Garden”, a healthy gut
of species of “good” bacteria. In addition, they must be in the
right proportions too!
But probiotics are a false promise – they only replace TWO species. Moreover, that dose will totally disrupt the balance of power with the other 4,992 “good” species. My view is that we should never use antibiotics for trivial ailments. If it were me, in the matter of simple tonsillitis, I would just let nature take its course.