Thursday, December 20, 2012

More power to certified organic

Antibiotic resistance? Blame the food industry! If you’ve ever been diagnosed with an antibiotic-resistant infection you might have pointed to doctors indiscriminately prescribing antibiotics. Sure, they must take some responsibility, but the greater part of the problem rests with the food industry. There, intensively farmed animals and birds are given routine, low doses of antibiotics, which are the surest way to allow organisms to mutate to a resistant form and then to thrive. 
Interestingly, those antibiotics aren’t used to treat infection, but are a cheap way to make livestock grow faster. To get an idea of the scale of the problem, in the US about 13.5 million kg of antibiotics are used annually in food production, that's about 80 percent of total antibiotic sales in the country. Human consumption accounts for about 2.7 million kg, but it’s the humans who are bearing the greater burden. Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), is now responsible for more than 94,000 infections and 18,000 deaths in the US each year.
In the EU, antibiotics as growth promoters have been banned for years, with little or no change in productivity or morbidity of the animal herds or bird flocks. However in Australia, just as in the US the amount of antibiotics used in animals far exceeds that used in humans (500,000 kg compared to 300,000 kg). Not surprisingly, Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) and Multi Resistant Organisms (MROs) are a huge problem in Australia with an estimated 200,000 HAIs contributing to 7,000 deaths annually. 

So want to avoid those potentially lethal infections? Strengthen your immune system with all the appropriate nutritional and lifestyle choices. Probiotics and organically raised, antibiotic-free, meat and poultry should be at the top of your list. Then make a firm commitment to avoid hospitalisation, especially surgical intervention for anything other than an absolute emergency. Then question even an apparent emergency. The reprieve I got from surgical wiring my shattered kneecap was better than winning Lotto, but the recovery is complete and infection-free! Especially heed this advice if your obstetrician ever mentions, or if you ever contemplate, an elective C-section!

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