Mind-bender antibiotics: hello date-rape obesity

Scared fat woman
You never know it’s happening, until it does. Copyright: xavigm / 123RF Stock Photo

Just a little pill, maybe a capsule.

But not slipped into your drink or hidden in your food – taken by you voluntarily.

Because your doctor prescribed it. A nasty chest infection perhaps – or in your urinary tract. UTIs are dangerous and need immediate attention.

Beware, beware

But that pill is dangerous too – to your particular system. An antibiotic that kills germs, yes – but also knocks out so many of your own bacteria inside your gut, you’re suddenly out of kilter.

Out of kilter, out of control, powerless and knowing nothing about it – as treacherous to you as the date-rape drug, rohypnol. Because now, against your will, you’re going to get fat – overweight like two-thirds of British adults already are – another victim of the obesity epidemic.

Fat, from one little pill? You’re probably on a course of them 3 times a day for 7 days, 500 mg each, serious stuff. First to tip you out of balance – and then to keep on shoving.

As we’re only starting to recognise now, our bodies are filled with microbes. At least 100 trillion bacteria live in our gut, more than ten times our total of human cells. There are even more viruses than bacteria, maybe 1,000 times more – and fungi too, we’re host to a whole micro-world we’re never aware of – mostly beneficial, some dormant, some hostile but unable to do anything because they’re so out-numbered.

Wow, a whole new entity of our bodies we never knew about – our living life force, possibly more important than our brain, heart, lungs and all of the rest of us put together. Teeming and breeding, doing all the heavy lifting we always thought we did ourselves – like digesting, driving our feelings, regulating our body balance and controlling our immune system.

Disaster explosion

OK, so you can imagine what happens when a dose of antibiotics suddenly arrives among this lot out of nowhere. Antibiotics kill bacteria, so it’s like a terrorist letting loose with an atom bomb, then shooting in all directions with a machine-gun.

If your Doc is clever, this antibiotics bomb will mostly target the bacteria that’s giving you grief, the cause of your UTI. Your body balance changes, your bloodstream goes around, and your kidneys get reinforcements against what ails them. That’s the upside.

Yeah, but in your particular case – we’re all as individually different in the variation and numbers of microbes we have in our systems – your balance has gone for a ball of chalk. Lots of “good guy” bacteria have died, allowing more “bad guy” bacteria into their place.

And if you’re unlucky, that could mean enterobacteriaceae, a bacterium that interferes with food extraction capability and telling your appetite when you’ve had enough, sending false signals to your brain. Enterobacteriaceae, the obesity pathogen.

Maybe the bacterium triggers your brain into eating more – and eating compulsively. Maybe it doesn’t. Could just be that it squeezes every last ounce and energy out of your food, way more than normal. Is your poo less? Less body waste, there’s a clue right there. It depends on your metabolism.

So say you don’t bulk up immediately, your size 12s still fit if you breathe in first. Then you start to notice – always feeling tired, always thirsty, always busting to go to the loo – beginnings of type 2 diabetes.

Because you don’t just get fat on the outside, you can get fat on the inside too. Around your liver and pancreas spells trouble – diabetes without even LOOKING fat.

Antibiotics tsunami

But maybe it’s not enterobacteriaceae at all, you’re being manipulated by something else – still just as powerless, still a victim against your will. Unconscious brain washing.

Any farmer could probably guess right away. It’s the El Dorado of modern farming – feed antibiotics to your livestock and body growth accelerates almost immediately – from calf to cow in 18 months instead of 4 years – bigger, fatter, worth a lot more money.

Ew! Antibiotics have skewed your bacteria to fatten you up, just like a pig for market.

Which also means you’ve been on antibiotics long before the Doc gave you your current prescription bomb. All your life in fact – even right back, before you were born.

Because antibiotics have been so successful at growth promotion in the food production industry, they’re used everywhere and all the time – for livestock, pigs, poultry, fish – even vegetable, fruit and grain crops.

Pretty well whatever you eat has antibiotics in it – either directly in feed, or indirectly through manure boosting feedstock growth, lacing the soil, or leaching into our rivers and drinking water.

And every time they hit your gut, even in drip-drip little quantities, they kill more bacteria, shove your balance even more out of whack, reduce the vital biodiversity your body needs for all the many functions it has to perform. Leaving only the stronger, tougher basics – descended from the crude essence of the first life forms on Earth millions of years ago – able to withstand cataclysmic volcanic eruptions, meteor strikes, earthquakes, acid seas, drought and extreme temperatures.

You will survive. But price is, you’re going to be fat. Fat and increasingly unhealthy too. Not just from obesity and probable type 2 diabetes – from all kinds of other illnesses as well.

Not feeling so good

Yes, your appetite system has been massacred, but so has your immune system. And your Mum’s before you – and her Mum’s before her – three generations of continuous bombardment, so that our biodiversity is 30% less than it was the day antibiotics were first discovered.

And it’s not just you, it’s all of us. Two-thirds of adults, a third of our kids are already affected – by a slow-motion rape that is only just beginning.

Not the kind of thing you can go to the cops for though. Better to get clever.

OK, so if antibiotics are out, what protection is there against dread diseases and infection?

Not a lot once you’ve got them, except the expertise of your doctors and meticulous attention to hygiene – oh, and the one proven treatment before antibiotics, fighting external infections with silver.

Which means get a paper cut at work and you’re still reasonably safe – wash it out well and use an antibacterial silver plaster from Boots, £2.50 for a pack of 10.

Rediscover hygiene

And there’s key right there too – wash, wash, wash. Keep yourself clean and safe and your internal microbes can’t be touched. Mist up the air with hydrogen peroxide and the bugs in the air can’t get you either. And they’re there alright – flu, colds, TB, pneumonia? Everything else too, these microbes are so small just about all of them ride the air, even though they’re not normally airborne.

Eat right and careful too. If you can reduce enterobacteriaceae, you change the balance for other bacteria to take their place. Like if you’re lucky, christensenella, a bacterium that might actually make you thinner.

Away with 18s and back to the 12s.

There’s nothing nice about being raped – or being violated by obesity. But your soul can only feel better for being yourself again.