It’s not the ABC they teach at med school. But they should.
Dead basic and deadly, it’s something we should all learn.
Because it’s written all over our kids for our refusal to take it in.
Written all over us too – in Large, Extra Large and Extra-Extra Large.
Especially when you say it in the way our little mites might.
“A” is for antibiotics… which cause “B” is for ‘besity… which causes “C” is for cancer.
Our miracle medicines trigger one of the biggest killers we have ever faced.
Don’t believe it?
We’d all better – before it becomes the death of us.
Not what we want to hear
Start with A, antibiotics.
Not as the miracle life-savers we’ve relied on to rescue us again and again.
But as the world’s greatest and most successful growth boosters. Used in agriculture by the JCB-load – to produce livestock bigger, faster and accelerate plant growth. 240,000 tonnes of it, every year.
Back in the 50s, there were 2½ billion of us on the planet – survivors of two World Wars and the biggest flu pandemic ever – which killed more than both wars together.
That was when farmers first started using antibiotics. As amazing growth promoters. Incredibly fast fatteners. Mind-blowing money-makers.
If ever there was a miracle, this was it. From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From new-born calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 16 months instead of four years.
But now today, our numbers have swollen to a massive 7½ billion – THREE TIMES more of us.
Except the world itself of course, is still the same size it always was. Which means THREE TIMES more food is being produced off the same land as it was 60 years ago. A major miracle, yes – but nothing to do with saving lives.
All gut reflexes
The mechanics of it are simple.
Antibiotics in feedstuffs interfere with gut bacteria in livestock stomachs. They switch off the reflex that says when enough has been eaten. And more significantly, they cause the animal to absorb food more efficiently – extracting way more nutrients than the 20% they normally suck out.
Which is triggering obesity, right? The ‘besity “B” in our alphabet.
The animal gets very big, very quickly – exactly as the farmer wants.
But unlike us, the obesity never gets any worse than achieving large size. Once they reach their selling weight, all the animals are trucked off to market. Time to get eaten.
Their shorter existence experiences none of the miseries. The years of going downhill, always an effort to do anything, wheezing breath, sweats and flushes, faltering heartbeat, body organs failing under the strain – the unrelenting start of more serious conditions.
Asthma, diabetes, heart disease… cancer.
And there it is, the “C” in our simple ABC.
Cancer. The fate we can all look forward to – because we’re all of us exposed to antibiotics.
Our fate awaits…
Some of it is triggered by antibiotics for medical conditions. Worried Mums and concerned doctors ensure most infants are probably prescribed them several times in early years.
All very responsible and properly motivated, except for one thing. Research is increasingly showing that children administered antibiotics before 2 years of age are often obese by the time they are 5.
So what about the rest of us?
Like it or not, we’re subjected to continuous antibiotic exposure with pretty well everything we eat.
Though meat on sale in UK is supposed to be antibiotic-free, this simply means that antibiotics have not been administered in feedstuffs over a specified period of withdrawal prior to selling.
Inevitably, however, there will be antibiotic residues contained within whatever animal feed is used – absorbed by plants from antibiotics-laden manure used as fertiliser, or extracted from the ground itself.
All animals, ourselves included, only absorb a proportion of the nutrients they eat. Most of them are excreted as waste, to become part of Nature’s on-going food chain for other living things.
A typical cow for instance, only absorbs 20% or so of the food it swallows. The resulting manure feeds all kinds of plant crops, enriches grazing grass, and leaches into the soil deep down into the water table.
As a result, sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics are everywhere throughout the food chain – occurring even in samples of water taken from the Thames. Whatever we eat or drink, we’re getting another dose.
Fatter and fatter
Which means we’re under exactly the same conditions as animals deliberately bulked up for market. Unintentionally – and worse, without even being aware of it – we’re fattening ourselves up into obesity every single day, setting ourselves up for cancer or other major complications ten, twenty, or thirty years down the line.
Forget low exercise or pigging out on junk food – we were just as lazy and indulgent 60 years ago, before antibiotics. And as Lord McColl said recently in the House of Lords, we’re fat because we absorb too many calories, period.
So our real problem is digestive systems that absorb too much, glitched that way by regular doses of oxytetracycline, ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, sulfamethoxazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin or whatever else it is that we’re swallowing with every mouthful.
Time to face facts. We’re all going to get fat, it’s just a matter of when – depending on what we eat, in what proportion, and at whatever level our metabolisms are.
Antibiotics equals ‘Besity equals Cancer. No wonder children’s cases are on the up.
Simple ABC, yet how many doctors know it – or have even thought of it?
Picture Copyright: andreypopov / 123RF Stock Photo