Tag Archives: growth promoters

A spoonful of sugar tax: to help the antibiotic growth boosters go down

Mad woman portrait
Sugar tax? Are we crazy? Obesity is a crisis, why are we all in denial?

Clever one, this. A tax on sugary drinks to stop kids getting fat.

Meanwhile 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics – specially tried and tested for the way they fatten up animals – is getting through unmonitored and unchecked in every meal kids eat.  In their meat, in their vegetables, in their milk, in their baby feed.

And that’s on top of the antibiotics most modern kids get in their early years – overkill medicines for childhood illnesses, also proven to boost infant obesity. Give them antibiotics by two and they’ll be fat by four.

Up a bit lower

Looks like our government obesity strategy really knows what it’s doing with a sugar tax. A tax on the one substance which – surprise, surprise – the human body cannot do without.

Mind you, confusion is understandable.  First we’re supposed to eat this, then we’re told it’s bad for us. We have to avoid eating that, and then suddenly it’s good for us.

Truth is, with diets and food types – nobody really knows what they’re talking about.

Here’s Jamie Oliver, rabbiting on that sugar is the bad guy – when along comes Glasgow University with a report that FAT, not sugar, is where our health campaigns are misguided – the real villain of the piece.

And right on top of that, we’re told to eat fat to get thin – no less an outfit than the National Obesity Forum telling us that low-fat diets trigger disastrous consequences.

Say what..?

Who to believe?

The only sense in recent months seems to come from Lord McColl, who pointed out in a speech to the House of Lords recently that “it is impossible to be obese unless one is eating too many calories.”

So guess what? In Lord McColl’s opinion, low-fat diets and exercise don’t mean a dickey-bird for losing weight.  And as emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital, he probably has a better perspective than most.

Yeah, OK.

So why are we eating too many calories, especially our kids?

Because the one nasty fact that everyone chooses to ignore is that just about every single food source available through our supermarkets is laced through with antibiotics.

Yeah, antibiotics. Officially for health reasons – to keep those mega-size industrial factory farms running smooth with intensive livestock herds, crowded into massive production units.

Farm-fresh fatness

In reality as the big money-maker growth booster for agriculture worldwide – shovelled in with every feed and absorbed by every plant crop from antibiotics-laden manure.

Fact: antibiotics make animals fat.

So fact: antibiotics make us fat too.

Make us WANT more food, make us EXTRACT more nutrients when we get it. Turning us into super-efficient eating machines.

Nothing to do with sugar, that’s for sure.

But is anyone looking at taxing antibiotics production?

Are they, hell.

Because would you believe, our top health honchos want drug companies to be paid an INCENTIVE  for developing new antibiotics. Because again – surprise, surprise – overuse in agriculture (240,000 tonnes, remember) is causing bacteria to develop resistance, so the drugs don’t work any more.

Where’s the antibiotics REPLACEMENT?

What is it, denial?

Antibiotics are a busted flush, yet medicine still chases after them. We don’t need new ones, we need new thinking completely.

And sugar tax?

Nothing about the elephant in the room. Our kids are getting fat, so tax Coca-Cola. They’re big, they can afford it.

Will somebody please wake up before we’re all ten ton porkers?

Picture Copyright: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-07-19 14:41:22.

Our antibiotics overdose – 7.6 million new cases of cancer, heart disease and diabetes

Overdose victim
We all overdose without knowing it. And action from our health authorities is way overdue

Some overdose. 7.6 million of us makes it 1 in every 10.

Climbing 4 in 10 by 2035.

Nearly half the population of Britain, chopped down by terminal disease.

Condemned to long, slow suffering and years of pain – all from antibiotics.

The end of all of us

Serious stuff from the Obesity Health Alliance – a group of high-powered experts from Cancer Research UK, the British Medical Association, six Royal Colleges and the Royal Society of Public Health.

Quite rightly, they’re sounding alarm bells as our current obesity epidemic takes hold. 18,000 of us a year falling to cancer, rocketing to 38,500 by 2035. 4.62 million new cases of type 2 diabetes. 1.63 million cases of coronary heart disease. A staggering 7.6 million of us.

And that’s not including other obesity-triggered illnesses such as high blood pressure, liver disease, osteoarthritis or chronic kidney disease.

Again quite rightly, the Obesity Health Alliance wants action NOW. Junk food advertising to be banned on TV from 6am to 9pm, food industry limits on sugar and fat – and of course, the much-vaunted sugar tax.

How wrong can we be?

Er, seriously?

Guaranteed, that will achieve nothing.

Junk food doesn’t make people fat – if you can justify calling it that. Fast foods like burgers, pizzas, sandwiches and the like are all good healthy foods that satisfy millions of people who are NOT obese. They don’t get fat eating them – only if they eat too much. If they overdose.

“…many of the dishes glorified by the wholesome-food movement are as caloric and obesogenic as anything served in a Burger King.”  David H. Freedman, The Atlantic magazine

Exactly like they would pigging out on avocado and bananas if they ate enough. It’s not the food that’s unhealthy, it’s the act of gorging on it.

The government can pass all the laws they like – control food content, add warning labels, restrict sales to adults over the age of 35 on presentation of their driving licence – it will make no difference. Just as a sugar tax will make no difference either.

Oh sure – in Mexico, sugar tax caused sales to drop by 12%. That’s sales, not consumption. In the dry areas where there is no safe water supply and the local bottled water doesn’t measure up, people are drinking Coke in the same volumes they always did. No change, even though the stuff costs more.

Is anybody watching?

So come on, what’s with our health professionals who should be calling the shots here? The Obesity Health Alliance, the government, Public Health England, the NHS, everybody – they’re all looking the wrong way.

Fact: people only get obese because they consume too much.

They overdose on food.

And they only overdose because their systems are out of balance. Human beings do not naturally overeat. We are not naturally fat – and throughout history, we never have been. Where on this planet are there naturally occurring fat people?

Right, there aren’t any, because they don’t exist.

But all around the world, all kinds of people are suddenly getting fat. They didn’t do that fifty years ago, what’s different?

One word – antibiotics.

But not as the miracle lifesaving drugs we all think they are and rely on them for.

As growth promoters – specifically for commercially produced livestock. The overdose trigger.

Bigger, better, fatter, faster

For fifty years, antibiotics have been pumped into farm animals daily with their feedstuff – to bulk them up bigger and faster. Extracting more out of the same nutrients in a fraction of the time, they have enabled massive factory farms to mass produce food on a scale so large, our world now supports three times the population that it did fifty years ago – all off the same land area.

2½ billion people in the 1950s, 7½ billion people now – that’s the colossal boosting effect of antibiotics as growth promoters working on our food supply – 240,000 tonnes a year right now, and set to climb nearly 70% by 2030.

Yeah, so why are our health authorities looking past this? Or are they in denial?

Animals eat antibiotics, they get fatter. We eat the same animals, we get fatter. We also eat the vegetables, fruit and plant crops that manure from these same animals fertilise. So that with every single meal, from every single source, we get a daily dose of antibiotics – our daily obesity top-up nudge.

Not junk food, junk drugs

So why isn’t anybody surprised here? We’re sleep-walking into this and nobody even notices. At least after 50 years of smoking, health authorities started to listen – and today it’s a recognised health risk.

No difference with obesity. Not just from eating too much, but from EXTRACTING TOO MUCH food value from the stuff we do eat. Just like the cows and pigs and sheep and chickens, our systems have been glitched by antibiotics, it’s what they’re now programmed to do.

“… roundly demonized junk food companies could do far more for the public’s health in five years than the wholesome-food movement is likely to accomplish in the next 50.” David H. Freedman, The Atlantic magazine

Which means even if you DON’T gorge yourself stupid, or glug Coke by the barrel, as top echelon medics like to think we do – we continue to get fatter and fatter. We never used to do it, but now two-thirds of us are already tipping the scales at the porker  level.

Next stop, cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease, osteoarthritis,  chronic kidney disease – take your pick. Our overdose reward.

So, OK Westminster – let’s see if you’ve got brains. Don’t nanny us with how much sugar is allowed in our food – or how much fat, salt, preservatives, additives, colourants, or any other stuff is in there.

Get tough legislation

Ban the antibiotics. Ban them outright.

It’s too late for us existing fatties, of course – we’re already on the slippery slope – with ten or twenty years of hospital visits to look forward to, and an oversize coffin at the end.

But not for our children.

Pull the plug on this self-inflicted curse we’ve lucked on ourselves – and watch new generations grow up athletic and slim like they’re supposed to be. With stronger immune systems too – not clobbered by the biological cosh of antibiotics.

No more overdoses. No more antibiotics. Healthy at last.

One hell of a problem for modern medicine though. No more protection for intricate procedures, almost all surgery totally impossible.

But that was going to happen with antibiotics resistance anyway. The drugs aren’t working – and they kill us by the way we eat – time to dump them.

Time to let everybody live – and end the biggest overdose of all time.

Picture Copyright: yacobchuk / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-06-20 14:29:36.

30 million deaths every year – our next pandemic is already here

Large and lonely
It’s not fair – getting fat without eating more – and it’s going to be the death of you

30 million deaths – almost half the population of Britain. With a waiting list of 1.4 billion. That’s a pandemic alright.

All driven by the one thing we know about, but prefer not to think about – our rapidly expending waistlines.

Unwanted obesity

Bigger tummies, fatter figures, unstoppable obesity.

We never used to be like this, but we are now.

In the UK, fully two thirds of us are already clinically overweight or obese – 1.4 billion worldwide. Already on the downhill slope to serious health complications – heart disease, cancer, diabetes, asthma. Known killers with a combined death rate of 30 million a year worldwide – and rapidly accelerating.

How did this happen? We’re not stupid, we’re not irresponsible.

Damn it, we’re not even confirmed gluttons, for goodness sake. Sure, some fat people eat like there’s no tomorrow – but most of us are miserable with our weight and eat like birds.

It’s as if we’re cursed.

Oh yes, indeed – there’s a curse alright. For far too many of us, obesity is a long and lasting illness ending in a death sentence.

We can play around with diets, we can delude ourselves with exercise – and for a lucky and very determined few, maybe that will work.

For the rest of us, there is no escape. Like it or not, at some time in the future we’ll be going to hospital more and more often – closer and closer to our one-way ticket with destiny.

The curse of antibiotics

Most unpalatable of all is the truth of how we got here.

“It is impossible to be obese unless one is eating too many calories,” said Lord McColl, emeritus professor of surgery at Guys Hospital, in an address to the House of Lords last week.

Yeah right, we’re dying of hunger and ridiculed as fatties, what the hell’s going on?

The real curse is antibiotics.

Miracle lifesavers in the medical field, miracle money-makers in agriculture.

Because antibiotics are champion growth promoters bar none. Added to livestock feed in small doses every day, they boost growth like crazy, accelerate development up to four times faster.  From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 16 months instead of four years.

And the same thing is happening to us.

We eat them, so small traces of antibiotics get through in our diet with every meal we eat. Either directly from their meat, or indirectly from the manure they produce – laced through with antibiotics that fertilise every kind of vegetable and fruit crop.

Just like the animals, the antibiotics make our bodies resistant to the hormone that tells us when we’ve had enough to eat – leptin resistance – we keep eating unconsciously. As Lord McColl says, ” Obesity is a hormonal disorder leading to abnormal energy partitioning, which cannot be solely fixed by increasing exercise.”

Growth promoters – the fat makers

Unfortunately, that’s not all that antibiotics do. As champion growth promoters, they make us more efficient at absorbing the nutrients we do consume. Even if we’re not eating more, we’re EXTRACTING more – squeezing out more calories than normal people are capable of.

Not difficult when you think how digestive systems work. As part of Nature’s wonderful cycle that interrelates everything to everything else, most livestock only digest 80-90% of what they eat, the rest is excreted as waste. That’s where the manure comes from that fertilises almost all commercial plant life – and where we get our daily dose of antibiotics from, pooed out with other nutrients.

But antibiotics cause animals to grab a whole chunk more nosh value than just 10%. Squeezing more calories out, they beef up bigger and faster – and we do exactly the same. Instead of passing through 80%, we might pass through 60% or even 50%. Without our knowing it, we’re absorbing the equivalent of two meals instead of one, every time we eat.

No wonder we’re the size of a house without any effort!

And all the rest

Which is how come we’re obese – and how come we’ve developed all those other disorders that have crept up on us since bacteria-killing antibiotics started messing with the delicate balance of our own internal gut bacteria. Allergies, immune system deficiencies – phantom disorders that feel very real, making our bodies react to conditions that just aren’t there.

Is there anything that can be done about it?

Not a lot.

We all have to eat – but round the world, our food production process is a gigantic machine almost impossible to stop.

We could try to eat less – deliberately try to bring our calorie count down. Going serious cold turkey, like giving up smoking. Very, very hard if you’ve never tried. But we NEED those nutrients to keep our systems ticking over. Starving ourselves is dicey and unlikely to be healthy.

Or we can change our food source. Get off the antibiotics and hope that by removing our daily fix, we can reverse some of the damage they’ve done. Which means organic foods, growing our own at home without fertilisers – and eating fish that’s only deep sea fresh, none of the farmed stuff.

Ways of winning

Which leaves exercise. We’re small eaters already, shamed by our bodies – so with antibiotics off the menu together with some sensible workouts, maybe expending energy will be a little less like pushing water uphill.

There is hope. Reducing even a teaspoon of fat from around our pancreas can have the effect of reversing type 2 diabetes.

One down, fewer to go.

With luck you’ll lose more of the right kind of weight before any of the other big hitters kick in.

Picture Copyright: iahulbak / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-06-14 17:00:24.

Antibiotics are becoming like terrorists with nukes – AMR is just a sideshow

Sniper
Know your enemy! Antibiotics are set to kill more of us than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined

We don’t see terrorists coming. We don’t see the dangers of antibiotics either – both of them set to nuke us when we least expect it.

A terrorist bomb might take out a city the size of Greater Manchester – thousands dead, hundreds of thousands more facing years of radiation sickness – like being dead before it actually happens.

Antibiotics are no prettier.

An invisible war

Because to the trillions and trillions of beneficial bacteria in our own gut, nukes are exactly what antibiotics are. Evil invaders who only want to destroy. Mass killers.

Imagine Greater Manchester, millions of times over. That’s what life is like down there in our insides, more bacteria than there are human cells. Reality is, we’re a harmonious, co-existing  miracle that’s 90% germs.

Now comes an oral dose of antibiotics – amoxicillin, say – prescribed for some troubling ailment, often unnecessarily. Trillions and trillions of microscopic but benevolent bacteria – versus 250 mg of devastating nuclear destruction.

A massive chunk of your gut, nuked to nothing.

You’re right. The medicine might clobber whatever the problem is – but the body will never return to exactly the way it was. Too many innocent bystanders caught in the fallout. Billions killed, vital diversity reduced. The system is not as strong as the way it was, no longer as all-round resilient.

Resistance movement

But there are survivors. Maybe a bit damaged, or not fully functioning – but wise to what antibiotics are capable of, and aware of what they need to do to escape. Next time, even more will endure. And even more after that.

Until the day comes that an antibiotic hits the gut, and our bacteria are impervious. Even to nukes.

Nothing happens.

Our bacteria have learned how to resist the drugs – even shared their survival skills with others, so all of them are immune. Antimicrobial resistance it’s called – AMR. Wish we could have the same resistance to terrorists.

Except big-scale calamities are not usually the way terrorists work, are they? 9/11 doesn’t happen every day.

More effective – and more insidious – are the little attacks that do. Happen every day, that is. Always there, never letting up, determined to bring us down, little by little. Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan theatre, Brussels airport.

The real killers

Exactly like antibiotics do.

Better believe it.

Because without our even thinking about it, we’re swallowing down antibiotics into our gut little by little with every meal.

In the milk with our corn flakes. In the oats for our porridge. In our bacon and eggs. In the chicken for our sandwich, and the lettuce with it. In the bangers and mash for tea, including in the baked beans.

Little hand grenades in our gut, or letting loose with a machine pistol. Nothing serious, but always damage. Little bits of us that suddenly aren’t working any more.

How is this possible?

We-he-hell.

Growth promoters

It all started back in 1946, when a researcher named Moore discovered the growth stimulation of antibiotics fed to chicks. A colleague named Jukes reached the same conclusion in 1952 – feed small amounts of antibiotics to livestock every day, and they bulk up like crazy.

Money, money, money. Fat, fatter, fattest.

And did we mention money?

Today, 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics are pumped into farm livestock every year.  Bigger, better, fatter than ever – and more of them. Enabling our own human world population to explode from 2½ billion in the 1950s, to 7½ billion now.

And of course, all these animals poo – excreting, would you believe, more than 75% of the nutrients they consume – including the antibiotics. “In 2002, 185 million swine sold in the US generated about 280 million tons of fresh manure; in 2006, chicken produced even more (460 million tons), while, in 2007, beef cattle produced 3.6 million tons of manure.”

Manure, huh?

Knee-deep in trouble

Used as fertiliser for all kinds of agricultural crops – fruit, veg, cereals, grains. And of course feedstuffs for livestock – so that farm animals re-eat the same antibiotics they ate before, with the same effect.

They keep getting fatter and fatter, growing faster and faster – and making more and more money.

Must be tough, being an antibiotics manufacturing company. 240,000 tonnes of stuff turned out by machine ka-chunk-ka-chunk, no effort, no investment – just keep rolling and take the money. No need to invest in new research, the goldmine is already working overtime.

Need proof? Just check your own waistline.

Bigger than it was, huh? You didn’t always wear a Size 16.

But look around, it’s not just you – this is a world-wide epidemic. Two-thirds of us are already way overweight or positively obese. All thanks to the same trigger that makes farm animals fat too – antibiotics.

Whatever food we ingest, antibiotics are in there somewhere. Directly in the food, or absorbed from manure-enriched soil, or leached through into our river systems so even the water we drink is spiked. Antibiotics pollution.

Too big for our own good

Result: obesity is a condition we’re all of us beginning to share – and no way is that healthy.

In fact it’s deadly.

Check the numbers and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) – which means illnesses that cannot be treated by antibiotics – kills about 50,000 of us a year.

But obesity works like the terrorist’s nuclear bomb – wide-reaching, slow-acting, with extreme pain and suffering. The equivalent of radiation sickness – attacking our bodies in the form of diabetes, heart disease, cancer or worse – killing 30 million of us or more every year, and climbing all the time.

Yup – long-term, obesity is going to get most of us. Looking forward to 20 years of medicines, time off in bed, hospital visits, and feeling more and more unwell – more pressure on the NHS than any of us could ever imagine.

Two-thirds of adults – world-wide that’s around 3 billion people.  Which kinda makes deaths from AMR look like chicken-feed.

Worse than any terrorist, nuke or no nuke. Worse than any threat we’ve ever faced before – including plagues and world wars.

Is there a solution?

Stop, stop, stop

Short term, eat only organic or ocean fresh – and drink only rainwater.

Long term, STOP USING ANTIBIOTICS and find a replacement.

Anything less and we might as well nuke ourselves.

Picture Copyright: keeweeboy / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-06-06 13:31:26.

“Handed out like sweets.” Useless antibiotic fat pills

Large lady
Look what antibiotics can do – and you never even knew

Fat pills? You bet. They’re called antibiotics and they don’t work.

Except to make you fat.

They don’t work for your cold – and they’ve stopped working for more serious stuff too.

So if you’re dying from some superbug illness, the Doc can’t help you.

Miracle drug failure

They’ll make you plenty big though, without even trying.

Because that’s what they do on the farm – fatten up animals big and fast, for a quick buck on the market. Which is why it happens to you. You eat them, you get fat too. Very.

Which is why two-thirds of us are already overweight and the rest are following.

Don’t believe it? We’ve already got ourselves a Size 26 supermodel – and she’s not the only one.

And because so many of these same pills get shovelled into so many farm animals, the bugs they’re used against have become resistant. They are immune. However many you take, nothing happens.

Except you get fatter.

Agricultural ban

Which is why the powers that be want to restrict use of non-medical antibiotics, or get them banned altogether. The few antibiotics we do have left that work will be overwhelmed otherwise – total collapse of the modern medical system.

Of course, across the EU, antibiotics are banned as growth promoters – have been since 2006. Still allowed for health reasons though. Which with animals farmed intensively 2,000 or 3,000 together in tight spaces and nowhere to exercise or escape their own dung, becomes vitally necessary.

Which also explains why world use of antibiotics is currently around 240,000 tonnes – and set to grow 70% by 2030.

Killer drugs

Better believe it, we’re going to get even fatter. With all those one-way disorders to look forward to that being overweight brings – diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma. Slow, debilitating illnesses that take years  to claim you.

So it’s not just that antibiotics don’t work any more.

They’re actually going to kill you.

Picture Copyright: stphotography / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-05-16 17:22:28.

Worried what to do about antimicrobial resistance? Start at your supermarket

Trolley of pills
We’re part of the problem — everything we eat already has antibiotics in it

Trundle down the meat aisle at your local supermarket.

Just about anything you choose will have antibiotics in it.

Not a big dose, no more than a smidgen. But chances are high that they will be there.

Industrial abuse

Inevitable really. When you consider how much antibiotics are used by farmers around the world. Estimates vary from 65,000 to 240,000 tonnes. Set to grow around 70% by 2030.

All pumped into animals as part of their feed – deliberately added to make them grow faster. And bigger. Ready for market in a quarter of the time. A miracle side effect of antibiotics.

In fact antibiotics boost growth so much, the world can feed 5 billion more than 50 years ago. Three times more off the same land area – a money-making goldmine.

Which is how come we’re ingesting antibiotics too. And highly likely, antibiotic resistant bacteria with them. Superbugs that have grown immune to the wonder drugs being chucked at them. Untreatable, unstoppable and living in our own gut right now – ready to take us down at any sign of weakness. Or maybe already doing so.

Every little helps – a little too much

You see, it doesn’t take much to get antibiotics to boost growth. Much lower doses than curing an illness. Sub-therapeutic amounts that cost less and go further.

Uh huh. Doses too small to kill pathogenic bacteria completely. The hardy ones survive and become resistant. And it’s the resistant ones that breed, whole colonies immune to treatment.

Worse, bacteria have the ability to pass on their characteristics. They can teach others how to become immune too. In a few generations – which can be as soon as twenty minutes – a whole slew of other bacteria develop antimicrobial resistance, more and more and more. Equally untreatable, equally unstoppable.

And that’s what you’re buying when you visit the meat counter.  What you’re taking home to feed your family. So they ingest antibiotics-resistant bacteria too. Which maybe they’re strong enough to withstand, or maybe not.

So when the Doc diagnoses their illness and prescribes a particular antibiotic – absolutely nothing happens. Down in their gut, the bacteria laugh it off.

No escape for vegetarians

Don’t think that going vegetarian will help you much either.

Pretty well most plant crops are treated with antibiotics of some kind or other – to boost growth or reduce disease or both. And if that’s not enough, they’re probably fertilised by manure from animals that have been fed antibiotics anyway. The stuff is so fertile because most of them only digest 80-90% of what they eat, the rest is excreted as waste.

Super-grow wonder-poo laced with antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria both. Which is ingested by plants, fed back to animals in specially grown feed crops, leaches into the ground to enrich future crops – and runs off into our waterways to wind up in our taps.

Get the message?

Whatever you choose from the meat section – or poultry, or produce, or dairy, or even bakery, is almost certain to contain both resistant superbugs and traces of antibiotics.

All this and obesity too

If you don’t get ill immediately, your body may develop resistance to certain medicines in the future. And of course, since every mouthful doses you with proven growth boosters, there’s every chance that you will start getting fat – even though you work out like crazy, eat very modestly, and watch your health like a hawk.

But don’t go bashing your supermarket. Quite probably in the entire organisation, nobody will have any idea that superbugs are an issue, or that antibiotics are contained in almost all the foodstuff they sell.

What can you do?

Well, you don’t know whatever’s grown on the manure-chain, so even going organic might not help. Nor going 100% vegetarian. About the best will be to grow your own veg – and switch to ocean fresh fish, the kind that can’t be farmed. There may be other pollutants in there, but hey, we’re so careless about the whole planet, that’s inevitable. It can’t be as bad as the constant dosing we’ve all had up to now.

Global headache for medics

Makes you appreciate how worried the Docs are from the medical standpoint.

Seen today’s news? In Thailand they’re already talking about a “collapse of the modern medical system” staring us in the face. And our own Dr Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, is warning that with the drug companies reluctant to develop new antibiotics because there’s no money in it, then this is a problem that is for ever.

Yeah, well. Excuse us, Mr Moneybags Drug Company, but if you’re already producing 240,000 tonnes a year, how much profit do you need to make?

And when are we going to stop also being part of the problem, all by our little selves?

Here we are, worried to death about the abuse of antibiotics, and yet we demand 10 MILLION prescriptions a year are written for conditions where they’re absolutely useless.

Self-prescribing amateurs

We’re not doctors, so what do we know?

But that doesn’t stop us demanding antibiotics for colds and minor infections where they would actually do more harm than good. We kid ourselves we know best and put the strong-arm on the Doc – who caves in to the aggro, so that 97% of us get the unnecessary meds we’re hucking for. And if we can’t get it that way, we run off and buy it on the Internet.

Is this a death wish, or what?

One thing’s for certain, it’s we ourselves who have to take action. The global problem is so big, it may never be resolved in our lifetime.

Picture Copyright: cherezoff / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-05-12 13:57:36.

Good, healthy dirt? Never, ever, with our lifestyles

Muddy Girl
Good, healthy dirt – try it and see how ill it can make you

Some people reckon we need dirt to be healthy. To be exposed to it, particularly when we’re kids – so it activates our immune systems, builds up our defences against infections in later life.

Hygiene hypothesis

The hygiene hypothesis, it’s called – the notion that being obsessed with cleanliness is the trigger cause for allergies like hay fever, eczema and asthma.

Uh huh. Here’s a reality check, in case you were wondering – especially if you’re among the gung-ho keep-fit brigade.

We spend something like 90% of our time INDOORS.

So if you’re thinking good old-fashioned mud and grass and dew water, you’re already on short rations. Outdoors is so last Century.

Unclean within

Now Google “time spent indoors” and see how many hits you get for indoor air pollution, sick building syndrome, exposure to contaminants and all that how’s-yer-father?

Never normally think about it, huh?

Doesn’t even occur to us.

Stack the dishwasher, hoover the floors once a week, the odd bit of dusting – what’s the problem?

Yeah?

So where do we come with our usual colds, flu, tummy bugs and bits of us that go septic from mishaps doing stuff around the place?

And if we’re so healthy, how come we’re screaming up to the Doc every five minutes for yet another scrip load of antibiotics?

Healthy dirt? With the way most of our bodies are these days, one mouthful would put us in intensive care without even thinking about it. Six days on drips, digestive system up the pole, shaky and nauseous for weeks afterwards.

Norovirus and other friends

Exactly like a bad case of norovirus.

But we don’t need to eat dirt to catch that. Just eat something with our fingers without washing our hands – burger, fish and chips, kebabs, whatever. Well, our fingers LOOK clean, don’t they? How are we supposed to know there might be germs on the countertop, or desk, or telephone keypad, or wherever?

It’s a fact of life though, that there are. Everything everywhere, even our own bodies – is teeming with billions and billions of bacteria, inside and out. Our own gut is home to over 100 trillion of them – vital to helping us digest, and even keep our immune systems going.

And remember that Google search? The whole air around us is full of them as well. With the other usual suspects in any enclosed space – germs, chemicals, dead skin molecules, dust, all kinds of stuff. On our skin, breathed in, swallowed down to our innards.

Protected pathogens

Our own stuff and everybody else’s too – nicely cross-contaminated and hemmed in around us. Protected by the double glazing and insulation we need for ourselves. Kept alive by the central heating and our own unbelievably sloppy hygiene, it’s a wonder we’re not running to the Doc every day.

Healthy dirt? Do us a favour! We’ve got all the germs we could want – literally at our finger tips.

Which means slightly more than just hoovering if we’re going to survive, right?

Our daily threat

Because every one of us today faces an increasingly deadly challenge to our health and we can’t afford to take chances any more. Our bodies are continuously under threat and we don’t even know it – every bit as lethal as smoking 60 a day and not giving a damn.

Twenty years ago even, and we stood a better chance. Our bodies were stronger, we were more resilient – and yes, we used to spend more time in the Great Outdoors. Before the couch potato existence of computer games, box-set binging and door-to-door pizza delivery.

Look at us now. Two thirds of us overweight or clinically obese. A third of our kids visibly overweight too. Ten ton porkers, all of us – what the hell’s happening?

Exposure to antibiotics is what. Our regular runs to the Doc, yes – but also daily in our food.

Because you see, twenty years ago is around the time that antibiotics took off Big Time as animal growth promoters on the farm.

Fat, fatter, fattest

Dose ’em up with every meal and cows get bigger in quarter of the time, and chickens, and pigs, and fish and everything – including vegetables and fruit and grain crops. El Dorado every day, better than winning the lottery.

Yeah, so cows get fat – but so do we. Ingesting the same growth promoting antibiotics drip, drip from everything we eat – laced through either directly from feed, or from richly nutrient and antibiotic laden manure used to fertilise everything and grow other feedstuffs.

Thing is though, that antibiotics don’t just make you fat. They work by killing bacteria, it’s what they’re designed to do. And inside your gut they kill good bacteria too – plus damage a few billion or so more that might be vitally needed for immune system work or simple house-keeping like regulating hunger.

We’re fat because antibiotics damaged our hunger control OFF switch – made us resistant to the leptin our own gut bacteria produces to tell us that we’ve eaten enough – just like the cows and pigs and sheep – dosed with 65,000 – 240,000 tonnes of antibiotics worldwide every year.

Itching, gasping, swelling up

There’s other damage too. Immune systems going nuts about conditions that aren’t there – glitched so they read phantom challenges, firing up the troops to fight infections that don’t exist. Otherwise known as allergies – asthma, rhinitis, food intolerance, dermatitis, eczema, hay fever, dust, mould, nuts, coeliac disease. How many were so widespread, twenty years ago?

OK, so our systems are weakened, we’re more at risk to dirt of any kind. Plus there’s all the downside that our being overweight epidemic brings – the slow road to an even unhealthier lifestyle.

  • The number of people with diabetes in the UK has tipped the 4 million mark.
  • Deaths from cancer in the UK in 2012 totalled 161,823.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death both in the UK and worldwide – responsible for more than 73,000 deaths in the UK each year.

Yeah, the writing’s on the wall people. Hike up our hygiene levels seriously or we might not be around much longer. If there is such a thing as healthy dirt, we’re way too far gone to take advantage of it.

Scrub up, or else

Which means: wash our hands every opportunity we get. And keep washing. They might be clean momentarily – and then we go and touch something which isn’t.

Which takes us to the next step: sterilise the place so the germs are gone.

They can’t touch us if they’re not there. And we can take them out just by touching a button. Next second, our living space is misted up with dry all-penetrating hydrogen peroxide. Germs are oxidising to nothing on contact – in the air, on every surface, in ever nook and cranny.

Whew! Safe at last.

Now to get back outside and work some weight off.

Run, walk, cycle, swim – who needs TV?

Picture Copyright: diogoppr / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-05-04 13:24:30.

No more saving lives, bacteria win: end of the road for antibiotics

Worried med team
Antibiotics dilemma: short-term lifesavers, long-term killers

It’s already started and nothing can stop it. Bacteria are winning, as doctors always knew they would.

Survivors for billions and billions of years, we dared to think we could fight them and beat them. Dazzled by the brilliance of antibiotic healing, we were too proud to see the reality underneath – that every day they were actually killing us more and more

Not so super

Now our miracle lifesavers have met their kryptonite. Super powers gone, melted into nothings, they’re unmasked as the killers they always were.

Because that’s all that antibiotics ever did – kill bacteria.

First the bad bacteria that made us ill, making us think they really made us better.  Lifesavers, amazing.

Then the good bacteria we all have in our gut, so essential to our systems that they’re 90% of the bodies we inhabit. Not that we knew that at the time. Or even worried about it that much.

Bad bacteria dead, good. Good bacteria dead, bad.

Whoops.

But that was before we even thought about gut bacteria. Or even knew we had any. Or that they were so vital to our existence. Or that exposing them to antibiotics would destroy or disable key bodily functions we had no idea they influenced. Digestion, hunger control, chemical balance, immune system management.

Actually, we’re still not taking that seriously enough. Titanic has already hit the iceberg and instead we’re anguishing about antibiotics resistance – still clinging to antibiotics as miracle drugs, even though they’re not working any more because bacteria have mutated to become immune to them.

Wake up, everybody – that ship is already sinking.

Bacteria always win

Because bacteria have won and always will – it’s only a matter of when. Even Alexander Fleming admitted that they would, right back in 1928 when he discovered penicillin.

And just check out how quickly they do it.

Penicillin-resistant staph emerged in 1940, just twelve years later – when antibiotics were still in their infancy, not used on the scale they are today. Then as usage ramped up, resistance developed faster, some strains happening almost overnight.

  • Tetracycline introduced 1950, resistance identified 1959.
  • Erythromycin introduced 1953, resistance identified 1968.
  • Methicillin introduced 1960, resistance identified 1962.
  • Gentamycin introduced 1967, resistance identified 1979.
  • Vancomycin introduced 1972, resistance identified 1988.
  • Ceftazidime introduced 1985, resistance identified 1987.
  • Levofloxacin introduced 1996, resistance identified THE SAME YEAR.
  • Ceftaroline introduced 2010, resistance identified 2011.

And these are just the short list!

Food, food, food

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the big discovery was that antibiotics promoted growth of animals and plants Big Time. Four times as big, in a quarter of the time, on the same amount of feed.

These were the original  fattening drugs – fed to farm animals every day in sub-therapeutic doses that ensured continued growth – overriding natural hunger controls so that animals gorged and gorged, supersize ready for market.

And of course, pooed out onto the ground to be used as fertiliser for feed crops and other plant types, maintaining antibiotics levels right through the food chain to our dinner tables.

Which means that we eat them too, so they make US fat  – which is how come two thirds of adults are now overweight or obese, with killer illnesses like diabetes, cancer and heart disease to look forward to –thousands of times more deadly than all antibiotics resistant superbugs put together.

Time to fight back

Oh sure, we could develop new antibiotics to cope with newly-resistant bacteria strains – a few short-term wins if we could meet the cost. Save a few thousand lives before bacteria mutated again and nixed everything back to zero.

Well, not exactly zero because our continuing daily sub-therapeutic food doses would still ensure we succumbed to diabetes, cancer, heart disease or any of the many other deadly killers once thought eradicated, now poised for a comeback – TB, pneumonia, typhoid, cholera, bubonic plague, back to the Dark Ages.

Our only defence?

That’s back to the Dark Ages too – illness avoidance, but with a modern twist.

Avoiding germs means making sure there aren’t any – you can’t catch them if there aren’t any around.

So, soap and water, back to washing our hands. Every opportunity we get, scrub, rinse, dry.

And not just our hands, but the spaces around us – the things we touch, the air we move through, our enclosed and shared daily indoor world. Protected by ionised hydrogen peroxide mist that destroys all viruses and bacteria by oxidising them to oblivion.

Safe, sterile, secure spaces where our weakened bodies and our precious gut bacteria, ravaged by a lifetime’s exposure to antibiotics in our food, are no longer threatened by external bacteria intent on destroying us.

Next stop, getting the antibiotics OUT of our food. No easy task with anywhere from 65,000 to 240,000 tonnes of them being pumped into agriculture every year (per the Prime Minister’s specially requested review ) – enabling population numbers a staggering 5 billion higher than half a century ago.

Lots of big money, lots of vested interests, lots of incentive to do nothing.

But don’t worry, bacteria will take care of that too.

With antibiotics still in our food, long term illnesses will continue to rise. So will death rates from an increasing number of dread diseases. Maybe by the time half of us are killed off, we’ll come to our senses and stop using the damned things.

They’ve let us play God for long enough, now it’s time to start paying.

Picture Copyright: matthewephotography / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-04-26 16:03:46.

Antibiotics in food: are major investors about to take a bath?

Serious business
Nobody has successfully sued for obesity yet – but antibiotics in food are a definite cause

Now the headlines start – ANTIBIOTICS IN FOOD.

Not panicky in the tabloids, but concerned in the financial pages. Not a lifestyle thing but a possible investment issue. Not a problem yet – but going to be.

Because for the first time, the City are taking note. Are they threatened? Are they about to take a bath?

Food safety in jeopardy

The short answer is, you bet. As soon as the penny drops.

As soon as the focus shifts from antimicrobial resistance and the rise of superbugs – to the much bigger problem of worldwide obesity and health degeneration – triggering a long-term epidemic of deaths from diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

A total train smash for the food industry.

Right now the alarm is that antibiotics used in farming are reaching through to the human food chain, increasing the risk of ingesting superbug bacteria – harmful pathogens that cannot be treated by antibiotics. Such alarm is justified – 25,000 people die in Europe each year from an antibiotic-resistant infection.

But the real issue is not even on the radar. Not with government, not with health organisations, not with food authorities or control bodies, nobody. A train smash is coming and you read it here first.

Because, yes, antibiotics are the crunch issue – but not from superbug resistance.

The body fatteners

The real crisis is the effect of antibiotics as super performance GROWTH PROMOTERS on the human body. The antibiotics in our food is making us obese – a problem 20 times more deadly than antimicrobial resistance. 400,000 deaths each year in the EU are directly linked to excess weight.

Closer to home, obesity is responsible for more than 30,000 deaths each year (6% of all deaths in the UK).  All driven by antibiotics.

Government won’t admit it of course. Nor the health experts, nor the food industry.

They’re all in denial.

Yet right there, in a review commissioned directly by the Prime MinisterAntimicrobials in Agriculture and the Environment – the presence of large quantities of antibiotics excreted by animals in manure and fertiliser used for crop and feedstuff production is acknowledged – alongside recognition that antibiotics are used widely as growth promoters.

Therefore they know, all the way to the top – that antibiotics are present in everything we eat. Picked up with nutrients in soil enriched with antibiotic-laden manure, the common denominator to high intensity farming for both produce and livestock. Meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, grain crops – all are boosted by “natural” manure.

Fatness is a killer

Just like farm animals, our growth is promoted too, in exactly the same way – the daily drip, drip, drip of sub-therapeutic antibiotics. Just like farm animals, we are getting fat – to the point that it is now a national calamity. More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese.

We eat too much without knowing why – antibiotics have glitched our systems so we can’t stop eating. Which means more than 2 in 3 adults are already a candidate for diabetes, cancer, heart disease and other health risks associated with obesity – with staggering implications for the food industry.

  • The number of people living with diabetes in the UK has tipped over the 4 million mark.
  • Deaths from cancer in the UK in 2012 totalled 161,823.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death both in the UK and worldwide -responsible for more than 73,000 deaths in the UK each year.

Antibiotics are even in our water too. In one study, run-off in the Thames from manure-enriched soil was found to contain trimethoprim, oxytetracycline, ciprofloxacin, azithromycin, cefotaxime, doxycycline, sulfamethoxazole, erythromycin, clarithromycin, ofloxacin and norfloxacin.

So face it, in the not too distant future, you’re going to get fat too – if you’re not already.

Obesity lawsuits

Surprisingly though, as far as we know, nobody has ever successfully taken legal action because their food made them fat – yet.  But food companies are right to look at get-out options. With spiralling death rates, what food brand wants ANY kind of numbers on their corporate conscience?

Because antibiotics don’t just make you fat. They actually work by killing bacteria. And as we are only now starting to discover, the body is host to over 100 trillion bacteria in the gut alone – inextricably entwined with the digestion of food, production of proteins and regulation of the immune system. We meddle with these at our peril.

So it’s not just obesity. Any kind of damage to these bacteria can trigger other weaknesses or deficiencies, most obvious of which is allergies – the body chasing phantom ailments to its own detriment.

So yeah, count on it. Sooner or later, there’s going to be a stampede. Get rid of antibiotics – maybe get out of food altogether – into something safe, like knitting.

Because yes, antibiotics are there in our food – and not going away any time soon.

Picture Copyright: stocking / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-04-12 17:03:39.

OK wise guys, how soon before the Sugar Tax actually kills somebody?

Mine mine mine
OK, so you tax sugar and people still get fat – now what?

Bet you thought you had it sorted, hey? Wise guys for sure.

The obesity crisis done and dusted. You’re all heroes, collect your medals, put your statue in the High Street.

Going to look a right bunch of Charlies when the mortality figures don’t come down, aren’t you?

Fatheads or what?

Two thirds of adults are currently overweight or obese, one third of children 6 – 19 are currently overweight or obese – and figures are still rocketing for both.

Oh yeah, you’re going to say, sedentary lifestyle, junk food diets – put a tax on burgers and pizzas, tax cars and buses to make people walk. Wise guys all, with an answer for everything.

And when the numbers keep rocketing after that?

Ooh er , we need more research. Got to find an answer somewhere.

Uh huh. How about what’s staring you in the face?

None so blind

Like we weren’t so fat in the 1960s, were we? Back then your average bloke weighed in at 10.2 stone (65kg) and your average blokess at 8.7 stone (55kg). Today they’re tipping the scales at 13.2 stone (83.6kg) and 11.1 stone (70.2kg) respectively. 20% more in 50 years.

And guess what? They had Coke back then too. And Irn-Bru and Lucozade. No sugar tax though – it wasn’t necessary. Wise guys.

They had burgers too – two bob each, with double-thick milkshakes for two-and-three (that’s in grandpa’s old money) from Wimpy bars,  named after J. Wellington Wimpy in Popeye the Sailor Man cartoons showing at the local bughouse – the original health propaganda for kids, trying to get them to eat spinach.

Enter, the beast

Oh and yeah, that was when they introduced antibiotics – as GROWTH PROMOTERS on the farm.

Bingo! A total money-making revolution.

From egg to full-grown roasting chicken in 6 weeks. From calf to Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak in 16 months instead of four years. So amazingly successful that world farmers are now using 65,000 tonnes of antibiotics a year – a guaranteed super-fattener that works on plants too.

Super double jackpot!

Which is why there are guaranteed super-fatteners in all the food you buy at the supermarket – your meat, your poultry, your dairy, your veg, your cereals, the works. Added to animal feed on the farm, or laced through animal waste manure used to enrich the soil for plant crops.

OK, so even if we stop taking sugar altogether, our kids are still going to get fat – jump started by MEDICAL antibiotics we give them through infancy – and topped up every with every meal they eat, more, more, more.

Get the picture, wise guys?

The animals get fat, so we get fat too.

Bodies out of balance

Anyway, sugar actually does nothing if our bodies are normal, balanced and healthy – not stampeded by unstoppable cravings for sweet things and power foods – and not driven by antibiotic damage to our gut bacteria so we never know when we’ve had enough.

Which means unless we dump antibiotics altogether, obesity is going to snowball. More people at risk of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma – all the slow killers. We turn our backs on the problem with a sugar tax – and then wonder why we keep dying.

Plus it’s not just our appetite control that antibiotics destroy. Increasingly, it’s our whole immune system.

Ironic, huh? We take these things as miracle drugs to make us well – and they rip our gut bacteria apart to do it. That’s because they kill bacteria in order to work. Not just the bad ones making us ill, the good ones as well.

Except we NEED these bacteria for our bodies to keep going. They’re 90% of who we are – and everything we eat is ripping them apart.

Some of the rarer ones, our special immunity against infections we haven’t even had yet, might be annihilated altogether – our bodies never restore to exactly how they were. Our children inherit fewer immunities to pass onto their kids, just as we lose immunities acquired from our mothers at birth – even less if we are born by caesarean section.

Slightly more serious that taxing sugar, hey wise guys?

More at hazard

Because it means that from generation to generation our immune systems get weaker – we’re increasingly more vulnerable to infection and disease. And the very antibiotics we might use to save ourselves are either resisted by bacteria that have mutated new defences against them, or continually savaging our remaining gut bacteria to make us even weaker.

Job not done, wise guys. Job screwed.

The real issue is not to chop sugar – it’s to chop antibiotics. Totally.

In the meantime we have to survive.

Since we’re increasingly defenceless, we’re more likely to pick up germs from things we touch and live with. Hand hygiene is no longer just necessary, it’s a life saver. Fail to wash your hands before a meal or after the loo and it could be the death of you. Because – you guessed it, you can’t rely on antibiotics to rescue you.

And how about the things we touch and live with? Leave them be and we’re still at risk. Which makes it increasingly critical to sterilise our surroundings. Not just clean and disinfect – sterilise. And not just surfaces either – every nook and cranny, even the air itself, the only way to make the rooms we work, eat and sleep in absolutely safe.

Which means increasingly we’re going to need Hypersterilisers – those nifty wheelie-bin-sized machines that you trundle in and mist the place up with a safe, dry mist of ionised hydrogen peroxide, destroying all viruses and bacteria – the harmful ones outside our bodies, not our vital interior friends – down to zero in around 40 minutes.

Do all that and we’re a step closer to being sorted – chop antibiotics, ramp up serious hygiene. Then we can all be wise guys. No dead bodies – and an even chance of a ripe old age.

Sugar tax? Don’t hold your breath.

And with that, it’s time for a Coke. Reckon we’ll make that Coke Zero.

Picture Copyright: ocusfocus / 123RF Stock Photo

Originally posted 2016-03-18 12:12:14.