Superbugs are not our superheroes. They are our enemy, and a formidable one at that. So formidable, in fact, that it’s getting to where no matter what type of antibiotic weaponry doctors throw at these superbugs, the more ineffective those antibiotics become. And that’s a problem when it comes to dealing with those infectious little critters, and our health is at stake.
What Are Superbugs?
Per mayoclinic.org, superbugs are highly resistant bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi impervious to most antibiotics. That means they can break through prescription-drug walls and wreak havoc on our health, causing -- but not limited to -- assorted health afflictions such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and skin infections.
Over a period of time and through extended exposure to prescription medications, these bugs adapt to the drugs designed to kill them and change in order to survive, in the process exiting the phone booth as superbugs. Think of it as one part survival of the fittest and another part what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Some Superbugs Have Familiar Names
Among the superbugs that have upper their game in recent years are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Candida albicans, per National Institutes of Health (NIH). All of them are microorganisms resistant to multiple drugs, allowing them to act as sources of thousands of deaths each year throughout the world. In fact, per nutritional-insight.co.uk, close to a million people a year die annually, the result of the inability of traditional antibiotics to successfully treat these bacterial infections.
Some of these deadly bugs can exist in the nasal passage and on the skin, undetectable to the carrier. But they can then turn hospitals and nursing homes into killing fields, where many patients are rendered vulnerable because of factors such as open wounds, immunodeficiency, and invasive devices that can compromise a patient’s defense mechanisms. More and more, standard antibiotics lose effectiveness.
So, What’s Going on Here?
In a word, “overuse.” “Misuse” is another relevant term. The excessive deployment of commonly prescribed drugs delivered to livestock (to prevent disease in them and enhance their growth – more meat on the hoof means more meat on to be sold on the store shelf) as well as to humans leads to a tandem of overuse and misuse of drugs that gradually lessen their potency in fighting the bad bacteria, per nutritional-insight.co.uk.
Fighting Back Against Superbugs
The fact that common antibiotics are losing their punch in fighting superbugs doesn’t mean all is lost. Scientists and drug manufacturers constantly researching, developing, and testing new drugs to include vaccines – like what is going on now in the international race to develop a safe and effective vaccine to fight the global coronavirus pandemic – health experts have found some success “teaching old dogs new tricks.”
Various familiar over-the-counter vitamins, herbs, and nutritional supplements have been added to the mix of warriors taking the fight to superbugs, either on their own or in combination with other vitamins or even prescription drugs. Following are some of these natural offerings, and measures, that have demonstrated some success in closing down the superbug superhighway:
- Garlic. If an apple a day can keep the doctor away, then perhaps several cloves of garlic can effectively keep assorted bacteria, viruses, and infections away, per ecowatch.com. Studies have already shown garlic’s success in helping to treat AQIDs symptoms, diabetes, and high blood pressure (hypertension).
- Assorted vitamins. Per nutritional-insight.co.uk, Vitamins E and K working in tandem with one another have demonstrated successful “synergistic activity” against the Acinetobacter baumannil bacteria. In other cases, some vitamins have been used in combination with actual antibacterial drugs, with the likes of vitamins B1, B2, and B12 providing impressive boosts to the drug linezolid against MRSA. B1 showed similar positive action in playing a supporting role in helping the drugs oxacillin, tetracycline, and rifampicin fight MRSA.
- Wash your hands, for real. If you’ve been awake for any part of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, you already know this. But maybe you still need to step it up a notch. OK, start with washing your hands thoroughly, with soap, after each time you use the bathroom, You knew that. Also, per health.harvard.edu, wash your hands before preparing food, and again before you eat. You still with us? You should also wash after blowing your nose (yes, each time) or after a cough or sneeze, or after feeding or stroking your pet, or after visiting or caring for a sick person. Don’t give superbugs a fighting chance.
- Grapefruit seed extract. Per ecowatch.com, this seed extract is already typically used as an anti-microbial compound. It also has shown significant potential in thwarting fungi and bacterial growth, which is why some experts have suggested it could also make a terrific bathroom cleanser.
- Vaccinations. Make sure they are up to date. Simple as that.
- Vitamin B3. Here you go, another member of the B complex family of vitamins. Per bbc.com, citing a study referenced in 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, vitamin B3, also known as nicotinamide, was discovered to boost the capacity of immune cells in your body to kill Staphylococcus bacteria. It also ramps up the quantity and efficacy of neutrophils, which are white blood cells that can kill and eat dangerous bugs.
- Cinnamon. It has antibiotic properties and has exhibited a knack for treating yeast infections, per ecowatch.com. Perhaps cinnamon is a candidate to be one of those supplements that teams well with an antibiotic drug to help ward off superbugs. It’s worth asking your doctor about.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Here’s a name that has been popping up a lot lately in these pages. As well it should. It contains malic acid, which in turn has ownership of antibiotic properties that can go to work on your behalf killing germs that, for example, can lead to a sore throat.