A recent research article supports what naturopathic medicine has known for generations, that antibiotics kill helpful bacteria and cause more problems than they solve.
Body’s own commensal bacterial flora is effective in maintaining immune cells and killing off certain oral infections
The research study has found that the body’s own commensal bacterial flora (microbiome) is effective in maintaining immune cells and killing off certain oral infections.1
The researchers actually consent to the finding that antibiotics actually kill “good” bacteria which are helping to keep an infection and inflammation at bay.
Overuse of antibiotics has become a concern
This research is coming out of an acknowledgment that the overuse of antibiotics has become a concern, and may be causing more harm than good. This is especially the case in regards to antibiotic resistance, which is continuing to grow as a danger in hospital settings and other healthcare venues.
Research into oral health is relatively new
But the research into oral health specifically is relatively new, though links between oral infections and heart disease and systemic infections has been established.
Pushpa Pandiyan, an assistant professor of biological sciences in the School of Dental Medicine, led the research team to look at commensal bacteria, their fatty acids and their effect on immune cells that work to protect against certain infections of the mouth.
Specifically, the team examined the “short-term maintenance” of Tregs and Th-17 cells – two types of immune cells – in resisting Candida infections.
The findings were that these innate defense mechanisms of the body were indeed very effective at limiting infection and controlling inflammation, and that antibiotics disrupted this ability. “We set out to find out what happens when you don’t have bacteria to fight a fungal infection,” Pandiyan said. “What we found was that antibiotics can kill short-chain fatty acids produced by body’s own good bacteria.”
“We have good bacteria doing good work every day, why kill them?” Pandiyan added. “As is the case with many infections, if you leave them alone, they will leave on their own.”
“Of course, antibiotics are still needed for life threatening infections. No question about that. Our bodies have many natural defenses that we shouldn’t meddle with,” she said. However, needless overuse of antibiotics is not helpful, she said.
“Also, we know there is a definite link between oral health and overall health,” she added.
Study could have broader implications on protective effects of “resident microbiota” in other types of infections
Pandiyan said the study could have broader implications on protective effects of “resident microbiota” in other types of infections.
- Bhaskaran N, Quigley C, Paw C, Butala S, Schneider E, Pandiyan P. Role of Short Chain Fatty Acids in Controlling T and Immunopathology During Mucosal Infection. Front Microbiol. 2018;9:1995.
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.