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9 Ways to Protect Yourself From Superbug Bacteria

probioticsbottleThe CDC is flooding airwaves and media outlets with this message: superbugs are once again becoming a threat, this time in hospital environments.

Hospital employees and medical workers are being urged by the CDC to take precautions to prevent spreading these bacteria to others in the hospital environment as well as those on the outside.

This bacteria is being referred to by CDC officials as a “nightmare” bacteria that will kill half of all those who are infected.

In the recent past, bacteria such as Clostridium difficile which affects the intestinal tract,  Tuberculosis, and the Staph infection MRSA have been reported as causing serious illness and death.  To date all of these have developed into bacterial strains which are now antibiotic-resistant.

In this case, however, the bacteria seen in these environments apparently are isolated to one specific group of bacteria.  Officials are focused on superbugs originating from a group including Klebsiella pneumoniae, a superbug which was fatal for 7 people in the state of MD, and bacteria made resistant from a gene known as NDM-1 (named for New Dehli).

 

Five of 70 kinds in this bacteria family are now resistant to antibiotics known as carapenems – a potent antibiotic that is one of the last stands available against superbug bacteria.

Good grief, this sounds pretty serious!  Time to pull out the big guns. Maybe you’re thinking about running to the store and buying all the antibacterial soaps and disinfectants you can to protect yourself and your family.

But, wait.

Before you become hysterical and spend your life savings on Lysol and antibacterial products, there are some things you should know about bacteria…

Resistant bacteria are occurring due to the following:

  • Overuse of antibacterial substances in the hospital environment to “eliminate” bacteria
  • Over use of antibiotics for illness in humans
  • Over use of antibiotics in farming environments on animals and birds

When these substances are over-used, the result is that ALL bacteria are wiped out. But eliminating the good bacteria in our bodies and in our environment has dire consequences. If we don’t have the friendly bacteria that normally occur in our intestinal tracts, and that take up residence in our entire bodies…and which also occur in our farming environments where our food is grown, we become vulnerable to disease and illness.

These bacteria are found often found dwelling in the intestinal tract and can be considered harmless, but are known to develop into urinary tract infections or pneumonia. Those with weakened immune systems are vulnerable to illness, and can easily die if the bacteria is contracted.

In modern day, many people have weakened immune systems due to poor dietary habits that include a lot of processed foods, stressful lifestyles, environmental toxins, and the overuse of powerful antibiotic drugs.

How antibiotics can be harmful

Sometimes we need antibiotics when an illness is serious and all other methods have been exhausted. The trouble is, over the last number of decades, antibiotics have been the first line of defense in treating illness. And because so much good bacteria is destroyed in our bodies due to the emphasis in our culture on killing bacteria – the problem is that even one round of antibiotics can decimate good or beneficial flora in the digestive tract which support the immune system and overall health.

Sometimes the resistance can go on for years in the gut, and cause long-term health effects. Once friendly bacteria are diminished, it becomes easy for opportunistic bacteria to set up house. Most people have had multiple rounds of antibiotics in their lifetime, some dozens. In 2010, a study published in the Journal Microbiology examined long-term effects of antibiotic exposure in human beings, and the results were not favorable. The study determined that even short-term use of antibiotic therapy could have negative long-term effects on beneficial gut bacteria.

So how could it be the case that the very medical establishments which are supposed to protect us from harmful bacteria and sickness have actually been responsible for creating this problem in the first place?

Although there are some great things about our modern medical system – and thank God for that for when you really need it – unfortunately, our it is a system that  is built on the premise of treating symptoms. The actual root cause of a problem is often not identified or remedied because of this focus.

So what can you possibly do to keep from contracting one of these horrible bacteria?

 

How to avoid superbug bacteria

1. Avoid antibiotics as much as possible.

Use natural remedies instead of toxic drugs and over-the-counter medications.

2. Avoid processed foods, sugar, and anything refined.

Packaged and commercial foods contribute to disease and the growth of harmful bacteria in the body, which leads to chronic health issues or death.

3. Avoid using anti-bacterial soaps, washes, hand sanitizers, and any related products.

These contribute greatly to bacterial resistant strains which can make you sick or cause death.

4.  Wash hands when appropriate (but do not overwash as this can remove good bacteria and oils that keep your skin healthy), and use soap and water.

5. Use therapeutic grade probiotic supplements regularly.

Because there are so many chemicals, toxins, and now superbug bacteria in our environment, taking a high-quality therapeutic grade probiotic is something every man, woman, and child should be doing to prevent disease.  See the link above for recommended brands.

6. Eat fermented and cultured foods.

In addition to taking a high-quality, therapeutic grade probiotic, fermented and cultured foods are absolutely vital to supporting the immune and digestive systems. By preparing these at home, you ensure a better proliferation of bacteria and higher numbers since you can culture your foods longer than those bought in the store (which are normally cultured for only 4-8 hours). And with bacteria, the more diverse and higher numbers you can get, the better. Prepare these with safe, organic ingredients sourced from healthy farms (vegetables and dairy foods, etc).

7. Avoid processed foods and refined sugar.

These contribute to a weakened immune system and compromised digestive tract, and a negative effect on overall health.

8. Include plenty of real, whole and traditional foods in your diet.

Grassfed meats, pasture raised poultry and eggs, raw dairy foods including milk, butter, cream, sour cream, yogurt, kefir, olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, seafood from safe sources, organic fruits and vegetables, sprouted nuts and legumes, and use sprouted grain foods sparingly. Avoid anything that has been grown or raised with GMOs (genetically-modified organisms), pesticides/herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and isn’t produced naturally.

Grains can be inflammatory for various reasons and can contribute to yeast overgrowth, digestive issues, and long-term auto-immune disease. Even sprouted/soaked and fermented grains may not be a good idea. Read more about why grains can be harmful to health: The Truth About Wheat and Grains – Are they Good for Your Health?

Use superfoods to support your immune system:

  • Fermented cod liver oil
  • Liver and other organ meats from safe, pastured sources
  • Egg yolks from pastured hens
  • Grassfed meats and poultry
  • Bone broths made from the bones of animals and birds on pasture – all full of Omega 3s, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2
  • Healthy fats like lard, tallow, schmaltz (chicken) from healthy, pastured sources, olive oil, coconut oil and sustainable-produced palm oil (check with manufacturer)
  • Cultured and fermented foods and beverages such a raw dairy foods including milk, butter, and cream and also fermented dairy foods like yogurt and kefir from healthy cows on pasture and organic cultured vegetables, condiments, sauces, and dressings
  • Safe-sourced seafood and fish roe (eggs) which contain fat-soluble vitamins A&D, Omega 3s, selenium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and other important minerals
  • Seaweed and kelp (rich in iodine)
  • Citrus fruits and for vitamin C

9. If you are stricken by a superbug bacteria and cannot recover despite all your best efforts, there is a procedure that can be done with implanted matter from a donor into the colon where the infection normally originates.

Read more about this procedure here from The Healthy Home Economist.

According to Professor Thomas Borody with the Center for Digestive Diseases in Sydney, AU, “a single infusion of a healthy donor’s fecal material into the infected colon resulted in a cure rate of no less than 97%.” Over 1500 of these have been performed with success.

More information:
All probiotics are NOT created equal!

The importance of dietary fats

The truth about raw milk, Part I and Part II

Is cheap food really cheap? The hidden costs of industrial food

 

Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food

16 Ways to Avoid Flu and Colds this Holiday Season & Through the Winter Months

www.mypicshares.com

Winter is here, and if you get sick a lot this time of year, there are many natural ways you can improve your body’s ability to stay healthy – especially with the foods you eat and lifestyle you maintain.

Many people believe that hand-washing is one of the best ways to keep illnesses away. In the last two decades we’ve seen a huge increase of the use of anti-bacterial substances which are supposed to keep our bodies healthier. But actually, these substances are toxic and don’t help our bodies to maintain health. They wipe out all bacteria, and our bodies need good bacteria to function optimally.

There are also many other factors which come into play toward keeping healthy. If your body doesn’t have the right nutrients every day – especially during times of stress, when you consume processed foods and especially those with sugar, exposure to illness from others, and days where sunlight is in short supply – your body will weaken and succumb to sickness and disease.

Whether you are a person who tends to catch every cold or flu that comes along or you just get sick once in awhile, here are some tips that really work for keeping away bacteria, illnesses, and viruses:

  • Avoid eating processed foods and refined sugars   Fall and winter months are times when people tend to eat more sugary and processed foods due to holiday activities and gatherings. Sugar is a poison to your body and lowers immune system function. This includes foods such as crackers, chips, most breads, bagels, pastas, cookies, desserts, candy, juice, soda pop, and other related items. All of these items contribute to lowered immune system function and poor health. A good rule of thumb to follow – if it is not a whole food, avoid eating it regularly. Load up on real, raw, whole foods for snacks and meals alike.
  • Consume plenty of healthy oils and fats   Real, organic butter (grass-fed and raw is a plus), ghee, extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oils, coconut oils, sustainably-produced palm oil, and healthy animal fats from organic, grass-fed sources such as lard, chicken, duck, or goose fat, tallow (from beef), and drippings from those same types of animal meats. Avoid vegetable oils and trans fats including vegetable shortening, margarine and fake butter spreads, soybean, cottonseed, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, and peanut oil, which are rancid, contain too many Omega 6s, and have inflammatory and hormonal disrupting properties. These foods are often from genetically-modified sources which are hazardous to health. Read about why GMOs are harmful here.
  • Be certain to obtain essential fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) in your diet Take fish oil daily (good source of Vitamin D), eat grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, raw dairy, and safe-source fish. Green Pasture Products sells the only fermented cod liver oil in the world and is the best source for fish oil nutrients like Omega 3s, Vitamins A & D, and other trace nutrients. Good sources of other EFAs include healthy oils like cold-pressed organic flax seed oil and coconut oil. A good brand is Udo’s Organic 3-6-9.  Read this FAQ about why we need good essential fatty acid support for health.
  • Continue to eat plenty of organic, GMO-free and pesticide-free fresh fruits and vegetables   Especially those in season in your local area. Vegetables and fruits are high in nutrients and antioxidants which help thwart the development of disease and illness when properly prepared such as cultured or eaten with healthy fats like butter, lard, tallow, coconut oil, or olive oil.
  • Drink mineral water or add liquid minerals or fulvic acid   There is some controversy about whether filtered water with added minerals is actually healthy for us to drink because it’s not much different than a lot of processed foods which have been stripped of nutrients and have synthetic added back in. Avoid plastic containers, tap water, and bottled water. Tap water contains toxins and plastic contains pthalates – both of which supress immune system and health.  Two other great ways to get minerals is to drink nettles infusions (made with filtered water) or add real sea salt to water and drink throughout the day. Good salt brands include Premier Pink Salt, Celtic Sea Salt, Maine Sea Salt, and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. Lack of minerals is one of the leading causes of illness and disease.
  • Drink bone broths and incorporate them into your meals as well    Bone broths made from the bones of healthy animals and birds on pasture are full of easily-digested and essential nutrients which can help your body stay healthy such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, amino acids, and glucosamine (for bone health), and gelatin (muscles, metabolism, weight, skin, digestion, hair, fingernails, joint health). Read this post for more information on health benefits and recipes for making your own bone broths at home.
  • Eat real, fermented foods like home-made yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut Making your own at home is best for optimal preservation of nutrients and beneficial bacteria, as well as immune supporting and digestive enhancing. Commercial yogurts, sour cream, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and other foods do not have the health benefits or probiotic activity of home-made cultured foods. See this post for more information.
  • Be certain to take a good probiotic each day – especially if you are lacking fermented foods Good brands include Biotics ResearchNature’s Life liquid probiotics (great for kids), Bio Kult, and Prescript-Assist for especially low immune function. Also, try the great recommendations by Rockwell Nutrition including a great line of HLC Probiotics by Pharmax.
  • Use digestive enyzmes If you have maintained the Standard American Diet at any time in your life, your digestion is likely compromised.  Altered digestive function is one of the cornerstones of disease and illness. Digestive enzymes can help you to digest foods – proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. I use Enzyme Formulations, live enzymes with healing herbals, or try Dr. Ron Schmid’s Pancreatic enzymes.
  • Watch intake of alcoholic beverages, which tend to increase during holiday months     Drinking excess alcohol can have adverse affects on appetite, blood sugar, blood pressure and cardiovascular function, metabolic processes, and weight. If you are a binge drinker during special occasions, cut yourself off after two drinks and make certain you are eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water at the same time. Consider unpasteurized beer and wine.
  • Make sure you are getting adequate rest and not overextending yourself    If necessary, say no to extra tasks that you know you really won’t have time or energy to accomplish. Stay home on a night where you might normally go out and rest, relax, catch up, and go to bed early. Go to bed by 10 p.m.
  • Set aside time for some regular exercise, preferably outdoors   In the colder months people tend to go to health clubs more. Many more toxins lurk indoors during colder months, so bundle up and go for a walk, hike, or bike ride. You’ll be pleased with how exhilarated you feel afterward. If you are a winter sport enthusiast, get out on the slopes and go skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding. If you are an equine enthusiast, make time to get out on your horse or a friend’s mount during weather that is not icy.
  • Set aside time for contemplation, stress reduction, and relaxation   Whether that is a hot bath, a massage, tai chi, yoga, stretching, meditation or some other method you prefer, make sure you give yourself this time to recharge.
  • If you do get sick, load up on probiotics, foods with healthy fats, and everything else mentioned above   Take time to pamper yourself (but not with toxic products that contain harmful chemicals – remember -read labels and if you cannot pronounce something or don’t know what it is, avoid!), rest, and put off things that aren’t necessary so you can get back to a state of health quicker and easier.  Read this informative post about my home medicine cabinet and things you can do to remedy illness and other health issues.
  • Avoid taking pharmaceutical drugs and antibiotics   These substances rarely help your body to heal sooner, are over-prescribed, and actually cause nutrient depletion and lowered immune system function by wiping out friendly bacteria that is vital to health. For information on nutrient depletion caused by drugs, read Supplement Your Prescription: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutrition by Dr. Hyla Cass, M.D.
  • If you cannot shake a cold, flu, or illness, consider visiting an alternative health care practitioner such as  a chiropractor, naturopathic physician, or other qualified individual  These practitioners are often very successful in alleviating health issues and perform treatment based on the cause of the problem rather than just treating symptoms.

If you maintain a good schedule of eating healthy, avoiding processed foods and beverages, take proper supplementation, obtain moderate activity, exercise, rest, and relaxation, you will notice an enormous improvement in the way your health responds. You will have more energy, feel more productive, and avoid catching flus and colds.

This post is part of Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday blog hop.