“It’s clearly time for doctors everywhere to rethink antibiotic
Last winter, I wrote that statement in the e-Alert “Protection Jumps
the Rails” (2/19/04), when I told you about a large, long-term
study that revealed a clear association between elevated breast
cancer risk and the overuse of antibiotics. In that study, the risk of
breast cancer was doubled among women who received 25 or more
prescriptions for antibiotics of any variety over a 17-year-period,
when compared to women who took no antibiotics at all.
For many years, antibiotics have been over-prescribed, often for
health problems (such as the common cold) that antibiotics have no
effect on at all. Now a new study shows that a popular antibiotic
that’s been widely used since the 1950s may trigger cardiac arrest.
Danger in the mix
Erythromycin is an antibiotic with a secret.
For many years, heart doctors have been aware of a risk of cardiac
arrest when erythromycin is used intravenously. This risk has been
less well known among family practitioners who often prescribe
the same antibiotic in pill form to treat a wide variety of infections.
In the New England Journal of Medicine last week, researchers
from Vanderbilt University reported on the first study to examine
the risk of cardiac arrest when oral erythromycin is used alone or
with other medications.
The Vanderbilt team followed the medical records of more than
4,400 Medicaid patients, averaging 15 years per patient. About
1,475 subjects suffered cardiac arrest during the study period.
When the complete medication use of each subject was analyzed,
researchers came up with these results:
* The rate of sudden death from cardiac causes was twice as high
among patients using erythromycin, compared to subjects that
didn’t use the antibiotic
* Two blood pressure medications that are sold generically –
verapamil and diltiazem – were both associated with an additional
increased risk of cardiac arrest when taken with erythromycin
* Other drugs associated with increased cardiac attack risk when
taken with erythromycin include the antibiotic clarithromycin, the
vaginal yeast infection drug fluconazole, and two antifungal drugs:
itraconazole and ketoconazole
Researchers believe that blood levels of these additional drugs are
boosted by erythromycin. This can result in a slower heart rate,
which in turn may trigger irregular rhythms, setting in motion a
cardiac arrest. In an interview with The Associated Press, the lead
researcher of the study, Wayne A. Ray, Ph.D., warned that
erythromycin levels may also be increased by drinking grapefruit
juice or by taking protease inhibitors used to treat AIDS.
The big 4
In addition to the breast cancer/antibiotic association and the
specific drawback to erythromycin use, there’s the larger antibiotic
problem: bacterial resistance.
Bacteria are highly adaptive because they actually “teach” one
another to resist antibiotics. They do this by passing DNA-
containing organisms called plasmids, from one to another. The
result: Due to the excessive use of antibiotics, virtually all of the
bacterial infections known to scientists are becoming resistant to
even the most powerful antibiotics.
are effective alternatives to pharmaceutical antibiotics. In the e-
Alert “Be Afraid Be Very Afraid – Part II” (10/17/02), Dr. Spreen
told us about four natural anti-bacterial (and anti-viral) agents.
These treatments have yet to be adequately studied, but all of them
have many years of anecdotal evidence behind them.
* Vitamin C: Robert Cathcart, M.D. (probably the most
experienced therapist currently using very high doses of ascorbic
acid) has been treating with the nutrient for decades to get AIDS
patients back on their feet. In a published report he describes the
use of oral vitamin C in bacterial infections with doses as high as
200 grams or higher. He includes over 30 references of others who
have used very high doses in disease treatment.
* Grapefruit Seed Extract: “Citricidal,” a natural antibiotic made
from an extract of grapefruit seed, was developed from the
observation that something in grapefruit (though not in other citrus
fruits) keeps bacteria at bay for extended periods of time.
Bio/chem Research in California has done extensive research on
the antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties
of this amazing substance.
* Olive Leaf Extract: This flavonoid and antioxidant has been
tested as an antimicrobial agent, with sufficient power to achieve a
published status in peer-review journals.
* Colloidal Silver: By far the most controversial agent in the
armamentarium of ‘natural’ antibacterial agents. Jonathan V.
Wright, M.D.’s research has found that bacteria have an enzyme
system that is disrupted by the presence of silver ions, causing the
organism to die. In fact, it was commonly used as about the only
hope against severe infections prior to the advent of antibiotics in
the 1940s. Dr. Wright suggests adult doses of “One tablespoon of
colloidal silver at a 40 ppm (parts per million) concentration at the
first signs of any infection and 1-2 teaspoons three to four times
daily until the infection is gone. Then stop!”
Say it with microflora
offers this suggestion: “I’d add some acidophilus culture (also
called probiotics) to the mix, during and for a few days after the
use of OLE. The situation here is that OLE is such a good
antibacterial that it can also kill the ‘good guy’ bacteria that we
need in our gastrointestinal tracts.”
When I asked Dr. Spreen if he would also recommend the
acidophilus supplements to protect intestinal microflora in
someone taking pharmaceutical antibiotics, he answered, “Most
definitely – without exception! I go with 1/4 tsp (or capsule-
equivalent) before meals and bedtime, to be used during the
antibiotic therapy and also for one full week after stopping the
There are times when antibiotics are necessary and can even save
lives. But when they’re casually and repeatedly used as insurance
against possible infection, they may end up promoting much
greater harm than good. So if your doctor prescribes an antibiotic,
press him for details, and, if possible, try an alternative.
NEW SUPPLEMENT SLASHES CHOLESTEROL 54%
BETTER THAN DANGEROUS STATIN DRUGS!
Studies show it sends cholesterol plunging. Also thins your blood,
which can prevent deadly clots. It’s very exciting news if you have
a cholesterol problem, but would like to avoid the many harmful side
effects of statin drugs.
Even the researchers were shocked when they tested policosanol —
a safe, natural substance found in citrus peels.
(This product is currently not available outside of the U.S.and Canada)
and another thing
Viva Las Vegas!
A new study from Yale University produced surprising results for
researchers who set out to examine how gambling habits might be
correlated to various health measures.
As reported in this month’s issue of the American Journal of
Psychiatry, more than 2,400 adults chosen at random across the
U.S. were surveyed by telephone to determine recreational
gambling habits, alcohol use, substance abuse, depression, general
health, and rates of bankruptcy and incarceration.
Results showed that gamblers over the age of 65 were in better
general health than non-gamblers in the same age group. And
when compared to gamblers aged 18-65, the senior gamblers were
less likely to be depressed, alcoholic, or bankrupt. They also spent
less time in jail.
Among senior gamblers, playing the lottery was most popular form
of gambling, followed by casino gaming and betting on horse
Lead researcher Rani A. Desai, Ph.D., told The Associated Press
that the social aspects of gambling may partly explain the better
health of the elderly gamblers, when compared to non-gamblers of
the same age.
Then again, maybe it’s just the adrenalin rush of chalking up a big
Dr. Desari pointed out that any potential health benefits of
gambling drop off sharply for those who become addicted. Just as
we’ve seen with the health benefits of alcohol, moderation is the
But as the old saying goes: You have to be in it to win it. And
apparently there may be winning health benefits for those who stay
in it as they age.
To Your Good Health,
Health Sciences Institute
REVERSE PROSTATE CANCER AND PREVENT PROSTATE PROBLEMS!
Until now modern medicine has been looking in all the wrong
places to reverse prostate cancer and prevent prostate
problems! There is good news though, in spite of the fact
* Every 15 minutes another man will die from prostate cancer
* Every 3 minutes a case of prostate cancer is diagnosed in
* 90% of American men will have some sort of prostate
deterioration by the age of 60
there’s an all-natural prostate program that can reduce
your chances of ever hearing ‘you’ve got prostate cancer.’ To
find out more, visit:
“Oral Erythromycin and the Risk of Sudden Death from Cardiac
Causes” The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 351, No. 11,
“Common Antibiotic May Trigger Cardiac Death” The Associated
Press, 9/8/04, msnbc.msn.com
“Health Correlates of Recreational Gambling in Older Adults”
American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol. 161, No 9, September 2004,
“Gambling Linked to Good Health in Elderly” Diane Scarponi,
The Associated Press, 9/14/04, The Associated Press,