Health

Antibiotics raise risk of heart disease and cancer

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Although antibiotics can be life-saving drugs, they also raise the risk for a range of other serious chronic conditions, including heart disease and some cancers, new research has found.

This is because antibiotics destroy the 'good' bacteria in the gut that protect against infections and inflammation, and inflammation is the key to many chronic diseases, from arthritis, heart problems and cancer.

Although medicine accepts that over-use of antibiotics leads to resistance and 'super bugs', it can also be the gateway drug to most of the chronic diseases that afflict the West.

 

Researchers from the dental school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland analysed the effect that antibiotics have on the bacteria in our mouths, and discovered the drugs stripped out the ones that fight inflammation and fungal infection such as Candida.

The drugs killed the short-chain fatty acids that are produced by the body's 'good' bacteria. As lead researcher Pushpa Pandiyan said: "We have good bacteria doing good work every day, so why kill them? As is the case with many infections, if you leave them alone, they will leave on their own."

In other words, antibiotics should be restricted only to life-or-death emergency infections; the body's own natural defence mechanisms can deal with the rest.

(Source: Frontiers in Microbiology, 2018; 9: doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.01995)

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