Not long ago, a lady called letting me know, that she had a viral cold and cough for 3 weeks. Family physician prescribed antibiotics, and at the pharmacy they told her that the reason for the antibiotics is that the virus now became a bacteria. What? Viruses never become bacteria! I clarified it for her, as someone somewhere did not explain it correctly or it was somehow misunderstood. However, I am sure most of you heard some sort of explanation like the one above. I would have recommended to her something natural for her cough and cold, but she started her antibiotics so instead I recommended her probiotics, the beneficial good bacteria, lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacterium bifidus (acidophilus and bifidus for short). Also organic fermented dairy (yogurt and kefir) products for later, when she does not cough anymore (as even organic fermented dairy are a bit mucous forming) kambucha etc. to recolonize her gut flora in the future. You see, acidophilus and bifidus are colonizing good bacteria that colonize the human gut. Antibiotics taken orally will not just kill the bad bacteria, but will kill the colonizing beneficial bacteria. You know this because 3 days into the antibiotics treatment you will start a genital yeast infection, or trush in the mouth. After a therapy that includes antibiotics, patients are occasionally (should be done every time!) instructed to take an acidophilus biofidus treatment in order to recolonize the gastrointestinal tract. Besides helping with recolonization, acidophilus bifidus aids in digestion thanks to the recovered colonies, decreasing constipation, may decrease in the incidence of certain diseases, including yeast infections in the upper digestive tract (especially those caused by Candida albicans-read more under the Candida heading below).
Here’s what you need to know:
Viruses vs. Bacteria.
Viruses never ever become bacteria. Viruses are completely different from bacteria. Virus infection indeed can linger around for weeks. Virus infection provokes an immune response (fever) that should eliminate the infection. Remember fever is good. Natural and homeopathic remedies work very differently on caughs and colds and they help the immune system. A remedy called Ferrum phosphoricum 6X, is used for fever within the natural community because it makes the body heat itself more (creates heat in the body), therefore helps with the fever and this way the body is getting rid of the virus faster. Again, remember that fever is a needed immunological response to the virus. Contrary to tylenol use: lowers fever therefore virus is not killed, and makes the virus linger around for longer period, openning doors for bacteria to settle in. Two completely different approaches.
If it lingers around for so long, it drains the body, making the immune system weak. When the body is down from this kind of viral infection (cold, cough), bad bacteria could start settling in. Bad bacteria (pathogenic) love it, and because they are opportunistic, this is exactly the environment they love, they thrive when the body is weak and down and they multiply very fast. This happens a lot, bacteria settles in causing a bacterial infection in the body after the viral infection weakened the bodies immune system -BUT the virus will not become bacteria. In a case like this, antibiotics are appropriate. Antibiotics do not work on viruses, but they start killing the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
While viruses we pick up from outside, the bad bacteria is part of us, and also we can pick it up too from outside. We have bad bacteria in our gut together with good bacteria. The proper ratio should be with everyone (children too) 80% good bacteria (acidophilus bifidus, ramonosus, casei etc) and only 20% bad bacteria. But in most people and children too (b/c too much sugar intake, too many rounds of antibiotics, procesed food intake) the ratio is 80% bad and only 20 % good. The bad bacteria is part of our digestive system, and we keep them in check by having lots of good bacteria. The good bacteria mostly we supplement either by yogurt and kefir and supplement it as probiotics. Yogurt and kefir are good, but you have to find an organic source, otherwise yogurt and kefir are not very potent. It will contain some good bacteria (culture), but organic sources are much much better. From fresh milk (not pasteurized, not homogenized, but from the cow directly) you can have by the next day home made yogurt if you do not boil the milk, just put it aside cover with a cheese cloth and give it time. In 24 hours you will have home made sour milk, which is almost the same as yogurt. In countries where a family can have their own cow, which they take care of, milk it, preparing yogurt, cheese etc, this is an every day routine, that is part of their nutritional intake. North America is a different story. The good bacteria makes milk become sour/yogurt. Interesting to see that warm countries eat lots of yogurt/kefir because in those countries the bad bacteria is everywhere because of the warm climate, or not as clean water etc. My grandmother used to tell me that when they had a cow, before they would milk it (2 times a day: morning and everning) they would wash the tail of the cow as well as the udder of the cow, so it is clean while milking is happening. Commercial cow farming is very very different. Pasteurized and homogenized milk makes lot less good bacteria yogurt, that is why all the yogurt coming from commercial farming has added good bacteria (I am sure you noticed, and that is why it is advertised heavily that it has added good bacteria/probiotics). Commercial production where they have lots of cows, they need to homogenize and pasteurize the milk. Can you imagine washing all those udders and tails? When I go home we buy milk form our neighbour, that has a cow, and every night we have fresh milk. We would boil the one we would drink ones, and leave some for next day out on the counter to become home made yogurt. When we go home to visit, we never get sick from the milk or yogurt, in fact this is the way I had milk and yogurt while I was growing up. So in our grandparents time, they made sure to clean the udder and tail of the cow. But long stroy short, going back to the bacteria
So when the body is down from a viral infection that lingers around and weakens the body, then these bad bacteria love it, and b/c they are opportunistic, this is exactly the environment they love, they thrive when the body is weak and down. If you help get rid of the virus fast, bacterial infection would not settle in or in any case has a lesser chance to multiply. Children pick it up the fastest, because they put everything in their mouth.
The question that is being asked a lot is, why second time around bacteria/bacterial infection is stronger? Because they are still very resilient, and when antibiotcs are stopped, sometimes they can still be revitalized, and can be activated again, and this is why they are stronger second time around. BUT most importantly because by this time the antibiotics killed the good bactearia too which have beneficial roles in the gut. If antibiotics are prescribed, they should be prescribed with probiotics, but very seldom they are. Since the good bacteria keeps the bad bacteria and candida in check, when they are killed too with a round of antibiotics, who will remain to keep the bad bacteria and candida in check? So the bad again has free way to come up again and multiply. Unfortunately children often get another round of antibiotics as well, making the whole cycle awfull for months, unless the child is given on regular basis good bacteria (acidophilus, bifidus). The good bacteria in the gut is also killed when diet is high is sugar, processed food, other kinds of medication etc. When gas, bloating is present on regular basis, the need for probiotics are high, for adults and children alike.
Wow, we started with a viral infection, and look where we ended up! I had to tell her story, to make it understandable and to be able to continue with candida (yeast).
Candida is a form of yeast. Candida species have the potential to cause disease. Clinically, the most significant is Candida albicans, that could cause disease especially in immunocompromised people. Candida albicans infection is also knows as: thrush, yeast infection (Ryan KJ; Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed.). McGraw Hill. ISBN0838585299)
Under normal circumstances Candida albicans are harmless, but they can overgrow causing systemic candidiasis (candida infection) and could cause mortality, decreasing the immune system. Candida other then being in the human gut, is everywhere else too. As a matter of fact, please do this little exercise for 3 seconds: please stick your tongue out and hold it for 3 seconds. Did you do it? Be sure that at least a candida cell landed on your tongue in those 3 seconds. Got my point? It is ok, as long as it does not overgrow in your body.
So, what causes the overgrow of candida in the human body? Not enough beneficial bacteria, too much sugar intake including processed complex carbohydrates such as white pasta, medication, antibiotics etc. Antibiotics do no kill candida, they give rise to candida infection. Anybody who is a woman and is reading this ask yourself: when and how many times do you have a yeast infection? was it after antibiotcs use? was it after something else? is it around your menstrual period? Anyone who is a man and is reaging this, ask yourself: whe and how many times did you have a yeast infection? (Yes, men have it too, but unfortunately men are more in denial). Do you know anybody who had a yeast infection or thrush, including children and elderly? Thrush, in female adults and elderly come out on the body too, especially under the breast where the bra line sits. It is very ithcy. What do you think a diaper rash is? What do you think a yellowing toe nail or finger nail is? Especially where the nail actually separates itself from the nail bed by becoming wavy and thick? you can cut if off, but the more you cut if off, the more wavy and thick it becomes? Or a nail that starts to grow in waves, but not neccesarily yellow? How about brain fog? These are already overgrown candida signs. When these sgins are there, one needs probiotics.
Another example I will give you, is a dietary cause, for candida induced yeast infection. Client who up to that point sees me for massage therapy, knowing I became a Nutritionist, calls to see if I could explain to her why her routine liver blood test came back abnormal. Doctor called her and told her that the liver blood test is not as good. Doctor kind of pointed out that these kinds of liver results are for someone who is drinking alcohol, so the doctor asked if she started drinking? This is a lady I know, and she drinks socially, so alcohol is not an issue. Doctor did not know what else to say, told her to redo the test in 3 months and hang up living her puzzled. After a bit of questioning, it turns out she eats 4-5 times a week white pasta, other processed complex carbohydrates (white bread, white rice) for as long as she can remember. She had what we call “sugar excess”. Too much complex carbohydrates in the diet. Alcohol also turns into sugar, showing up in the blood test for liver with abnormal results. Complex carbohyrates turn into sugar after digestion as well, showing up with bad results in the blood liver test. Too much food related sugar (wheather it is from alcohol or pasta!) will increase candida albicans as candida loves sugar. When candida is overgrown we know automatically that the beneficial bacteria are low. She needed probiotics right away, and she needs to eat other sources of whole grain complex carbohydrates.
So I recommended probiotics for her, letting her know, that if she does not start it, she could get a yeast infection soon. If the liver test showed it, you bet that it is already in the system!!! She did not do it, or she did not beleive me, I do not know. All I know is that 2 weeks later, I got another call from her, she was having a yeast infection, at which point she asked for the name of the probiotics again.
As for the other lady, whom I started this article with, she took her antibiotics since she started she had to finish, and at the same time she took probiotics too, even after the antibiotics round ran out.
It is very important to keep the immune system healthy, so that a virus infection does not weaken the body down so much, where the bad bacteria could start settling in, that would need antibiotics treatment, that would kill teh bad bacteria, but unfortunately also the beneficial bacteria that keeps candida in check, that could give rise to candida infections- making the viscious cycle hard to break for a long time.