Pathogenic Drug Resistance: A CAM Review into “Superbugs” in Australia

Hello everyone,

AUSTRALIA now has the highest rate of one deadly superbug in the world as our overuse of medicines is fuelling the rise of infections resistant to even the last line of antibiotics. A damning new report shows antibiotic use in Australia is higher than in England, Canada, Norway, Denmark and Sweden with half our population using the medicines every year. Its left us with the highest rate of one deadly superbug — vancomycin resistant enterococcus faecium (VRE) — in the world.  This bacteria can live innocuously in the human intestine, but when it becomes pathogenic it cases diseases such as neonatal meningitis or endocarditis a disease that can destroy heart valves.

The Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia (AURA) report 2016 to be released Thursday shows half the GP scripts written for antibiotics are for colds and flu even though these illnesses are viruses that don’t respond to antibiotics. And as the cold and flu season hits us in full swing this season, experts have been urging Australians not to ask their doctor for an antibiotic because they could be helping deadly superbugs spread.

The report shows a strong seasonal variance, with some antibiotics being prescribed more in winter.

Antibiotic resistance has developed because of the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, and now, bacterial infections that were once easily cured with antibiotics are becoming harder to treat,” said Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care Senior Medical Advisor Professor John Turnidge.

The results of the first comprehensive study on Australia’s antibiotic use includes data from 182 doctors’ practices.And it shows on any given day in an Australian hospital in 2014, nearly four in ten patients were being administered an antibiotic.One in four of these medicines were prescribed in ways that were not compliant with guidelines, and another one in four were considered inappropriate.

The Antimicrobial Use and Resistance in Australia (AURA) report 2016 found where GPs gave a reason for prescribing an antibiotic 50 per cent of patients had a cold or upper respiratory tract infection.A new NPS MedicineWise survey of 1000 Australians, also released today, has revealed that four in ten people who went to the doctor last time they or their child had a cold or flu expected a prescription for antibiotics.

One in five people said the main reasons they asked a doctor for antibiotics when they had a cold or flu were they hate being sick, 17 per cent said they believed that antibiotics help you get over cold or flu more quickly and 22 per cent said they couldn’t take time off work or family duties.

It’s timely for us to again address common misconceptions that unfortunately seem to persist about appropriate use of antibiotics during cold and flu season,” said NPS MedicineWise CEO Dr Lynne Weekes.

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As experts try to turn around Australia’s addiction to antibiotics the report will be used as a benchmark to measure improvements or declines in antibiotic stewardship in the future.

Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as Golden Staph because of its colour on a laboratory plate, is normally harmless. Carried on our skin it can, sometimes, cause minor infections in wounds or create boils.

Golden Staph, though, is becoming resistant to the most powerful of antibiotics and returning as a big problem in most large Australian hospitals, attacking intravenous lines, catheters and wounds after operations. It spreads quickly through patient contact, respiratory droplets and food. These resistant bacteria range from 20 to 40 percent of all Golden Staph infections in major eastern Australian hospitals. About 5 percent of those multi resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can only be treated with vancomycin. Now, even that last line of defence is looking shaky. In 1997, a Golden Staph bacterium partially resistant to vancomycin was discovered in Japan. Dubbed to be of intermediate resistance it is now known as vancomycin intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA).

VRE is another bacterium which hits the headlines from time to time. VRE or Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci was first identified in Australia in 1994. It didn’t, though, cause much of a stir until 1996 when several cases were diagnosed in hospital patients across the country. In that year, institutions in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Melbourne and Newcastle all reported isolating VRE.

Enterococcus is a bacterium in our gastrointestinal and genital tracts. It can be highly aggressive, especially in post-operative hospital patients, causing urinary tract infections, septicaemia (blood poisoning) and endocarditis (heart infection) as well as infecting wounds. Microbiologist and antibiotic resistance expert, Dr John Turnidge, from the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital, says Enterococcus is a ‘peculiar beast’ because it starts off as naturally resistant to many antibiotics. “For severe hospital infections, there are only two classes of antibiotics to choose for treatment so resistance in one class, no matter how low, is a huge concern”. 

Less than 1% of Enterococci resist vancomycin but some also resist the other antibiotic available in that class in Australia. This combination makes serious Enterococcus infections potentially unstoppable.

“Antibiotic resistant genes from VRE.have been transferred to Staphylococcus Aureus in the laboratory. If such resistance occurs in nature, or the Japanese strain [VISA] behaves like the multi resistant S. aureus, then a spread throughout the world may occur over the next ten years putting treatment of S.aureus back where it was before antibiotics were first discovered.”

JETACAR, 1999.

Then there’s the bacteria that causes those nasty common problems like middle ear infection, sinusitis, bronchitis and life threatening pneumonia. Streptococcus pneumoniae spreads through respiratory droplets and can also cause meningitis and septicaemia. It’s been evolving resistance around the world and Australia’s catching up. At least half of Australia’s strains are resistant to one antibiotic and a third are resistant to 3 or 4 antibiotics. Given the large numbers of people who suffer infections caused by Streptococcus it is, in one sense, much more important than VRE or Golden Staph.

There is also some concern in Australia about Haemophilus influenzae. Also passed on through respiratory droplets, it causes bacterial meningitis, middle ear infection, sinusitis and bronchitis – not influenza as its name might suggest. There is now a successful vaccine for bacterial meningitis but about 25 percent of Haemophilus influenzae resist the most commonly used antibiotic. Very little multi-resistance has been identified at this stage.

Then there are the sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhoea has become more and more resistant to antibiotics since the Vietnam War. It now resists penicillin, tetracyclines and the newest groups of antibiotics.

Probably the most common bacterium is Escherichia coli commonly known as E-coli. It can cause gastroenteritis, haemorrhagic colitis or urinary and genital tract infections. Its resistance is very high and getting worse. 50 percent of Australian strains resist the most commonly used cure, Amoxycillin.

On the international front, Campylobacter, which causes gastroenteritis and is passed on through animals, is showing resistance to a class of antibiotics called quinolones. Like Salmonella, which is also showing resistance, it comes from food and water. Antiobiotic-resistant Campylobacter is a big issue in Europe and the US especially in relation to the use of similar antibiotics in food producing animals.

Also of concern is the growing rise in multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis. Initially, these strains were seen only in HIV-infected patients but it has spread into the general community. It’s now at the stage where Australia’s state health departments have had to issue instructions to practitioners on treatment for multi-drug resistant TB.

“Overall, there are almost no bacteria where there is not resistance to more antibiotics then there were 10 or 15 years ago,” says Associate Professor Peter Collignon, Director of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology at the Canberra Hospital, Australian Capital Territory.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-02-28/superbugs-what-are-they-and-how-are-they-treated/8310556

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/07/19/more-1000-super-superbug-cases-last-year

http://time.com/4767683/bacteria-antibiotic-resistance-superbugs/

http://theconversation.com/how-common-are-superbugs-in-australia-and-what-do-we-do-when-the-antibiotics-dont-work-80318

Take care,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

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Health and Wellness Review: The New News on Probiotics.

Hello everyone,

You may have noticed alot of information and talk about probiotics and the microbiome on Nutrition Nourishment. That’s due to the advanced in medical research and studies providing us with valuable insight into the role of the gut microbiome environment in good health. Unfortunately we don’t know the best strains (and numbers) for health, but we do know they key to good health appears to be hosting a variety of different species of strains for a wide range eco-system. Some key players have been researched and found to possess powerful health fighting resources for our bodies and help manage chronic conditions, however, the research is still quite young. Heres the NEW news on probiotics!!

Probiotics – The Wonder Bugs!

The gut microbiota, which describes the microorganisms living and growing inside your digestive tract, is a hot topic right now! Exciting new research indicates, these microbes have a profound impact on the many aspects of your health and well-being. Taking probiotics (specific strains of beneficial bacteria) can positively influence these microorganisms and lead to improvements, not only in your digestive and immune health but the health of your whole body.

Is Your Gut Out of Balance?

An imbalance in the gut microbiota is linked to numerous health conditions, both within the gut and throughout the body. You may have experienced symptoms such as bloating, wind, abdominal pain and discomfort; signs of poor immunity (e.g. frequent colds and flus); or been plagued by allergies or skin conditions such as eczema. These may arise due to disturbances to the intricate balance of intestinal bacteria.

Many common lifestyle factors including alcohol consumption, medications (e.g. antibiotics), processed foods and stress can disrupt this delicate balance and lead to an increase in undesirable bacteria or deficiencies in beneficial bacteria. This imbalance has been associated with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), asthma and autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis). In these cases, probiotics can help to restore the correct balance of bacteria and ultimately reinstate health. It is more important than ever to support your gastrointestinal microbiota!

How Do Probiotics Work?

Specific probiotic strains help to rebuild the disrupted microbiota and act like policemen within the gut, restoring peace amongst the ‘citizens’ of the microbiota. Probiotics have a regulating effect on both disease-promoting and beneficial bacteria; undesirable bacteria are kept at minimal levels, meanwhile promoting growth of beneficial bacteria. This exciting new news is in contrast to earlier thoughts that probiotics repopulated the gut by directly replacing any bad bugs living there. Instead, probiotics help to restore the numbers and types of beneficial bacteria unique to you; rebuilding a healthy and diverse community of beneficial microbiota, and enabling them to function at their best, so you too can feel your best!

The Correct Strains at the Right Dose

There can be significant variation between probiotic strains. Different strains not only have different actions in your body, but also deliver different health benefits. Additionally, different doses of the same strain can have varying effects in the body. Your Practitioner can tailor your treatment by selecting specific probiotic strains at the right dose to address your individual health concerns. These may include:

  • Bifidobacterium animalis ssp lactis (BB-12®) – This super strain assists in rebuilding the gut microbiota, and helps to rebalance bacteria after a course of antibiotics.
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG®) – Commonly referred to as LGG®, this probiotic strain helps to regulate immune function, and in doing so may be useful for the treatment of autoimmune conditions, allergies, and eczema.

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Probiotic Protection

Appropriate probiotic storage is of utmost importance to ensure the bacteria remain live, strong and healthy – essentially in a healthy state to restore your healthy state. In nearly all instances, probiotics must be stored at stable temperatures within the fridge to keep them live and active. The only exception is when they are protected by PROTECTAIR™ technology as this has been shown to minimise moisture levels (moisture ‘activates’ probiotics, which you don’t want to happen until they are in your body!). This technology has been developed to allow certain probiotic strains to remain out of the fridge for a set period of time, while still remaining stable and effective, so you get results.

Practitioner Recommended Probiotics Are Best

It is essential to source your probiotics based on the recommendation of a qualified Natural Health Practitioner. This ensures that the formula contains the correct strains at the right dosage and combination to address your specific health needs. A Practitioner prescribed probiotic will provide high strength, therapeutic doses of bacteria that will be beneficial for managing your health. Restore peace and balance amongst the ‘citizens’ of your marvellous microbiota!

As Always,

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.

Smart Snacking: Bring Some Balance into Your Diet.

Hello everyone,

The most common complaints I have in clinic are people struggling with energy levels, especially in the afternoon. It all comes down to balancing macronutrients during meals, and smart snacking. Finding some quick, easy and affordable snack options to keep energy levels high, blood sugar balanced and hunger at bay is easy with a little inspiration. Protein-rich, nutrient-filled snacks like the ones below can be a great way of bumping up your nutrition intake for the day – and are a delicious excuse to take a break from study and have a little down time. Some other great examples are:

  • Raw almonds/nuts/seeds
  • Dates filled with nut butter
  • Brown rice cakes with almond butter and cinnamon
  • Veggie sticks (carrot, celery) with hummus
  • Green apple smeared with peanut butter

I’d love to hear any of your go-to snack ideas too!

Simple Snacks

Greek Yoghurt, Cinnamon and Nuts

Simple as that. Just add a sprinkle of cinnamon to a few spoonfuls of Greek Yoghurt, top with any nuts or seeds you have (I love buckinis and walnuts!) and enjoy! Add some berries for an extra Vit-C and antioxidant hit! We also have a couple of homemade granola options in the  “breakfast” recipes section on our website.

Here’s a simple example: 

Mix together: 2 C Organic Steel-Cut Oats, 3/4 C Coconut Flakes, 1/2 C Chopped Almonds, 1/2 C Chopped Walnuts, 1 tsp Cinnamon Spice, 1/2 tsp Nutmeg/allspice, ½ tsp cardamon, 2 Tsp Chia Seeds, 4 Tsp organic virgin pressed coconut oil, Melted, 1/2 C Maple Syrup/Rice-Malt Syrup, 1 tsp vanilla. Optional: Dried cranberries/apricots. Pour the granola mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into an even layer to ensure an even roasting. Bake for 30 minutes or until granola is a nice golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure an even bake.

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Healthy Sweet Potato Wedges

First things first, preheat your oven to 180°! You want it nice and hot so the wedges go extra crispy. Just cut your sweet potato into chunks, arrange on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper or some cumin if you feel like spicing things up! Place in the oven and 30-35 minutes later you’ll have some perfectly cooked sweet potato wedges.

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Bliss balls

Bliss balls are the best grab-and-go snack – make a batch for yourself today and you’ll be set for the week! These Almond butter and Protein Bliss balls are perfect for regulating your blood sugar levels and providing a healthy boost of good fats! Yum!

Here’s a simple example:

Add to food processor: 2 scoops vanilla protein (any pea/rice, organic variety), 1 tbsp almond butter, 2 tsp maple syrup, 2-3 dates (pitted), 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 1 tbsp coconut flour, pinch of sea salt, 1/4 cup of water. Process until ingredients start to bind together. Roll into balls and top with extra almond butter and cinnamon.

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Smoothies

Smoothies are another easy snack option. Just blend up some easy-to-find, pantry-staple ingredients and pour into a glass – or jar!

Everyone’s Favourite: 

SUPER CHOC BANANA BERRY SMOOTHIE – SERVES 1

This sweet, chocolatey, berry goodness will make you feel as though your having a cheat day, however your body will thank you for the high intake of nutrients, and antioxidant-rich superfoods. This will aid your body to fight free-radical, remove toxins, detox, and rebuild. 

Ingredients:

1 Frozen Banana

Handful Mixed Berries

2-4 Pitted Medjool Dates

1-2 tsp Cacao Powder

1 tsp Chia seeds

1 tsp Maca Powder

1 tsp Beetroot powder

1 Tsp of Goji Berries

½ Avocado

2C milk of choice (Soy, Almond, Coconut)

Handful Ice

 

Method:

Blend all ingredients together to form a smooth consistency. Enjoy!

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Don’t forget to check out all the recipes available for free on the website for some more delicious inspiration!

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment

Osteoporosis: Health Protocols for Long-Term Management

Hello everyone,

Osteoporosis is the result of demineralisation of bone tissue, resulting in the bones becoming fragile and an increase in fracture risk. Osteopenia is the beginning stage of this process. Risk factors include genetics, lifestyle issues (diet, smoking, alcohol, physical activity), hormonal status and certain prescription medicines. Bone remodelling is the process of bone resorption (breakdown) and bone formation. Understanding how this biochemical process works is the key to preventing and reversing osteopenia and osteoporosis.

This disease serves as a classic example of two key concepts – 1) the body doing exactly what it is supposed to do based on the stimuli we give it from the outside world, and 2) Western Medicine asking the wrong question when trying to determine how to treat it. The gold standard test to diagnose and mark progress in treatment of osteopenia and osteoporosis is the DEXA scan, which measures bone density. Other tests that some practitioners will use measure the results of bone breakdown in urine; this test may be more helpful in determining any benefit from treatment quicker than waiting a year or two for results to be evident from a DEXA scan.

The idea that osteopenia and osteoporosis are the sole result of a lack of calcium is likely terribly misguided. There are a host of minerals and nutrients that are required for the body to make bone properly; including magnesium, vitamin D, boron, strontium, vitamin K, and others. Calcium may be the one that you are least likely to be deficient in. But there are two other vital considerations that need to be addressed to properly and permanently treat or reverse bone loss. The first is weight-bearing exercise. It is through stressing the bones by lifting things that tells the body to make those bones stronger and more flexible. This is how you encourage bone building.

The second is how acidic the body is as a result of diet and other lifestyle factors. If the body is too acidic, the only choice is for the body to “borrow” minerals from the bones (a store of minerals) to buffer the excess acid. These three concerns are the reason why we have such a prevalence of loss of bone mass in this country – lack of bone building nutrients, lack of weight-bearing exercise and over-acidifying diets and lifestyles!

Juices-detox

A alkalising diet includes a variety of colours and fresh foods to help balance phase I and Phase II detoxification pathways in the body. Aiding to eliminate toxins form the body. In turn, reducing inflammation and providing nutrients for bone remodelling. 

Diet

The diet is one of the keys to preventing and treating decreased bone density… and it isn’t just about getting the minerals from the diet; it is also about how acidifying a person’s diet is, and making adjustments if necessary. Even though I feel that we should strive to get as many minerals and nutrients that we can from our diet, I think that most people with bone density concerns will need to supplement with a proper bone mineral formula. Of course, eating as many fresh fruits and vegetables is always a good idea, especially for someone with osteopenia or osteoporosis. Green leafy vegetables, in particular, offer minerals and vitamin K.

The reason for this is two-fold. You will get vitamins and minerals from those foods – but more importantly, you will be helping to alkalinise your system with those fruits and vegetables. And this is the part that is often missed or not respected enough when it comes to preventing and treating bone density problems. When the body is too acidic, it must steal minerals from the bones to buffer things.

These are the foods that will acidify your body…

  • Animal proteins
  • Grains
  • Sugar, including artificial sweetners
  • Sodas
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

Foods that alkalinise your body are…

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • whole grains

It is interesting to note that the “nature” of a particular food does not necessarily translate into the effect that it will have on your acid/base balance. An example of this is pineapple, which is very acidic, but one of the more alkalising foods for your body. The general rule of thumb is that all fruits and vegetables are alkalinising.

This does not mean that you have to be a vegetarian to fight bone density loss – but it does mean that you have to properly balance the acidifying foods with enough alkalinising foods to create the environment where you are not stealing minerals from your bones.

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Lifestyle

Lifestyle considerations, other than diet, are key to prevention and treatment of bone loss.

Weight-bearing exercise is vital! It is through the process of “stressing” the bones by lifting things that instructs the body to make those bones stronger and more flexible. And studies have shown that weight lifting that targets specific areas do help those areas more. With osteopenia and osteoporosis, we are mostly concerned about the hips and the spine. So, doing weight lifting that targets those areas will net the most useful gains. If you are new to the practice of lifting weights, I recommend that you work with a certified trainer to help make sure that you use good technique so you don’t risk injury.

I know this seems obvious these days, and this really shouldn’t have to be mentioned… smoking is probably the single most harmful habit that you can have that negatively affects every single aspect of the body and it’s function – and it is also true with osteoporosis. Please, if you smoke, put all of your efforts and resources into quitting… then you can work on other things.

Alcohol is also a factor in two ways. It is very acidifying to the system; thus causing the need to steal minerals from the bones. It is also a factor in leading to falls, which can lead to fractures in someone with lower bone density.

Stress can also be a factor. When under stress the body uses progesterone to make cortisol, the hormone of stress. This can then lead to hormonal imbalances that can affect bone density. Progesterone is the hormone that encourages bone building. Low progesterone levels can cause a shift in the balance of bone remodelling towards the breakdown of bone.

There are certain prescription and over-the-counter medicines that can affect bone density. The whole class of drugs that decrease stomach acid (antacids, H-2 inhibitors, Proton-pump inhibitors) make it harder to absorb minerals like calcium. Also, steroids like prednisone are known to contribute to decreased bone density. People on these medicines need to be extra vigilant with the diets, exercise regimens and bone mineral supplements.

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Nutrition nourishment is all about health and wellbeing in a holistic lifestyle approach. We advocate Integrative medicine

Key Nutrients

Calcium: Essential role in bone mineralisation.

Glucosamine: Inhibits inflammatory cytokines.

Vitamin C: Required both structurally and functionally in the management of oestoarthritis. Essential role in the synthesis of collagen, acts as an antioxidant, protecting against effects of oxidative damage.

EFAs: Essential fatty acids. Reduce excessive prostagladins in the body, which are involved in inflammatory processes in the body.

Chondroitin: inhibits inflammatory cytokines and increases bone mineralisation and repair.

Vitamin D: May help prevent against cartilage loss, maintains bone formation.

Zinc: Helps maintain connective tissues and offers antioxidant protection in synovial fluid to prevent joint damages.

Vitamin E: Antioxidant, protects against oxidative damage.

*Disclaimer: This article should be used as a reference guide ONLY. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you experience any symptoms of pain.  Never self-diagnose as it can be dangerous, causing unwanted side effects and possibly cause chronic conditions. 

Healthiest Regards,

Tegan, Nutrition Nourishment.