Back story: 23 years old and I've had acne since starting High School. I've found the Paleo diet especially eliminating dairy to really help but I broke out really bad on earlier in the week (after eating some yogurt over the weekend, surprise) and my boss booked me an appointment with his dermatologist and wrote a check to pay for it. The doctor wrote a script for an antibiotic (amoxicillin) and an overpriced face cream. I bought the cream and I'm thinking I'll give it a shot for a month to appease my boss, even though I've tried other antibiotics to combat the acne (tetracyclin and bactrim).
Anyway, my question is: what sort of damage would 30 days of antibiotics do to my system/gut flora?
I thought I would chime in as I kind of feel for you as my situation used to be so much like yours! I am afraid I have not read the other posts as I do not have time.
Antibiotics - unless you have a life threatening situation - avoid them. I was on them for three years for acne and an infection of the kidney, they ruined my life. I turned to other antibiotic-like natural substances - Neem seed extract and Olive leaf extract, both very powerful. There are many others out there but these are the two I chose. They are clearing up my fungal infections as well as taking iodine (Lugol's) which is helping immensely.
Firstly some antibiotics are fluoride based, fluoride is poison, even more toxic than lead. It leads not only to thyroid problems, but also there is a double whammy here because fluoride destroys good bacteria not just in your gut but all over the body. Antibiotics are obviously highly permeable and will cross the blood brain barrier. Fluoride numbs the brain actually decreasing your IQ (Hitler used it in the war to subdue racial minorities). It is highly toxic to all tissues, pushing iodine (an essential element) out of the body. Really the list is endless to the bad things about fluoride. It is being blamed alongside many other chemicals and heavy metals added to water as a blatant inexcusable population control method.....but thats a whole new can of beans!
Antibiotics generally deteriorate the immune system by killing off the good bacteria in your gut and all over your body (there are hundreds of strains of good bacteria, just as there are hundreds of strains of bad bacteria) leading to not just candida infections but also parasitic infections and all other opportunistic infections. This can actually causes your gut to become over permeable due to the fact that the bad bacteria (whatever that might be candida or whatever) branching into your gut lining. This gradually causes all sorts of problems eventually leading to auto immunity (inflammation), and all the other diseases concerned with auto immunity. This includes food allergies - tiny pieces of food which would not normally pass through the the small intestine, will pass through into the blood stream. The immune system will recognize this as an invader and antibodies will be produced to attack the 'pathogen', the more you eat of the offending food the worse your allergy symptoms will get. A few of the worst offenders are wheat, dairy and yeast. This also happens to be things you would avoid on a Paleo diet. Saying that I eat yeast freely!(Bad me, but they don't cause me issues). Food allergy symptoms are like shopping lists and you could be suffering from any different number of symptoms which masquerade under other problems. I have heard many doctors calling candida and food allergies the 'great pretenders' because the symptoms are sometimes perceived to be related to something completely different. I am not saying food allergies are the causes of acne or any number of other problems but sometimes people notice their acne getting worse say after chocolate (dark or milk choc) or dairy or wheat etc....but it is up for argument if this is caused by the reaction of the immune system or because of some other element of any given food.
I must say that I have battled with acne for about 9 years and it wasn't the latest face cream or the latest or best cleanser etc that got me clear (apart from a few scars). Frankly a very basic organic, chemical free, gentle cleanser and face cream is all you need. Whether or not you decide to have an SPF in the cream is up to you, but I don't because remember that getting the sun on your face and body without sun screen is important too (plus you might get a nice colour, just don't burn!). Before you commit to anything like lasers or accutane which can be very expensive (not to mention sometimes dangerous) I would say you need to look at your load of heavy metals (mercury, aluminum, lead etc) and other toxic elements like fluoride, bromide, chlorine (the halides). All of these things can affect the skin in many ways (not to mention ruin the body in general) and everyone living in this modern society will have some of these in their bodys, it is inescapable. Heavy metals will decrease immunity leading to infection of any part of the body as will the halides. They will also increase inflammation of the body and therefore the skin (reddening, pussy white heads and blackheads, itching etc) by causing free radical reactions.
I had a urine and hair test test done sometime last year to test for heavy metal toxicity (mercury, lead etc) and another urine test for halides. Mercury was off the chart....barium, aluminum, lead were all high along with others. The halides were also high. I had serious sleep problems, fatigue, acne, depression, mood swings, food allergies, digestion problems...the list goes on. I had been on general multi vitamins for many years (vit c, multi vit-min etc) but after receiving the results I started a course of chelation under the supervision of my doctor, a holistic doctor I should mention. This involved taking a substance called DMSA (freely available OTC) which has a high affinity for heavy metals, it literally binds to them and they are excreted out of the body. Only trust a chelation agent that has more than one thiol (this is the method by which metals are bound)....cilantro (coriander) and any algae for instance are not chelators (they only have one thiol) they only redistribute heavy metals around the body, leading you to feel worse. I also starting taking large doses of iodine (Lugols) to get the other halides out of me.
Currently my burden of metals and halides has decreased dramatically and I am now dealing with heavy metal toxicity of the central nervous system (CNS). DMSA does not cross the blood brain barrier and therefore you need to look for something else. Alpha lipoic acid is the key to this. It is water and fat soluble meaning in freely enters the CNS. However chelation is hard on the body. I have experience in this but do not go on my advice, seek the help of a doctor, preferably not a mainstream doctor but someone who is aware of holistic medicine. Actually my doc is a GP who left the mainstream behind and is now one of the most forefront doctors on chronic illness!
I am completely free of acne and my other health problems are getting better day by day. I wish you all the best of luck and will stick around to answer any questions.
Here's me saying I didn't have enough time haha - look at that ^^.
I have been trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with my skin for about a year now, eliminating foods and supplementing to no avail, and then I tried Prosacea (a sulphur based face cream) and it started fading immediately. I started supplementing with MSM (a form of sulphur) taken together with Vitamin C and it has cleared up almost completely within a week. YMMV but I thought I'd throw it out there. I am amazed at how quickly and dramatically it cleared my skin. Maybe it could help you too. :-)
Knew a guy in high school that was told (by his dermatologist) to hit the tanning booth to nix his acne. Probably good on two levels: increased vitamin D and bactericidal action of UV.
I offer that anecdote as an alternative. Antibiotics really should be reserved for significant infections.
This article provides good info:
Antibiotics will kill bacteria without discrimination which is well worth the risk when you are dealing with a potentially life threatening situation, of which acne is, in my opionion, not. Your body can become increasingly resitant to antibiotics, leaving you needing ever increasing strengths, and potentially also leaving you without available options if a life threatening situation did arise. Antibiotics also tend to encourage a cycle of infection because of the fact that they are killing off "good" bacteria, leaving you with much less defense against future invasions. When choosing to do a round of antibiotics for life threatening situations or otherwise, it is always advised to do a round of probiotics, including plenty of probiotic whole foods as well as supplemental varieties. It sounds like the reason you've identified for this flair up is the dairy you ate, so perhaps your solution is as simple as not eating dairy?
Antibiotics for acne have been shown to be effective for only about half of the population, and produce only moderate results for that population. They tend to work for a short period of time because acne finds ways to "get used to" both oral and topical antibiotic treatments and become resistant to it.
I would consider alternatives to antibiotics, myself, including laser treatment. You may want to read up on "ClearLight Acne PhotoClearingTM (APCTM) technology." Before anybody chimes in: Obviously, neither antibiotics nor laser = Paleo.
First line of defense, I would say, is to get hip to foods known (or widely believed) to be acne producing, and experiment with abstaining. Also, educate yourself on your body's largest organ (skin) and what that organ requires for optimal functioning. Key: skin is a major organ of elimination of toxins and waste.
If you choose the antibiotic route, yes, by all means take care to restore flora afterwards. And keep the antibiotic regimen limited in time and scope. Remember that the prescribing of antibiotics is geared to a paradigm that tends not to entertain much by way of self doubt. As in: "What's the difference between a physician and God? Simple. God doesn't claim to be a physician."
Don't take 'em! I took antibiotics for acne for several years in the '90s and my health has yet to fully recover, even with the paleo diet, though I can't rule out other factors.
From Wired: "Graphed below is the diversity of gut bacteria from one important genus (Bacteroides) in a patient who took a weeklong course of clindamycin; different colors represent the different species. For nine months after exposure, the subject’s gut was left with nothing but one type, a clindamycin-resistant strain of Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron. Even two years out, the flora had not regained their former diversity." See the Wired chart called "Antibiotics = Microbiome Killer" at http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/mf_microbiome/
More: In a provocative editorial published this year in Nature, Martin Blaser of New York University’s Langone Medical Center argues that antibiotics’ impact on gut bacteria is permanent — and so serious in its long-term consequences that medicine should consider whether to restrict antibiotic prescribing to pregnant women and young children:
"Early evidence from my lab and others hints that, sometimes, our friendly flora never fully recover. These long-term changes to the beneficial bacteria within people’s bodies may even increase our susceptibility to infections and disease. Overuse of antibiotics could be fuelling the dramatic increase in conditions such as obesity, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, allergies and asthma, which have more than doubled in many populations."
And finally: Antibiotics: Connected to Obesity, Diabetes and Stroke? http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/11/antibiotic-use-connection/
I took antibiotics non-stop throughout high school in an attempt to combat my acne. Some would help a little for a few months, and several didn't work at all, so I tried many different antibiotics. I also had "irritable bowl syndrome" from about the age of 14 through my early 20's, and it wasn't until I developed an interest in natural health that I made the connection. I'm 31 now, and while I don't feel as terrible as I did then, I doubt that my gut flora will ever fully recover. If only I knew then what I...
I understand that you're thinking about a 30 day course and that my experience was different. However, if the antibiotic clears up your acne within 30 days, you'll probably be advised to stay on it, as you'll likely see the acne flare up again when you stop.
I suggest you continue to find other solutions for you acne. I've learned that dairy and sugar are two major triggers for me, as well as some topical treatments, my cell phone, taking naps with makeup on, etc.
I'd only go with antibiotics as a last resort. No, wait a minute, second-to-last resort. Accutane would be the last resort. Many people have reportedly had success with the "regimen" outlined on this site:
It's simple, you can use fairly cheap, over-the-counter stuff. It seems to me worth trying before you go the antibiotic route.
I would definitely check out Cordain's book on the paleo diet for acne before a month's course of antibiotics. That may help you tweak your paleo diet to make a real improvement.
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