When antibiotics were first discovered in the 1940s, it marked the beginning of a new era that seemed to signal the end of infectious disease. Doctors became quick to prescribe these germ-killing drugs to stop and even prevent infections.
But the golden era of antibiotics has come to an end. Not only does this indiscriminate prescribing contribute to the formation of scary “superbugs” (antibiotic-resistant bacteria); it also poses other health dangers including harm to your bones.
Unfortunately, the Medical Establishment seems to blatantly ignore this. According to a recently published study…
Antibiotics are Still Prescribed Unnecessarily
It turns out that most sore throats and bronchitis will resolve on their own with plenty of rest and fluids. Yet a recent study shows that most patients with sore throats or bronchitis are still walking out of the hospital or doctor’s office with a prescription for an antibiotic (more on the study later).
“We know that antibiotic prescribing, particularly to patients who are not likely to benefit from it, increases the prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, a growing concern both here in the United States and around the world,”1 says Dr. Jeffrey A. Linder, a physician, researcher and study author on the persistence of unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.
What Sorts of “Adverse Effects” Do Antibiotics Cause?
It’s worth pointing out that “antibiotic” means “anti-life.” Scientists and consumers heretofore thought that antibiotic drugs kill only the “bad” germs, leaving human tissue intact. But this is not the case.
First, the medical community figured out that antibiotics were killing off healthy intestinal bacteria in addition to killing pathogens. Now, as a study just published this past summer shows, we are coming to realize that antibiotics damage “life” on more alarming levels.
New Study: Antibiotics Cause Oxidative Stress in Human Cells, Which Accelerates Bone Loss
Over the years, reports of side effects in those taking antibiotics have accumulated enough for scientists to take notice. From tendonitis to hearing loss to kidney dysfunction, some alarming effects of indiscriminate antibiotic use have surfaced.
A study conducted by researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, published in October of this year, built on their previous research and showed that antibiotics kill bacteria by triggering oxidative stress. They discovered that antibiotics trigger oxidative stress in mitochondria as well.
Mitochondria are organelles, tiny organ-like structures that reside within your cells and produce energy. Mitochondria are not unlike bacteria, which may be why antibiotics can damage them.
In the study, human cells were exposed to 3 antibiotic levels: ciprofloxacin, ampicillin, and kanamycin. For the first 6 hours of exposure, there was no harmful effect observed. But after approximately 4 days, the researchers discovered something disturbing: the antibiotics had actually damaged the cells’ DNA via oxidative stress.2
“Doctors should only prescribe antibiotics when they’re called for,” comments study leader Jim Collins, PhD, “and patients should only ask for antibiotics when they have a serious bacterial infection.”2
Antibiotics Cause Harm to Your Body and Your Bones
This same group of researchers studied the effects of long-term antibiotic use in mice, giving them doses comparable to the average prescribed human dose. Sure enough, the mice’s levels of glutathione – sometimes called the “Master Antioxidant” – dropped significantly, signifying oxidative stress.
Antioxidants to the Rescue
The Harvard scientists discovered what Savers already know: antioxidants prevent the oxidative damage that is so harmful to human cells and DNA. Glutathione is of particular importance among antioxidants, and here’s why.
Oxidative damage is caused by free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules which are by-products of cellular respiration. They are highly unstable because they’re missing an electron in their molecular structure.
Glutathione (or GSH) is called the Master Antioxidant because it has an amazing ability to “donate” an electron to unstable molecules like free radicals without becoming unstable itself, thereby neutralizing the free radical and stopping the cycle.
As the research above shows, when GSH levels get low, oxidative toxicity occurs.
How to get More GSH
You may be wondering if you should try to find GSH supplements to boost your levels of this Master Antioxidant. But a better idea is to eat foods that contain the building blocks of GSH. I’ll explain.
GSH is a tripeptide, a protein chain consisting of 3 amino acids: glutamic acid, glycine, and cysteine. Your body makes its own GSH from these components, so it makes sense to give it the “building materials” it needs. Here are some foods that boost production of GSH in the body:
- Foods high in Vitamin C (Vitamin C itself promotes GSH production)
- Whey (we’ll discuss whey in more detail below)
Warning: Popular Antibiotics Contain Fluoride
One of the most commonly prescribed forms of antibiotics, fluoroquinolones, contain fluoride. Two popular fluoroquinolones, Cipro and Levaquin, became well-known shortly after 9/11/2001, when many people were afraid of anthrax. Others include ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and other “floxacins.”
Fluoroquinolones should only be used for serious, potentially deadly bacterial infections, because they can really cause harm. You see, these antibiotics can pass through the blood-brain barrier where they can cause direct damage to your nervous system. They also cause widespread side effects such as retinal detachment and resulting blindness, hallucinations, kidney failure, malaise, anxiety, and depression (to name a few). In fact, these drugs are so toxic that their boxes are festooned with black box warnings.
Fluoride is very harmful to bones. Extensive studies, such as those cited in The Missing Link which is part of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, make a clear case for fluoride’s role in increased fracture risk. In addition, ingesting fluoride can negatively affect kidney and liver function. There is also research suggesting that fluoride inhibits the immune system. So that’s a double whammy, because…
All Antibiotics Suppress and Damage the Immune System
This is so ironic – the very drugs that are supposed to help the body fight off infection in fact compromise the body’s own defenses. But it makes sense when you consider that 80% of the human immune system is located in the digestive tract, and is composed of millions of “good” bacteria. When antibiotics kill off the good microbes, they leave your immune system weakened and imbalanced.
Are All Antibiotics Equally Bad?
In the Wyss Institute study, the researchers discovered not only the power of antioxidants in preventing antibiotic-induced damage; they also found that a certain class of antibiotics known as bacteriostatics are the least harmful.
The reason is because bacteriostatics don’t kill bacteria; they just stop them from multiplying. Bacteriostatics include the following:
You Should Only Take Antibiotics if Absolutely Necessary
It only makes sense for informed consumers to cut back on antibiotic use, even if doctors won’t decrease their prescriptions. If your doctor prescribes an antibiotic, find out the name and avoid fluoroquinolones as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask for bacteriostatic options.
Another question you can ask your doctor is just how urgent it is that you start the antibiotics right away. If possible, see if you can wait and try some natural solutions first, such as bee propolis.
Prevention is best, of course. Here are some tips for strengthening your immune system so you don’t end up in the doctor’s office to begin with.
Natural Immune-Strengthening Strategies
As you might expect, what you eat has a lot to do with the health of your immune system (remember, most of our immune system is in the digestive tract). There are other important proactive steps you can take to keep your “fighter cells” going strong. Such as…
- Avoid sugar – it not only harms your bones, but it suppresses your immune system, too.
- Take Vitamin C and Vitamin D, which are both Foundation Supplements as described in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. These vitamins work together, so if you’re taking more Vitamin C, you’re helping your body metabolize Vitamin D as well.
- Consider drinking whey protein – it contains the amino acids that build glutiathone (especially cysteine), as well as lactoferrin. Lactoferrin reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system, and protects against pathogens.
- Eat Immune-boosting foods, such as mushrooms, asparagus, and apples.
- Exercise regularly to boost immunity. Recent research has shown a striking connection between exercise and the immune system. And you don’t have to exercise with a hardcore workout. You can actually improve your immunity and strengthen your bones in just 15 minutes a day with an exercise program such as Densercise™.
‘Till next time,
1 Barnett, Michael L. and Linder, Jeffrey A. “Antibiotic Prescribing to Adults With Sore Throat in the United States, 1997-2010.” JAMA Internal Medicine. 3 October 2013; DOI:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11673.
2 Kalghatgi, Sameer, Collins et al. “Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells.” Science Translational Medicine. 3 July 2013 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3006055
Comments on this article are closed.
For two years I took seven antibiotics a day. Clarithromycin 3, rifampin two, and ethromycin 2. At the end of those two tears X-rays showed no further signs of the MAI infection. The ending year was 2012. This past week my pulmonary Dr informed me that the MAI infection returned although not as before. He wants me to repeat the same medications as before. I am afraid of what these may do to my bones and immune system. My wife says my left leg is smaller than my right. She thinks the above antibiotics and socor (a statin I took for a few years may have caused my left leg condition). Can you comment on this situation? Thanks, Horace
I was diagnosed with MAI bacterial infection in my lungs and have been taking three different antibiotics every week (3x a week) for 9 months now. I was instructed to not go off this plan until I have 12 months in a row of negative sputum tests. May was my first negative, which means I will be on antibiotics for an additional minimum of 9 more months. I have had many years of orthopedic issues prior to this. (fused spine in three levels to correct damage from spinal stenosis, photosynthesis, and three completely herniated discs. I also have had several knee surgeries and have arthritis in my knees as well as bone on bone problems after my miniscus surgery. I recently started having an increase in pain and type of pain in my knee that feels like its a bone issue. Is there a possibility that this latest change has been created by bone damage from long term antibiotic use? How exactly does antibiotics effect the bone and its strength? Right now it feels like a piece of bone by my knee has chipped off and is inflamed yet I have not had any accident or incident that I can attribute this shift to. I am scheduling an appt with my orthopedic dr to get a better idea of what is wrong but I am now more concerned about what damage I am doing by spending two years on massive doses of antibiotics. I feel like I am saving my lungs at the cost of losing my bones. Is that possible?
I am currently working in West Africa for the next two years and have decided to take my family off of doxycycline anti-malarials after reading this scary article. Lots of people get malaria, and some die, but for me and my family, Vivian knows what is right. The other anti-malarials had bad side effects, too. We will take our chances, even with my two and four year old kids. It seems like malaria can be cured, or treated, long term (and even SHORT term) antibiotic use is just too dangerous. THANK YOU VIVIAN!!!!!
What about vaccinations? Polio is big over here, naturally occurring polio. Should I tell parents that vaccinations are bad? Do vaccinations hurt bones? I am so confused!
I’m 95% sure I am positive I know what killed Glenn Frey because it killed me too, I’m just not dead yet! To Glen, I play bass guitar and live in Michigan and met you several times. RIP…….VUK
I and probably thousands, if not millions, of patients who were prescribed fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro, Levofloxacin, Levaquin, Avelox, and several others) also ended up with rheumatoid arthritis, many of us after the first pill. I often wonder about musicians and other celebs who suddenly become unable to perform and others who die while being treated for illness, if it was fluoroquinolones that caused their death. It does kill us, even tho we are still breathing, but we are fighting, trying to bring this to light, trying to save others from suffering the same fate.
I just realized I may have contributed to bone loss in my jawbone where my teeth are by going on a 14 day regimen of Xifaxan for SIBO. When I went to the dentist, he pointed out that in one year, my bone loss was so severe that about one quarter of the roots of my teeth were now exposed. I could feel the disintegration of my teeth, soon after taking the antibiotics. My gastroenterologist put me on another regimen of Xifaxan for SIBO, and the fourth day, I could feel my teeth wiggling, and my bones aching so badly it woke me up during the night. So today, I went off the antibiotics and haven’t felt the sensation all day, and feel much better. I am worried about taking them ever again. I hope I didn’t do permanent damage to the structure of my mouth and jaw. I could feel my palate loosening and moving as I ate, and my cheekbones and other bones aching.
Anitboitics saved my life.
Sure, antibiotics can save your life and that is when they should be used, when there is a confirmed bacterial infection, the bacteria should be tested for sensitivities, and the least harmful antibiotic should be prescribed. Instead, 1/3rd of RXs should never have been written because there was no infection, and in many many cases the most powerful antibiotics, fluoroquinolones, are used instead of the doc taking the time to culture the bacteria and determining which “least harmful” antibiotic will be effective. This has caused millions of patients/victims to develop multiple health issues, autoimmune disease, and many become disabled almost overnight. So, again, antibiotics are life savers, but used inappropriately they are causing long-term chronic disease in previously healthy people of all ages, from children to the elderly. This is a world-wide catastrophe that needs to be stopped.
I have been completely crippled for over six years now thanks to just TWELVE Cipro pills prescribed to me in 2009 for a suspected UTI/prostate infection (no bacteria was ever found; no safer antibiotic was ever attempted). I’m now 36 years old and live back with my parents, collecting SSDI since I’m no longer able to work. I used to be afraid of death, but pray for it on a daily basis now. I cannot even begin to describe to a ‘normal’ person the horrors I have been through and continue to go through every single minute of every single day as a result of those toxic pills. The worst part: Cipro didn’t even knock out my UTI/prostate pain. What ultimate did it was Trimethoprim, which I see here is one of the safest antibiotics. How awful to know that I was crippled for absolutely NO reason at all, and without informed consent–as most of what happened to me was (and still is) nowhere to be found on Cipro’s warning label. The side effects Bayer admits to with Cipro are only the tip of the ice burg. You have been warned!
I am horrified to read what happened to J from Cipro. I too have had huge health issues from just 9 pills of Cipro, including 2 partly ruptured tendons. In the past 9 months I’ve had 3 spontaneous fractures: not sure if it’s from the Cipro taken 2 1/2 years ago (which can continue to damage us months or years afterwards), the SSRIs, which can cause spontaneous fractures after long-term use by post-menopausal women (me), my chronic Lyme, or the 6 years of daily oral antibiotics I’ve been on to treat the Lyme. Not even my endocrinologist knows what’s going on. She’s tested me for every possible condition that can fracture bones, but all are negative. Vivian, I’m at my wit’s end about how to stop the fractures. I bought your program years ago and follow the advice, but am still breaking bones. 4 doctors have wanted to put me on bisphosphonates, but I’m still resisting. Can you help advise me here?
I strongly disagree with the fact that all bacteriostatics are least harmful..In my 15 years of medical practice i think the safest antibiotics are the betalactam antibiotics(in those not allergic to it).This include ampicillin, amoxicillin,penicillins and cephalosporins. They dont cause long term permanent side effects…next safest are the macrolides, azithromycin, roxithromycin and erythromycin. Rest all are toxic in different intensities..Trimethoprim causes life threatening pancreatitis, Sulfonamides cause steven johnsons very commonly, Chloramphenicol causes incurable deadly aplastic anemia due to which not used nowadays. Quinolones like ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and moxifloxacin especially are very toxic and cause a great range of irreversible side effects from tendonitis to acute liver failure….Many doctors dont know about these deadly quinolones and other deadly side effects of antibiotics. Its a big shame on them.
Thanks for weighing in, doctor. You are one of the few M.D.s I’ve heard of who knows exactly how dangerous fluoroquinolone anitibiotics like Cipro are. 9 pills severely damaged my health for more than a year after taking them, and may still be weakening my bones. Please keep spreading the word about the dangers of FQs. Please educate your colleagues! Many of them are clueless about the risks.
My question is concerning long term effects of antibiotics on bones in small children. My grand baby had septic arthritis in her knee joint at 6 weeks old. She had 4 knee surgeries and was treated with IV antibiotics for almost a month in the hospital and 4 weeks out of hospital because the infection turned out to be MRSA. She has since broken her right arm by the elbow at 17 months and fractured bones at wrist in other arm at 19 months. She has only fallen down while walking. Are there any studies out there that show a correlation between antibiotics and bone weakness in toddlers. We are totally confused by what’s going on with her. Thank you
Sherrill read this. It makes sense.
i read your articles,i been through severe elbow fracture at the age of 12.i almost lost my right ,cause my artery also broken and it was major bad time of my life ,but God amazingly rescued me.i was on strong antibiotics for almost a year and in later life i suffered so much other gut connected problem .but today i am blessed with good health and good bones.
thank you for you articles,
may God bless you
This Was A Great Article. You Really Did Your Research.
Keep Up The Wonderful Work You Are Doing!
LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)
Good article. Thanks Vivian, Enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and the answers.
My question. About 5 years ago, I had a hip replacement. Since than, I,ve been told to take antibiotics before having dental work done as any infection that could be introduced by the dental work could affect the hip area. Should I keep listening to the dentist and the bone doctor? The dentist would probably refuse to do any work if I refuse the medication.
Antibiotic overuse and misuse is just one more reason to stay away from vaccines. Most vaccines have antibiotics added to the long list of other toxic ingredients.
Thank you for this and all your articles!
I was wondering about doxycycline, while we’re on the subject
I was reading last night on another site about the need to use alkaline water for your health. Just what is it and is distilled water better or the same? I couldn’t fine any real answer to that question.
I’ve been on the diet you have discussed, and have performed some of the exs daily, and my osteoporosis after 2 yrs has stayed basically the same. I am very frustrated. I am a PT. My weight bearing has been decreased, because I am in the pool with patients approx 2-4 hrs per day. My L5 is -4.7 which blew me away. I compressed L1 12/20011. My spine is -3.7. What is wrong? I am a fighter, and I feel depressed.
Thank you for listening,
This a great article that talks about how oxidative stress affects our whole body, including our bones. There are over 200 chronic diseases tied to oxidative stress as the root cause. (Not that osteoporosis is a disease in and of itself, but boosting your antioxidants will help heal your body faster in addition to all of the other Save Our Bones recommendations.) If you go to pubmed.gov, and type in oxidative stress/osteoporosis, you will see the studies being conductive linking the two. There is a product that reduces your oxidative stress by 40% in 30 days with a 5 herb synergistic blend. It is a medical breakthrough product, there is none other like it on the market. Marti Willing talks about it in her new book ‘Intuitive Nutrition’ and the American Anti Cancer Institute recommends it now as one of their top 10 protocols when they are treating cancer. What it does for the human body is absolutely mind boggling! One of the things it does is boost your Glutathione levels by 300%! You can learn more about it at ABCliveit.com. Contact me if you have any further questions/I love this product and have added it to my own personal SAVE MY BONES regimen! Kristi 805-610-7712
Hi Kristi, thanks so much for taking the trouble to give us this info, I have just watched the vidio from the ABCliveit.com page very interesting, just where do you start there is such a lot of information from these cites. Will come back to you later I need more time on this.Thanks again Catherine. Manchester England
What is the name of this product? Thank you in advance for replying.
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Whenever I read these blogs, infos from Vivian – which are great, by the way! – I come across one toxin – fluoride! It makes me absolutely livid that our ‘almighty’ government doctors put fluoride into our drinking water in Australia, most parts of the country anyway. Aren’t they aware of all the research?! These doctors claim that fluoride prevents dental decay and its consumption is harmless. But what does it really do to our health?! What can a single person do to convince them otherwise? Everybody here, including little kids, drink our tap water. Bottled water is too expensive, especially when you drink so much in our tropical climate zones. Any ideas? The majority of the population is also totally oblivious of this problem; they just accept what the ‘authorities/doctors’ decide.
Can only hope for the better!!!
I know what you mean Trudy, thankfully i have my own tanks & drink rainwater, which I have done for most of my life, there is a movement here in West Australia trying to get the fluoride in our scheme water stopped.
I don’t really fancy bottled water either, all that plastic !!!
Hi Trudy, I understand where your coming from. I live in the south west of England and we have fluoride added to our water which is meant to protect our teeth. But like you I do wish they would leave it out. I don’t think that boiling the water makes any difference. Best to buy bottle water when you can.
It’s just too expensive to buy here. I used to when I still lived in Germany, but in our hot tropical climate in QLD/Australia you have to drink lots to keep hydrated. Governments just DON’T listen to ‘normal’ people!
I believe Long term use of Antibiotic to control MRSA infection is causing Bulging and Extrusion of my Spine /I am still on Doxyciclene 100mg 2 capsules per day for over 4 years ,need advice from Medical profficinal doctor specilized in MRSA infection