Antibiotics Linked to Breast Cancer, Crohn’s

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Two studies came out last month that cast an unhealthy shadow on
the overuse of antibiotics.

In a major study at the University of Washington, the use of
antibiotics was associated with an increased risk of breast
cancer. Earlier reports have suggested a link between antibiotics
and increased cancer risk.

When compared to women with no history of antibiotic use, women
with cumulative antibiotic use for 1 to 500 days had a 2.5-fold
increased risk of breast cancer. Increasing cumulative days of
antibiotic also increased the odds of dying from breast cancer.

In another study in the UK, researchers found that taking
antibiotics was associated with the subsequent development of
Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel condition. They surmised
that antibiotics, by interfering with the mix of normal bacteria
in the gastrointestinal tract, might be one of the contributors
to Crohn’s.

Antibiotics destroy the healthy balance between “good” and “bad”
microorganisms in your intestines, thus allowing pathogenic
organisms to multiply. This condition is called “dysbiosis”,
which leads to impaired absorption of nutrition, an altered
response by the immune system, and impaired ability to detoxify
unwanted substances. Published research has implicated intestinal
dysbiosis as contributing to vitamin B12 deficiency, irritable
bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune
arthropathies, colon and breast cancer, psoriasis, eczema, cystic
acne and chronic fatigue.

There is mounting evidence that antibiotics are overused, with
possible unhealthy consequences. One reason for the overuse is
that they are wrongly prescribed for colds, flu, or other viral
infections. Antibiotics have no effect on viral infections. If
you get a viral infection, please do not ask your MD for an
antibiotic. A more effective option is to use natural anti-viral
agents and other nutritional therapies that support optimal
immune function.
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SOURCE: Gut, Feb. 2004; JAMA, Feb. 18, 2004.