We live in a fantastic age. These days, we’ve got cures or treatments for all manner of illnesses and injuries. We’ve almost entirely eradicated diseases that used to kill us by the cart-load.
Science has done all that for us. I love science.
But just because we CAN fix something with pills, does that mean we SHOULD?
The answer most of the time is yes. Absolutely. But not always.
A huge problem can come into play if you’ve been prescribed multiple drugs from different specialists. If they don’t ask or realize other medications that you’re taking, they may prescribe you something that causes a drug interaction.
Other problems come into play with specialist doctors, as well.
Those of you following my blog may remember a few weeks back when I mentioned that I was taking low-dose antibiotics for my rosacea skin condition. It was affecting my digestion and just making me feel crummy.
I took a bunch of probiotics, drank a bunch of kombuchas (these were an absolute life saver), and started feeling better.
But now its been almost 3 weeks since I’ve lost any weight on this paleo diet. I was losing 2 pounds a week like clockwork for two months, then suddenly it stopped.
Now maybe this is just a coincidence, and it’s a plateau. But if it is, the timing of it is mighty suspicious, because it perfectly lined up with my digestion issues due to the antibiotics.
However, I really have no way of knowing for sure either way if it’s affecting things. So, I’m only going to count the statistics from my first two months of paleo and ignore this third month. I’ll keep eating paleo and finish reviewing my current meal plan (from the book Practical Paleo). But I’m no longer going to keep track of my weight for this portion of the nutritional experiment.
I apologize for the timing of this unfortunate set of circumstances. I’ve been dealing with rosacea and the acne-like breakouts associated with it for years. Topical ointments either didn’t help or I was allergic to them. I thought the low-dose antibiotics were a good idea.
Now I think I was wrong.
I think I was a tad foolish, even. I know the dangers of antibiotics and their overuse. But I figured these were “low-dose” antibiotics, so that must be okay, right? Surely that doesn’t affect your gut bacteria, or else doctors wouldn’t give it to people for something as harmless as a skin condition.
See? Foolish, right? Is a dermatologist going to give you antibiotics if it helps the very issue you’re there to see them for? Of course, they are. Their job isn’t your overall health. It’s to clear up your skin condition. Does it mess with your gut bacteria? You betcha! A good dermatologist may warn you about it. Others may assume you know the potential side effects and just prescribe it. Or think that you’ll read the two-to-three-page booklet you get when you pick it up at the pharmacist. Do you read all of those?
So, now I’m doing my research. Too little, too late. I know. According to a study published in Nature Microbiology, your gut bacteria will slowly recover over six months after taking antibiotics. But even at the end of that period, you may still be missing up to nine beneficial gut bacteria, which may be permanently eradicated from your gut microbiome.
Sure, in this study, they were given some mighty heavy antibiotics. But it suggests that multiple courses of antibiotics over your life may have the same effects.
And here I am taking them so that my skin is smoother and less red.
So, yeah. I’m going to stop taking the antibiotics, low-dose or not.
As if all that weren’t enough, one study done on mice found that those exposed to antibiotics gained twice as much weight as other mice on the same diet. So this seems to strongly suggest that the antibiotics may have interfered with my weight loss on a physical level.
And this study suggests that the antibiotics made me hungrier. They have a significant impact on the hunger hormone ghrelin, so I may have inadvertently eaten more than I had been previously. I’m not limiting my calories on paleo. It satiates you so well that you’re not meant to need to track calories. So my natural capacity to judge when I’m satisfied has been compromised by these pills.
Then I went and looked up how often I was going to need to take these low-dose antibiotics for my skin. I had a hard time finding how often a course of antibiotics was required, but it was clear that many people were taking them very long term. Six months for some. Years for others.
This woman said that she took antibiotics for five years because each time she tried to come off of them, her acne came back. When she finally stopped taking them, the acne returned worse than it had ever been before.
Just in case that wasn’t enough of a reason to stop prescribing them for skin conditions, there is, of course, the issue of creating superbugs.
Apparently, the FDA has recently approved a topical form of antibiotics for acne, which should be available for prescription in 2020. Clinical trials have so far not found any side effects for this other than headaches. But new drugs, even topical ones, are scary in their own right. Who knows what kind of long-term side effects they’ll have until they’ve been around long enough to be shown.
All this over a skin condition that I’ve been living and dealing with just fine for many years.
I think I’ll just wear makeup.
Those of you following my nutritional experiment, here’s the plan: I am going to stay paleo through the end of this year, focusing on foods that aid digestion and help repopulate gut bacteria. I will finish presenting my research on it to you all. I’ll also focus on a few side articles that I’ve been inspired to write regarding other aspects of “wellness.”
Then starting January 1st: Keto. That’s when I’ll start gathering statistics again.
Keto will be a great way to kick my weight loss back into gear, and I’m really itching to do research on it because it’s so popular these days. And I really want to see what my bloodwork looks like on it, as well.
In the meantime, paleo bloodwork will be coming soon. Let’s see if it helped my cholesterol like it was supposed to!
If you’re looking for help restoring your gut health, here’s some articles to help: