Antibiotics in Animal Products May Cause Drug Resistance in People

December 14th, 2010 by Dr. Keith Nemec

According to research people who eat drug-treated poultry may be at increased risk of developing antibiotic resistance.

At issue is the use of virginiamycin, an antibiotic used in farm animals to boost their growth.

The drug is banned in Europe, but farmers are allowed to use it in the United States.

Some studies have suggested that virginiamycin can cause germs in poultry to become super-powered, much as overuse of antibiotics in humans has made some people immune to certain drugs.

This phenomenon, known as drug resistance, happens when an antibiotic is used so often that germs mutate around it.

It’s possible for drug resistance to be spread through food. “When we consume food with organisms that have resistance genes, these genes can be transferred to our natural organisms, causing them to become drug-resistant,” explained Molly Marten, a clinical epidemiologist at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego who’s familiar with the study findings.

Researchers studied to see if people who certain animal products  treated with antibiotics would themselves become resistant to an antibiotic known as quinupristin-dalfopristin, or Synercid.

Synercid treats disease caused by Enterococcus faecium, germs that are normally found in the gut and can cause disease in some cases.
The illnesses caused by these germs are especially common in hospitals among patients whose immune systems are weakened.

The study authors looked for signs of drug resistance by looking at enterococcus bacteria found in stool samples from 105 newly hospitalized patients and 65 healthy vegetarians, all living in the Midwest.

They also looked for signs of drug-resistance in enterococcus bacteria found in 77 samples of ordinary animal products from retail stores and 23 samples of animal products raised without antibiotics.

The researchers said that “plenty” of drug-resistant enterococcus was found in animal products treated with antibiotics.
Furthermore, 38 percent of the hospitalized patients had a genetic trait that might make it easier for them to develop resistance to Synercid; none of the vegetarians had the trait.

Patients who ate the most animal products seemed most susceptible to developing immunity to the drug, as did those who touched the animal products.

“This research makes a strong case for limiting the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals,” added Marten, the epidemiologist. “By using antibiotics for strictly therapeutic purposes (such as treating an infection), rather than as a growth promoter, we will slow the emergence of drug-resistant organisms in human populations.”
-The Journal of Infectious Diseases, HealthDay

Dr. Keith and Laurie Nemecs comments on antibiotics and animal products may pose risk to humans.
The important thing that study showed was that as we put more and more antibiotics in the feed of animals for two purposes, one as the study showed was to boost their growth, the antibiotic actually acting as a growth stimulator. The second one antibiotics because of the way these animals are raised in such disease infested, closed cramped quarters, that they have to be on antibiotics regularly or they would forfeit a majority of their livestock. Interesting that one of the antibiotics used to boost the growth in the animals, virginiamycin, this drug was banned in Europe but farmers are allowed to use it in the United States. Makes you question how the United States sees these risks of medication to the long term health of the United States population. Also what it showed in this study was when people ate this food, that was antibiotic ridden, what they found was 38% of the hospitalized patients had a genetic trait that might make it easier for them to develop the resistance to these medications, but none of them were found in a vegetarian. Which means when a vegetarian, that does not eat animal products, is not eating these antibiotics that weakens the system and tends to lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria and other pathogens in the body.

So, they closed the article saying that the research makes a strong case for the limited use of antibiotics in food producing animals and only using antibiotics for therapeutic purposes such as treating an infection. There is even a problem with this. When they raise these chickens in such cramped quarters where they can hardly move, they are so tightly packed. They will always be diseased. Their bred for weakness, they are just bred to grow fast and to be slaughtered and to be harvested. So it is very important to understand if they use the antibiotics only for infection they will be using it on all of them because they all have disease. This is why animal products will always have antibiotic residue, you will be on antibiotics when you are eating animal products and this includes, meat, chicken, any type of livestock, beef, pork, any livestock at all will be filled with antibiotics. This also includes dairy products, milk, butter, cheese and yogurt. These all will have the same traces of antibiotics which make super strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria and this is what we’re finding this day and age. There are now emerging a type of bacteria that is antibiotic resistant because it has adapted that way because of the overuse and abuse of antibiotics. So the answer is first of all, not to pump the animals up with antibiotics to stimulate their growth and to get rid of infection.

The real answer is found in adopting a plant based diet as more of the world eats a plant based diet there will be less sickness and disease. There will be more health in the world and we won’t have to be dealing with the issues of pumping up animal products with hormones and antibiotics and quote “stimulating” antibiotics and medications, because we simply will not be eating them. The best steps to total health, to boost your immune system so that you can be the highest level of health in body, mind, emotions and spirit is the 7 Basic Steps to Total Health.

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