Antibiotics are defined as any chemotherapeutic substance designed to kill or hinder the growth of microscopic organisms. Doctors are taught to prescribe antibiotics when they suspect that a particular condition is being caused by a bacterial pathogen. Unfortunately, many doctors also prescribe antibiotics for conditions that caused by known viral pathogens, such the cold or bronchitis.
This is unfortunate not simply because of the expense involved or the possibly unpleasant side effects, but because it may wind up harming the immune system. The human immune system is actually a collection of defensive mechanisms against disease, and includes certain tissues, organs, cells, and enzymes. These elements work together to create a disease fighting system more powerful than anything medicine has yet to devise. Even the biggest breakthrough in fighting viruses in medical history, the vaccine, is simply a way to help the natural immune system do its job better.
Antibiotics are actually designed to help the immune system do its job, and it may even do that in the short term, but in the long term antibiotics actually suppress the immune system.
Firstly, medical antibiotics do not make the immune system stronger, they simply act a replacement for one of its functions: killing harmful bacteria. The immune system functions just like an organ or a muscle. When it is not put to use, it atrophies. So when an introduced agent does one its jobs, the immune system performs that job poorly once the agent leaves the body. This is why someone who takes antibiotics to cure a bacteria based disease may catch the same disease, only with more severe symptoms, at a later time.
Antibiotics also do not make the distinction between harmful bacteria and helpful bacteria and cells. They “throw the baby out with the bathwater” so to speak. Certain strains of bacteria in the digestive tract are essential to digest food and produce healthy vitamins. When these bacteria are killed off, it may lead to vitamin loss, diarrhea, parasitic infection, and the development of allergies.
Antibiotics, and in particular the over prescription of antibiotics, can create stronger strains of bacteria that even a healthy immune system is not prepared to fight. Throughout the history of biology, the evolution of bacteria, viruses, and hosts have more or less been in harmony. Every time a bacterium or virus became slowly stronger, immune systems have reacted by becoming stronger as well.
The introduction of antibiotics through a bit of a monkey wrench into this. As bacteria were killed much more rapidly, they evolved more quickly than the human immune system. This leads to “superbugs,” such as the staph bacterium MRSA, which is powerful it can turn deadly within just days.
As the little disputed harms of over prescribing ineffective antibiotics become more apparent, and information becomes more widespread, more and more doctors are becoming less willing to dole out antibiotic prescriptions as thoughtlessly as they used to. This is fortunate, as patients might find benefit in simply taking supplements to boost their immune system to fight bacteria and viruses, such as true colloidal silver.