Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Essential Oils May Replace Antibiotics

Reposted from Dr. Mercola


It's quite likely that whether you visit your doctor for back pain, anxiety or an ingrown toenail, you won't leave without a prescription of some kind. Cold and flu symptoms are among the most common reasons why people visit their doctors and, often, antibiotics are the go-to remedy. Repeatedly taking antibiotics causes major problems, however, as overuse of this type of medication, both in the health care setting and in industrial agriculture, has resulted in increased resistance.
In fact, every time you take antibiotics, your body builds resistance, they become less and less effective and, worse, any bacterium that survives the medication also builds resistance. One of the worst aspects of drug-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, is that an alarming number are found on the biofilm — a thin slimy surface substance — that forms on medical devices, including implants.
In one study, Mohan Jacob, head of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at James Cook University (JCU) in Queensland, Australia and his team of Ph.D. associates used nanotechnology to harness the power of antimicrobial molecules from plants to create antibacterial coatings. Their findings were recently published in Polymers.1 Jacob cites a recent study published in Microbial Biotechnology, which reported that approximately 17 million new biofilm infections are reported every year, leading to 550,000 fatalities.
In addition, about 80 percent of the surgery-associated infections worldwide may be associated with biofilm formation.2 That's why more doctors are turning to natural agents with antibacterial properties, such as tea tree oil, as studies show it may help prevent millions of infections every year. Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) is an essential oil that creates a bioactive coating to keep harmful bacteria from adhering to medical devices.

How a Bioactive Surface Is Made From an Essential Oil

In regard to the scientists' search for a way to turn plant compounds into bioactive coatings for medical devices to avoid having to rely on antibiotics, they used plant secondary metabolites, aka PSMs, of tea tree oil and its most important component, terpene-4-ol. Derived from essential oils and herb extracts, with relatively powerful broad-spectrum antibacterial activities, they're termed "secondary" as they're not vital to the plant's survival or function.
Jacob described them as a "low-cost renewable resource available in commercial quantities, with limited toxicity and, potentially, different mechanisms for fighting bacteria than synthetic antibiotics."3 But the biggest challenge Jacob and his team faced in developing antibacterial coatings from PSMs was converting the liquid state of the compounds into a solid without losing any of their antibacterial nature.
Medical News Today notes that scientists have used nanotechnology for this purpose for several years. Kateryna Bazaka, an adjunct senior research fellow at JCU and the study's coauthor, explained the scientists' procedure in creating polymers is somewhat like naturally occurring rubber and cellulose to make a resistant, "chain-like structure," in this case converting the PSMs of tea tree oil. She noted:
"We used plasma-enhanced techniques within a reactor containing the essential oil vapors. When the vapors are exposed to a glow discharge, they are transformed and settle on the surface of an implant as a solid biologically active coating."4

Essential Oils for Medical Device Polymers and Beyond

Plasma polymerization of this sort has been in use to create biological activity on surfaces for about 20 years. In the 2010 version of the "Handbook of Deposition Technologies for Films and Coatings," one scientist explained that plasma is the "fourth state of matter, consisting largely of ionized gas which maintains overall electrical neutrality."5
One reason the plasma technique is so effective for this kind of plant conversion is that it's environmentally friendly; no potentially harmful chemicals or solvents are used in the process that might remain in the coating or damage surfaces the coating is applied to. The upshot is that if tea tree oil can be converted to protect the surfaces of medical devices, millions of infections may be prevented every year.
According to Jacob, after publishing more than 70 research articles and six Ph.D. theses on the topic, the scientists involved in the project are bona fide pioneers in the world's development of bioactive polymers from plant compounds. But the concept has been extended. Because the thin polymer coatings are visually transparent, they're being tapped for coating contact lenses, as well as for optical windows in aquatic sensors.
Specifically, Jacob and his team are targeting biofilm growth on failing aquatic sensors due to marine organisms, working with Peter Mulvey and associate professor Jeff Warner at the JCU-based Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine. Controlled Environments notes:
"Even though synthetic antibiotics have been the best weapon for eradicating microbial infections since the arrival of penicillin, the overuse of these medications is gradually rendering them ineffective. Scientists think that if new strategies are not developed soon, medical treatments could retreat to the era where slight injuries and common infections develop into serious medical problems."6

Antibiotic Resistance Doesn't Stop There

Significantly, Cyril Gay, senior national program leader at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Research Service, contends that losing the reliance on antibiotics due to the growing instances of antibiotic resistance is one of the most challenging problems faced by the medical profession in the 21st century. One case in point, Cari Romm reported in 20147 that livestock consumes as much as 80 percent of the antibiotics used in the U.S.
Between 2009 and 2012, that number increased by 16 percent, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).8 The trouble is, antibiotics are used on humans as well; about 70 percent of those used on farm animals are deemed "medically important" for humans. In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that antibiotic resistance in the U.S. caused more than 2 million illnesses and an estimated 23,000 deaths,9 which resulted in an extra $20 billion in health care costs.10
Experts in the U.K. expect the problem to only get worse, as a 2014 report projects that more than 10 million deaths will be attributed to drug-resistant microbes by the year 2050.11
The reason livestock are treated with those kinds of drugs is explained by yet another FDA report12 asserting that farmers and food manufacturers rely on them not just for infections but to speed growth and girth for the marketplace, and as a sort of go-to remedy for the many infections livestock incur in cooped-up and unsanitary conditions, now known as concentrated animal feeding operations or CAFOs.
Stuart B. Levy, hematologist and professor at Tufts University and author of the book "The Antibiotic Paradox: How the Misuse of Antibiotics Destroys Their Curative Powers," has been deeply concerned about the impact that is looming due to the overuse of antibiotics. His study in 197613 noted that chickens began developing resistant bacteria in their guts from the antibiotic tetracycline within a week.
It's unnerving to hear the rest of the story: The resistant bacteria became resistant to other antibiotics the chickens hadn't even consumed, and months later, the illnesses spread to untreated chickens and even to the farmers. According to Levy, "Resistance doesn't stay in that environment, and resistance is transferrable among bacteria of different types."14

Essential Oils: The New Antibiotics

Levy believes the lobby for continued antibiotic use is so strong that it's difficult for wiser voices to get legislation to change. Farmers still insist that drugs are their only choice to combat infection on their farms, so the problem is ongoing. The Atlantic asks:
"What's being done to confront this major contributor to this obvious, growing world health threat? The FDA has asked those in the agricultural industry to voluntarily reduce their use of antibiotics, but no one is keeping track of whether they do (nor has there been a record of the antibiotic use all these decades)."15
The key is to get farmers to see viable alternatives. Studies show that essential oils may exert greater power against infection than many realize. Here are several examples of how essential oils have been found extremely powerful for dealing with bacterial infections:
  • One study found that chickens eating feed with oregano oil added had a 59 percent lower mortality rate due to ascites, a common infection in poultry, compared with untreated chickens.16
  • Rosemary and oregano oils brought about the same growth rate in chickens as the antibiotic avilamycin.17
  • Other essential oils killed bacteria and helped reduce salmonella in chickens.18
  • A blend of oils can help keep salmonella from spreading between animals.19
  • Extracts from oregano, cinnamon and chili peppers helped chickens with weight gain and protection against an injected intestinal infection.20
So tea tree oil isn't the only type of essential oil studied for antibacterial potential. Drug-resistant bacteria have caused farmers as well as scientists to take a closer look at plant extracts for both people and animals. Usually associated with the scent of candles or body lotions, they're also used in products used for pest control and over-the-counter medications. The Atlantic notes:
"They're used in the food industry because of their preservative potency against foodborne pathogens — thanks to their antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Various oils have also been shown to effectively treat a wide range of common health issues such as nausea and migraines, and a rapidly growing body of research is finding that they are powerful enough to kill human cancer cells of the breast, colon, mouth, skin and more."21

Why Taking Antibiotics Wreaks Havoc in Your System

Resilient bacteria that survive can even pass that ability to resist antibiotics to other bacteria. One big problem with relying on antibiotics (by both doctors and their patients) is that it radically affects the rate it takes place, as well as the degree the resistance occurs. One thing you may not realize is that, while antibiotics are busy killing off bad bacteria that cause and prolong certain infections, they nail the good bacteria, too.
If you've heard of "good bacteria," they are what your body needs to maintain health and fight toxins naturally. When they're killed, your system is left vulnerable to all kinds of other physical problems. Are the antibiotics in the meat you eat harmful? Answer: Yes. As previously noted, the agriculture industry is responsible for 70 percent of all the antibiotics used in the U.S., which means the other 30 percent is used by humans. According to Daily Health Post:
"As the bacteria grow stronger and are no longer resistant to antibiotics, these once life-saving drugs will no longer be of any help. Minor infections will run rampant with no way to stop them. It will be like living in the Middle Ages when even a small cut could end up killing you."22
Doctors sometimes advise their patients that if they decide to take an antibiotic, to follow it with a good probiotic to make up for the damage. This is good advice (I recommend taking a high-quality probiotic both during and following antibiotic treatment); however, it's better to avoid antibiotics in the first place unless they're absolutely necessary. Even if you're not in the habit of taking antibiotics, there are other ways they can end up in your system. So what can you do? Here's a list of some healthy alternatives:
  • Consume only organic, grass fed meat and dairy products as often as possible.
  • Take an antibiotic only when absolutely necessary. Find a doctor who's aware of the issue and will only prescribe antibiotics when needed.
  • Improve and build your immune system and gut bacteria naturally.
  • Consider getting to know the properties in essential oils such as tea tree oil and others.
  • Consume fermented foods regularly.

Think Alternatively for Your Health

It's amazing how nature is already equipped to help you stay healthy and alternatively, deal with symptoms of disease naturally rather than resorting to drugs. One study, titled "Essential Oils, A New Horizon in Combating Bacterial Antibiotic Resistance," notes:
"Combination therapy combining conventional antibiotics and essential oils is currently blooming and represents a potential area for future investigations. This new generation of phytopharmaceuticals may shed light on the development of new pharmacological regimes in combating antibiotic resistance."23
Here's a short list of some of the more popular essential oils and their uses (but there are many more besides):
Eucalyptus oil aids in faster wound healing, protects from air exposure and offers antimicrobial activity
Oregano is a known protector against several bacterial strains such as E. coli, staphylococcus (Staph) and salmonella
Peppermint is useful in dental care due to its antibacterial activity and antiviral properties
Bergamot's antibacterial properties can kill parasites, help speed healing of mouth ulcers, cold sores and herpes, and combat shingles and chicken pox
Thyme is known to be effective against myriad bacteria, including MRSA and Staph infections
Lemon grass has antimicrobial properties that inhibit bacterial growth both internally and externally, i.e., urinary tract infections, malaria, typhoid, food poisoning and body odor
Lavender has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, making it good for inflammatory skin conditions like acne and psoriasis, helps speed healing of cuts, burns and sunburns and helps prevent scarring
Eucalyptus is a potent germicide and antiseptic, making it good for treating wounds, burns, cuts, ulcers, sores and abrasions
Cinnamon may be one of the strongest antibacterial oils, working against such strains as E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus
When using essential oils, a carrier oil such a jojoba or coconut oil is often recommended because they are very potent. In many cases, a topical application of essential oils is much safer than taking antibiotics internally. When in doubt, consult an aromatherapist who can provide you with more information and exact oils for your specific condition. Healthy Focus advises:
"Combine a few drops of your chosen oil or oils with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba and apply the oil to the affected area of your body. Massaging the oil into your abdomen is also a great way to help fight internal infections. You can also apply some diluted essential oils to help treat common skin infections like acne or even warts."24
As often as possible, look to natural alternatives instead of antibiotics. Depending on your symptoms, there are many articles covered on this website that can expand your knowledge and increase your awareness of natural instead of conventional health. Mercola.com is focused on a "whole person" approach to your entire person rather than just your symptoms. In preventive health care, providers help patients develop attitudes and lifestyles that don't just fight illness, but help prevent it, too.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Lumbrokinase for Lyme Disease

Reposted from Dr. Mercola


Lyme disease is no respecter of persons and one bite from a deer tick may be the only thing separating you from this devastating illness. Canadian rockstar Avril Lavigne has been struggling with the illness for four years. When her battle with Lyme became public in 2015, Lavigne told People magazine, "I felt like I couldn't breathe, I couldn't talk and I couldn't move. I thought I was dying."1 She was bedridden for five months.

If you or someone close to you struggles with Lyme disease, you may have heard of lumbrokinase, an enzyme sourced from earthworms. Best known for its role in helping combat blood clots, lumbrokinase has also been used successfully to break down biofilms associated with Lyme disease. Here's what you need to know about identifying and treating this life-threatening, tick-based disease.

The Basics About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is primarily transmitted by deer ticks and black-legged ticks found in grassy and wooded areas throughout the U.S. and at least 60 other countries.2 The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease annually.3

The people at most risk of picking up a Lyme-infected tick include children and older adults, as well as firefighters, park rangers and others who spend time in areas known to increase their exposure to ticks. Beyond being a bacterial infection, Lyme disease can often be complicated by factors such as coinfections, nutrient deficiencies and toxin overload. LymeDisease.org provides some additional facts about the disease:4

  • Lyme, which is known as "The Great Imitator," is very challenging to diagnose because its symptoms mimic conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis
  • Lyme disease can affect any organ of your body, including your brain and nervous system, muscles and joints and even your heart
  • Most people contract Lyme from the bite of an immature tick — and the bite is often so tiny and painless, you may not realize you've been bitten
  • An undisturbed tick can feed for several days and the longer it is attached to your body, the greater the chances it will transmit Lyme and other pathogens into your bloodstream

Earthworms and Lyme Disease: A Healing Combination?

Lumbrokinase, a group of six proteolytic (protein digesting) enzymes derived from earthworms, can be successfully paired with antimicrobial remedies for the treatment of Lyme disease. Lumbrokinase is believed to effectively penetrate through thick clumps of gut bacteria known as biofilms, which are one of several factors involved with Lyme. (Check out the video above for more information on how biofilms form.)

When pathogenic bacteria hide within biofilms, they can feed and replicate out of the reach of your immune system. As such, they remain strong and unaffected by any antimicrobial medications, such as antibiotics and herbs, you may be taking. The fact lumbrokinase is helpful in breaking down fibrinogen is an important aspect of Lyme treatment because the pathogenic bacteria use fibrinogen, which they convert to fibrin, to strengthen their network.5

Researchers studying the effects of lumbrokinase,6 say earthworms — known as Dilong (earth dragon) — have been used for thousands of years within traditional medicine in Asian countries such as China, Japan and Korea. In these countries, dry earthworm powder taken orally has been shown to promote healthy blood circulation. The group of enzymes in lumbrokinase acts as fibrinolytic agents, meaning they break down clots, making them useful to treat conditions associated with thrombosis. The study authors stated:7

"Earthworms contain many compounds with potential medicinal properties and have been administrated to treat inflammatory, hematological, oxidative and nerve disease. Earthworms also have antimicrobial, antiviral and anticancer properties. Among many properties, earthworms also exhibit fibrinolytic activity. The pharyngeal region, crop, gizzard, clitellum and intestine secret an enzyme that plays a role in dissolving fibrin."

How Does Lumbrokinase Work?

Dr. Miguel Gonzalez, a functional, integrative and holistic medicine specialist from Thousand Oaks, California, and creator of the Lyme People website, suggests lumbrokinase, "appears to assist in dissolving the excess fibrin that covers and hides the bacteria, is involved in the regulation of blood clotting and also eliminates the abnormal proteins that are released as a result of the bacteria's activity."8

Furthermore, Lyme expert Dr. Marty Ross, integrative medicine specialist and founder of The Healing Arts Partnership in Seattle, notes lumbrokinase is also able to:9

  • boost blood flow to your tissues by decreasing hypercoagulation
  • decrease muscle cramps and pain
  • promote the delivery of supplements and/or prescription medication deep into your tissues

Ross and Texas naturopath Dr. Gary Sconyers suggest lumbrokinase can be particularly useful for patients whose Lyme-related symptoms did not show improvement on antibiotics or herbal antimicrobials alone.10 About his treatment protocol Ross stated:11

"I lean more in the direction of antibiotics for Lyme disease because they have more of a proven track record than herbs, but some of my patients prefer not to use conventional pharmaceuticals or just can't tolerate them. In that case I use one or more of four herbal antimicrobials: cumanda, andrographis, teasel and cat's claw.

I prescribe one 20 milligram (mg) pill of lumbrokinase two times a day. I recommend this for patients who have been stalled for a while on more straightforward treatment and are not improving. I generally start to see improvement once I add in the lumbrokinase."

While I do not agree with Ross' belief in long-term antibiotic use (more on that topic later), I do appreciate his interest in herbal remedies, including the use of lumbrokinase. About his experience in administering lumbrokinase, Sconyers said:12

"[I use] lumbrokinase for all my Lyme patients. I give patients up to 10 lumbrokinase capsules a day, in divided doses, three times a day. I also use nattokinase, in amounts ranging from 250 to 500 mg a day. In our most difficult Lyme cases, lumbrokinase seems to work the best.

I had a [patient] … who'd had Lyme disease for 20 years. She had tried everything, and suffered from head to toe joint pain, brain fog and gut issues. She had gotten to the point where she'd given up. Now she is doing better than she has in decades, [thanks to lumbrokinase]."

If you and your doctor determine lumbrokinase is right for you, be sure to buy a high-quality, reputable brand. Lumbrokinase is a costly supplement and both its enzymatic strength and price can vary widely from brand to brand. Certain brands are available in capsule form at a dose of 600,000 IU (international unit), or 40 mg, which are recommended for Lyme sufferers in the form of a daily dose of 1 to 2 capsules taken in the morning, afternoon and at bedtime.

Generally, lumbrokinase should be taken only under the advisement of your doctor and can be dangerous if taken with blood-thinning medication. In addition, it's contraindicated in all medical conditions associated with an increased risk of bleeding.13

What You Should Know About Treating Lyme Disease

Beyond the characteristic bullseye rash, Lyme symptoms are often flu-like in nature: body aches, fatigue, fever, headaches and stiff or swollen joints. As I have often mentioned, early treatment is vital when it comes to Lyme disease mainly because it may help you avoid future complications such as chronic joint inflammation (Lyme arthritis), cognitive defects, heart rhythm irregularities and neurological symptoms.

Conventional Lyme treatment, which generally involves antibiotics, is often unsuccessful. Sadly, in spite of their doctor's best intentions in prescribing antibiotics, many patients continue to experience troubling symptoms that sometimes deteriorate further. On occasion, Lyme sufferers experience a loss of motor coordination, meningitis, severe muscle spasms and even intermittent paralysis. I do not recommend long-term antibiotic use for Lyme due to the detrimental effects this type of treatment will have on your gut microbiome.

The use of antibiotics also increases your risk of fungal or yeast infections, two issues likely to be in play if you suffer from Lyme disease. Moreover, antibiotics tax your natural immune function and increase your risk of antibiotic-resistant infections. Rather than choose antibiotic therapy as your primary means of treating Lyme, you'd be wise to investigate the many natural alternatives first, or, at least use the natural remedies in concert with any recommended pharmaceutical medications.

Natural Strategies You Can Use to Fight Lyme Disease

Below is a listing of some of the nutritional supplements you may find useful in addressing Lyme:

Andrographis and artemisinin: Herbs that treat the common co-infection, Babesia
Astaxanthin: A powerful antioxidant that neutralizes toxins and relieves joint pain
Cilantro: This common herb is a natural chelator for heavy metals
CoQ10: A potent antioxidant that alleviates muscle pain, boosts cardiac health and reduces brain fog
Curcumin: The active ingredient in the spice turmeric, which eliminates neurological toxins and helps reduce brain swelling
GABA and melatonin: Two great sleep supplements that will help address insomnia, a common complaint for people with Lyme disease
Grapefruit seed extract: This powerful botanical, which is known to kill bacteria, Candida and parasites, may help treat Borrelia — the bacteria that causes Lyme disease — in cyst form
Krill oil: This omega-3 powerhouse helps reduce inflammation and relieve Lyme symptoms
Probiotics: Promotes healthy gut flora and boosts your immunity
Quercetin: An antioxidant known to reduce histamine, which is usually high in Lyme patients
Resveratrol: This antioxidant helps with detoxification and may treat the common coinfection, Bartonella
Serrapeptase: Helps dissolve biofilms
Transfer factors: Help boost immune function; Ross says he uses transfer factors when a patient is not getting better or to prevent a relapse associated with Lyme or two potential co-infections, Babesia and Bartonella14
Whey protein concentrate: May be useful as a dietary supplement

Klinghardt Academy's Lyme Treatment Protocol Has Helped Hundreds Heal

My mentor Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, founder of the Klinghardt Academy in Woodinville, Washington, is one of the leading authorities on the treatment of Lyme disease. Having been used successfully to restore health to hundreds of patients, his Lyme disease treatment protocol is most definitely something you should check out. Below is a high-level overview of Klinghardt's major recommendations:15
Reducing your body's toxic burden and unloading your system
Decrease your exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) by turning off all fuses at night and limiting your exposure to wireless technologies as much as you can
Use turquoise light/photon wave to increase your melatonin and nonREM Delta sleep
Choose nontoxic, hypoallergenic bedding material and avoid flame retardants/polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)
Avoid light and noise pollution at night
Detoxify your system and remove biofilms and heavy metals
2. Improving your body's disturbed physiology
Use Autonomic Response Testing (ART), the most advanced and scientifically validated method of muscle testing, or lab work to identify and correct deficiencies in your electrolytes, hormones and minerals
Complete and apply the results of genetic testing
Overhaul your diet to eliminate trigger foods and focus on eating whole, organic foods as much as possible
Supplement magnesium via transdermal patches or injections for maximum effectiveness
Balance your copper, zinc and iron levels
3. Decreasing your pathogen count
Use ozonated plant oils (rizols) to treat: anaerobes, mold and parasites; RNA and DNA viruses; Babesia; Bartonella; and spirochetes
4. Immunemodulation
Treat immune responses to mold
Apply autohemotherapy or auto-urine therapy
Begin using Buhner herbs
Introduce adjunctive physics-based immune modulation tools, also known as BioTools
Evaluate the usefulness of antibiotic, antifungal, antiparasitic and antiviral medications

Make Lyme Prevention a Top Priority

Lyme disease is a complex, controversial and extremely challenging condition to treat, making prevention your safest and best option. Your first line of defense is to take precautions to avoid the ticks that transmit the disease. After all, no tick bites, no Lyme disease. Because the ticks can be as small as poppy seeds, you must be vigilant to safeguard yourself, your loved ones and your pets from ticks.

Whatever you do, do not spray your body or your clothes with insect repellant containing N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide, also known as DEET. Because DEET is a known neurotoxin,16 I recommend you avoid all DEET-containing products. Below are some healthy tips to help you best protect yourself from tick bites if you live in or must travel through a high-risk area:17,18

Avoid tick-infested areas such as densely wooded areas and always walk in the middle of trails so as to avoid brushing against tall grasses and other plant material that may house ticks
Check your body and hair for ticks immediately upon returning from a high-risk area and continue to check your body, hair and bedding daily for several days afterward
Consider wearing long sleeves and pants, as well as closed shoes and a hat, when venturing out to wooded areas
Your pet can become a host for ticks and may also become infected with Lyme disease, so be sure to check their fur and collars
If you discover a tick has latched onto you, it's very important to remove it properly and, if possible, to keep it alive; for detailed instructions, please visit the lymedisease.org tick removal page
Once removed, make sure you save the tick so it can be tested for the presence of pathogenic organisms. Put the tick into a container and label it with your name, date, site of bite and how long the tick was attached to your skin. Share this information with your local extension office or other authority.
- Sources and References