Last month the results of a very interesting study was published, where prior use of antibiotics was linked to a 53% greater likelihood of getting diabetes. 53% is a huge number by the way, and these included people who had been exposed to antibiotics at all during the prior 3 years, not just big time antibiotic users, which we would expect would have a much greater increased risk than that.
Antibiotic use, or abuse rather, is at epidemic levels, and the potential consequences of continuing down this road is very dire, as we've already created superbugs and it's expected that this is only going to get worse over time, and we may get to the point where a lot of people are going to be dying from some rather simple infections, like they used to do before antibiotic use.
To add to these existing concerns, if antibiotic use increases diabetes risk or worsens it, then this is going to only add to the problems. The results of this study may surprise a lot of people, but those who know what effects that antibiotics have on our gut microbiome and how that may influence diabetes will not be as surprised, although this connection isn't very widely known at this time.
If you read the previous article on how delayed release metformin has been found to work better when it is released in the colon, in spite of less being taken up systemically, in the bloodstream in other words, this is further evidence that our gut may be influencing our diabetes a lot more than we think it does.
This is a huge topic and I'll be going into this in more detail in future articles, but while there are likely some things we don't know about the effects of our gut on diabetes, there are certainly some things we do know.
Antibiotics are in a class by themselves by the way as far as things that disrupt our gut health, nothing else even comes close really. How antibiotics do this is by disrupting our natural flora, and in particular, killing off friendly bacteria, it kills off bacteria indiscriminately actually, but what happens is that once the course is over, and the gut bacteria repopulates, we end up having a much more nasty ratio of bad bacteria to good bacteria, and the bad bacteria that survive the antibiotic onslaught also are more resistant to attack.
So the best way to think of this is that the body normally controls bad bacteria of normal fighting strength we'll say, but when you raise their resistance and therefore their strength with antibiotics, the body's natural defense mechanisms don't do as well in controlling them. This is the primary reason why antibiotic use is so harmful, and these resistant strains not only resist antibiotics, they are harder to control by our bodies as well.
There are some natural antibiotics that you can take by the way, things found in nature, like allicin from garlic, berberine, iodine, oregano oil, olive leaf extract, and others, that friendly bacteria are more resistant to, and therefore they kill the bad guys without killing the good guys. When you have more good guys when you repopulate this creates more balance.
Metformin actually has antimicrobial properties, and this is likely the way that it helps out in the colon with blood sugar. Berberine, a similar but completely natural substance, which works in a similar way to reducing blood sugar as metformin, is an even better antimicrobial, and like other natural antibiotics, don't cause resistance the way drugs do.
One of the biggest things that happens with antibiotic use, or any time that the gut microbiome is rendered unhealthy, is that yeasts like candida albicans take over more, and grow to excesses that have significant negative consequences on our overall health and our diabetes as well.
Berberine, by the way, is also an effective antifungal, something that natural substances tend to be but antibiotics aren't. You have to take a separate drug for this, an antifungal, but it's not being prescribed due to the fact that conventional medicine pretty much ignores systemic candida infection, so patients are left to deteriorate from this unabated, and in fact as more and more antibiotics are prescribed to them, this really deteriorates, to the point where it can cause a chronic illness that can be quite severe.
How does gut health effect our diabetes and our blood sugar though? Well the main way that we know about, in a nutshell, is through toxins being released, both locally and systemically. These toxins produce a response that includes elevating our blood sugar.
In particular, a lot of inflammation is caused, and we know what happens then, cortisol levels get raised and that certainly raises blood sugar, and in diabetics that tends to raise us a lot and is one of the primary mechanisms behind high blood sugar in fact.
The liver also goes through a lot of stress from all of this, from having to detoxify all of these toxins, and the load here can get very nasty in fact, such that you can have symptoms of toxic poisoning from things like LPS and other bacterial and fungal toxins, such as brain fog, lethargy, poor memory, and so on.
So if the liver is unable to handle this load, that should tell you that it is stressed indeed, to the max really, and a properly functioning liver is essential to good blood sugar management, but if it's on red alert all the time then this isn't good at all.
The guts are being recognized more and more as endocrine glands, secretors of systemic hormones, and we're just starting to learn about this, but from what we know, this plays a big role in diabetes and some of the primary hormones that regulate things like blood sugar and obesity are secreted by the gut.
There's also the issue of intestinal permeability, leaky gut, and if the health of the small intestine is compromised, this permits all sorts of things entering our bloodstream that shouldn't be there, which produces an immune response that ends up causing a lot of inflammation, something very bad for blood sugar control.
So the bottom line here is that antibiotics should only be used when absolutely necessary, as there are some serious consequences with them, and only one of them is wrecking our intestinal health and wrecking our blood sugar control in turn. People should use natural antibiotics whenever possible, and reserve the drugs for cases where one's health is severely threatened and there is no other good alternative, and should also only be used for the minimal period required to take care of the infection.
That's not how they are used though, and if we don't wake up, this could have consequences a lot more far reaching than just diabetes, but when you have drug companies calling the shots, and our health care system is built around maximizing their profits, this can be pretty abused indeed.