Today, we’re going to talk about how antibiotics can help you recover from physical injury.
Antibiotics are still barely understood.
They’re a medical mystery still in a lot of ways.
There is a feeling that they hurt the gut and that antibiotic use should be minimized.
Doctors used to hand out antibiotics like water.
But now they have a fairly high bar before they give you antibiotics.
It’s too bad because there are some vital but little-known uses of antibiotics that could revolutionize medicine.
Antibiotics could actually be useful for treating physical injuries.
They could treat spinal cord injuries, and even Alzheimer’s.
This antibiotic fights inflammation and may cure many diseases.
You may already be familiar with azithromycin.
I don’t know if remember the old “Z-Pak.”
These are a course of antibiotics that you take once on a tiered schedule for a few days when you have an infection.
This study looked at new uses for that Z-Pak.
Antibiotics such as azithromycin work on many levels, they don’t just fight bacteria.
They can also be useful when the immune system is overworked and coping with inflammation.
For example, if there is a spinal cord injury, the body’s immune defense dispatches vast numbers of cells called macrophages.
Macrophages primarily eat debris, bacteria, and other foreign substances in the body.
Their job is to “clean up” and get rid of what doesn’t belong in the body.
But while they do their work, they cause inflammation.
Inflammation interferes with healing.
It turns out that giving patients azithromycin antibiotic, actually lowers the inflammation from the macrophages.
It helps to speed up healing.
And it’s not just useful with spinal cord injuries.
As the authors report,
Given that pro-inflammatory macrophage activation is a hallmark of many neurological pathologies, and that azithromycin is non-invasive and clinically viable, these data highlight a novel approach for treating spinal cord injury and other maladaptive neuroinflammatory conditions.
If you think about many types of injury, often the bigger problem is the inflammation more than the injury itself.
Antibiotics such as azithromycin, minocycline, and tetracycline are enormously anti-inflammatory.
They have uses beyond their anti-bacterial function.
Irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, even asthma, may be successfully treated with these antibiotics. And there are few side effects:
Azithromycin can be administered chronically (for 12 months), albeit at lower doses, with maintained immunomodulatory effects and no increased adverse effects.
Being able to take them for extended periods to alleviate chronic conditions is one benefit that antibiotics have.
In one study, azithromycin substantially helped lower the bad effects from chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
It’s also helpful in treating pneumonia.
Pneumonia is one of the worst diseases today because people frequently get it several times, and they can end up in the hospital.
Mortality can be very high with pneumonia.
The biggest danger in pneumonia is the inflammation in the lungs.
This makes it hard to breathe, and in turn, makes it difficult to keep the brain supplied with oxygen.
It turns out that azithromycin helps pneumonia patients by lowering the inflammation the lungs that causes these complications.
This is a huge benefit and potentially life-saving!
And again, it has nothing to do with the expected antibiotic functions of azithromycin.
It is connected to the anti-inflammatory functions of the drug.
And it’s effective at reducing the mortality rate of pneumonia.
In one study, pneumonia patients treated with azithromycin had a one-quarter reduced rate of death after 90 days compared to other antibiotics.
We’re just scratching the surface of what antibiotics can do for us.
I’m going to have more about antibiotics and their anti-inflammatory quality soon.
But for now, if you have any long-standing inflammatory condition that seems resistant to any other form of treatment you may want to talk to your doctor about azithromycin.
For example, many patients are being given long-term corticosteroids, such as prednisone, for conditions that are mysterious and hard to identify.
But azithromycin may help reduce or eliminate the health issue and does not have the side effects of prednisone.
Current drug information: Azithromycin reduced exacerbations in COPD patients
Azithromycin associated with a reduction in 90-day mortality among older pneumonia patients, although a true clinical benefit is uncertain.