New food attended the Pukka Herb event ‘Before Really They need antibiotics, what are the healthy alternatives? "to discover how food can help ensure the future of antibiotics.
The prescription of antibiotics has become a hot topic in the world of food and health. Prescribed for minor infections, such as sore throat, ear infections and urinary infections, research suggests that we will see a future of resistance to diseases that could otherwise be prevented due to excessive and unnecessary use of antibiotics.
It is predicted that by 2050, 10 million people will die due to resistance. In fact, taking a cycle of antibiotics can see a 30 percent reduction in resistance after only three months.
New food I recently attended a conference led by Pukka Herbs, which examined the future of antibiotics and prompted a radical change in our over-prescribed culture.
Experts at the event suggested that the relationships between patients and GPs are one of the reasons why we see an excessive use of antibiotics. For example, worried and ill-informed parents who want a quick solution to their child's condition, or the medical malpractice of GPs as crowded and busy clinics mean that taking the time to describe an alternative treatment is not feasible. That said, it was also suggested that GPs are not medically trained in herbal medicine or nutrition, so offering these alternatives may be a matter of simply not knowing them.
Of course, there is also the ongoing debate about antibiotics given to animals in excess, which experts say is also a contributing factor to human resistance.
Food as medicine?
Foods such as thyme, mushrooms, garlic, sage, zinc, echinacea, elderberry and pelargonium are examples of home remedies with disease benefits.
The Pukka event, held at Chelsea Physic Garden in London, tried to provoke this discussion and aimed to bring together industry professionals to provide evidence of alternative remedies and their success rates.
Key speakers from Pukka, universities and general medicine clinics across the UK, talked about ongoing research, as well as current and future strategies to regulate the world of natural remedies. Foods such as thyme, mushrooms, garlic, sage, zinc, echinacea, elderberry and pelargonium are just some examples of home remedies with independent evidence studies of benefits against infections and diseases.
Euan MacLennan, director of herbs at Pukka, speaking at the event, explained that a survey was conducted to examine public knowledge of antibiotics. He revealed that 70 percent of participants believed that antibiotics can cure colds and flu, and 52 percent believe they can kill viruses, which is simply not the case. In addition to this, of the same participants, 80 percent were aware of the fact that the use of antibiotics results in a reduction in resistance, but they were still happy to use antibiotics for these common diseases.
Conference speakers stressed the need for a primary education for the future of antibiotics, and it really is not "a pill for every disease."
The role of a healthy diet is considered key to reducing the risk of disease and, therefore, there is a perceived "need" for antibiotics. The intestinal microbiota, the collective genome community of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract, is massively influenced by dietary intake. Short chain fatty acids are products of carbohydrate fermentation and can prevent interaction between the host and the microbiota.
Polyphenols, which are micronutrients that we receive through certain plant-based foods, such as herbs and spices, can modulate the microbiota and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria. In turn, this can regulate the immune system and prevent these cases of infections and minor diseases from occurring.
However, controlling your diet is not the only thing to worry about. With products that already exist, regulation can further confuse the consumer. Although there are initiatives, such as the THR scheme, to test the regulation of products in this industry through labeling, many consumers do not look for certificates or brands on products. Instead, they often opt for the cheapest option, which may be the unapproved or deregulated product.
Pukka Herbs event: Before us Really You need antibiotics, what are the healthy alternatives?
In addition to this, in an industry where plant names and herbal remedies are often used in scientific or foreign forms, labels can simply be ignored or overlooked.
An example is the case study of fang ji. Stephania tetrandra ("hang fang ji") and Aristolochia fangchi ("guang fang ji") are two different plant species used in traditional Chinese medicine (MTC). Both are commonly referred to as "fang ji" and Stephania tetrandra has been mistakenly replaced with nephrotoxic A. fangchi, since they have morphological similarities. A. fangchi contains aristolochic acid, a carcinogen that causes urothelial carcinoma, as well as aristolochic acid nephropathy (AAN) and has caused hundreds of cases of end-stage renal disease.
Although it is almost impossible to prevent the onset of diseases, measures can be taken to reduce the risks, which Pukka's test portfolio is trying to show. Controlling the diet with supplement products or simply asking questions about diseases and alternative treatments are ways in which we can save antibiotics for when Really I need them