Tag Archives: Microbes

Dr. C’s Journal: The Rise Of Antimicrobial Resistance

We are immersed in a vast sea of tiny organisms, microbes, most of which are either helpful or neutral. There are a few bad actors that can harm people and are responsible for plagues of the past, such as the black death, cholera and influenza epidemics.

This whole picture changed in the late 30s with the advent of Sulfonamides, and especially Penicillin, the “magic bullet”. I was practicing medicine early in the days when antibiotics eliminated almost all infections.

In fact, at one time infections were thought to be a problem of the past. Unfortunately, overusage, chronic multiple infections, surgically implanted devices, immune suppression for cancer and autoimmune diseases have allowed bacteria, fungi and viruses to evolve resistance mechanisms.

At the present time there are a number of bacteria, such as staphylococci, actino bacteria, enterococci, and candida that are essentially untreatable. Even if they are somewhat treatable, second and third level antibiotics are so toxic that they can cause problems with the kidney, liver, or heart.

In later postings, I plan to consider specific organisms and the situations in which they operate. I will also eventually talk about efforts to create new antibiotics by harvesting genetic material from unusual places, even our oceans.

—Dr. C.


The microbiota is a dynamic community that evolves through the lifetime of an individual, being influenced by multiple factors. Nutrition is essential in the process of establishing a healthy gut microbiome, with a key role of breastfeeding in early months, and important role of diverse diet to stimulate maturation of diverse gut microbiome.

Prebiotics, probiotics and synbiotics are key tools to boost the development of an age-appropriate microbiota and its related benefits, like healthy immune development and a basis for a resilient microbiota throughout life.


Do you have good or bad microbiome? Or do you have the microbiome you deserve?

Gut Microbiome, the new Open Access journal from Cambridge University Press and The Nutrition Society has published its first papers, including the animated abstract above from the paper: Hill, C. (2020) “You have the microbiome you deserve,” Gut Microbiome, Cambridge University Press, 1, p. e3.

Access the paper here: https://bit.ly/3bFOjc7


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This article gave an interesting classification of fermented foods, pointing out that with some, like bread and wine, we eat the products of fermentation without the living organisms, while with others like kefir and yogurt, we eat the viable critters also.

Lactobacilli are called probiotics, and are supposed to have health benefits. It is not proven that they do, but at least the lactobacilli use up some of the sugar we would otherwise be eating, and taste good.

The problem with the claim that they diversify and benefit our microbiome, and crowd out the bad germs, is that they do not generally attach to our intestinal walls, and go right through with the rest of our food. They don’t stick around long enough to do any good.

My late wife had a bad infection with a bad actor called Clostridium difficile, which caused her to have a severe, bloody enterocolitis. After the second hospitalization with this affliction, an Infectious disease doctor suggested “culturelle”, which contained a patented Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, which WAS supposedly proven to attach for a while. My wife took this, and never had another attack.

I still take this daily, “on faith”. Gullible me. Fecal transplants are now used effectively for C. Dif. enterocolitis. Avoiding unnecessary antibiotics, which wipe out your normal microbiome, your “good guy competition”, is An even better idea, but seems risky.

BOTTOM LINE:  Kefir and yogurt are calorie depleted, and taste good. What is not to like?

–Dr. C