NDM-1, superbug, antibiotic resistance, plasmid, dr dale peterson,D-Mannose, E. Coli

The NDM-1 “Superbug”

The NDM-1 “Superbug”

If you have not already heard of what is being called the “Superbug” I am quite certain you will hear about it in the news soon. While the headlines are speaking of a superbug, the challenge is much greater than a single type of bacteria. NDM-1 (New Delhi Metalo-1) is not a superbug, but an enzyme that makes any bacteria resistant to nearly all available antibiotics. The enzyme is produced by a gene that is extremely common in bacteria of India and Pakistan. It is being seen in travelers returning from those countries. The largest number of infections with NDM-1 containing bacteria has been reported in the United Kingdom, but they have also been found in Sweden, the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Netherlands.

The bacteria that are most likely to harbor the NDM-1 enzyme are strains that are found in the intestinal tract. Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia, bacteria that are responsible for most urinary tract infections are currently the most likely to harbor the gene that produces the enzyme, but the gene has the ability to migrate to nearly any bacterium that comes into contact with one that is carrying the gene.

This is because the gene is not a part of the bacteria’s chromosomal DNA, but is found in what is called a plasmid. A plasmid is an independent particle of DNA that is capable of being passed from one bacterium to another when they come into contact with each other.

Not only are existing antibiotics ineffective against bacteria containing NDM-1, but there are no drugs in the pipeline that are likely to be effective. It is estimated that it will take at least a decade for antibiotics that are effective against NDM-1 containing bacteria to be developed and brought to market.

Fortunately, antibiotics are not the only defense against bacterial infections. Developing a vibrant community of protective bacteria in the intestinal tract will markedly reduce the ability of superbugs to move in and become a threat. This can be accomplished by periodically taking a probiotic supplement that provides protective bacteria such as acidophilus or bifidus. It is critically important to do so immediately after taking an antibiotic. This is because most antibiotics are not very discriminatory. At the same time as they are killing disease-causing organisms they are destroying beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. Without the presence of those protective bacteria, other pathogens (disease-causing organisms) are much more likely to become established. This is one reason why antibiotic treatment tends to make an individual more susceptible to additional infections down the road.

If infections do occur, effective alternatives to antibiotics often exist. E coli bladder infections, for example, respond quickly to the use of a sugar, D-Mannose. Bacteria can only cause an infection if they are able to attach themselves to the bladder wall. This is accomplished by filaments that are attracted to mannose in the cells lining the bladder. When the urine is flooded with D-Mannose the bacteria attach to it rather than to the bladder wall and are washed harmlessly out of the bladder. One teaspoon of D-Mannose powder every 3 to 4 hours for three days is generally sufficient to clear a bladder infection and 1 teaspoon daily is usually effective in preventing subsequent infections. D-Mannose is available without a prescription and has no known adverse effects.

Following a basic wellness regimen of drinking pure water, eating real foods, remaining physically active, getting adequate rest, and giving your body optimum nutritional supports will keep your immune system functioning at peak efficiency and markedly decrease the risk of contracting an infection. If an infection does occur, immune supports such as beta glucan and colostrum can enhance the body’s ability to eradicate infections. Herbal formulations such as Microstat that work by mechanisms that are not affected by bacterial resistance are also available.

Don’t become alarmed when you hear of the new superbug. It may mean the end of the antibiotic era, but it need not mean the end of the body’s ability to respond effectively to infections.