Hello everyone. Welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host for the day Tabetha Moreto. Our guest today is Dr. Cris Beer. She is a holistic medical doctor, author, corporate speaker and media doctor. Today we’re going to talk about World Antibiotics Awareness Week 2017 and how doctors say healthier guts reduce our reliance on antibiotics and lessen their side effects. Without further ado, welcome to the show Chris. It’s very nice to have you here. Thanks so much for having me on the show. Yes my pleasure. Cris, please tell the audience more about yourself and the nature of your work. Sure. Well I’m a holistic GP or an integrative general practitioner here in Australia on the Gold Coast and that means that I integrate evidence-based complementary with natural medicine as well as standard Orthodox medicine as well. It’s an interest that I have to try and see if there is a way to prevent illness rather than just treat symptoms which I find modern-day medicine can sometimes tend to focus a little bit too much on. Obviously one area and that’s what we’re talking about today is gut health as a way to prevent illnesses and also treat illnesses as well. Fantastic. As we all know antibiotics are medically necessary but sometimes they can reduce both the good and the bad bacteria in what we call our microbiome. Can you explain to the audience how does antibiotics affect our gut? That’s a great question and that’s one that’s come to light. Really, a recent years something we didn’t really recognize in times gone past when antibiotics have been in a great you know obviously medical marvel and certainly a savior to many people. Especially when times of infection require in by its use, but unfortunately with antibiotics like anything there is sometimes too much of a good thing and antibiotics can destroy or kill the good bacteria along with the bad bacteria. We all have organisms that live on an inner and in our digestive system there are over 500 species that will live within our digestive system at they’re uncovered and certainly antibiotics not only kill the pathogenic or the bad bacteria that cause infection. They can also kill off the good bacteria that live in our gut that promote good gut health as well as overall well-being for our overall health as well as per the research is currently suggesting. I see. This sounds like a very big issue. Can you explain why our bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics? Also a great question. I mean something that microscopy, microbiology is revealed to us is that what bacteria do is a very clever they adapt and they change depending on their environment and if they’re exposed to something like an antibiotic assailant they will change their shape or change their tactics. So that they can become resistant to that antibiotic and continue to survive in the presence of that antibiotic. The antibiotics target certain aspects of bacterial replication or bacterial growth and then the antibiotic will become ineffective as the bacteria no longer has that process in its mitts or in its part of its normal growth. Certainly antibiotics are helpful, the bacteria are developing what we call antibiotic resistance or even multiple antibiotic resistant and becoming super strains which means that no antibiotic or very few antibiotics work against them. That is an issue I mean in the last 50 years we’ve only had one new antibiotic created towards resistant organisms. That can be an issue when you deal with multiple drug-resistant bacteria which we’re currently finding such as golden staph and the enterococcus that’s becoming resistant as well. This has become a very big issue nowadays not just in Australia but in many countries where there have been reports of diseases or infections that are no longer responding to antibiotics. Can you explain to us, how serious is this problem particularly in Australia? In terms of quantification I don’t have numbers for you. It’s certainly something that we could find out. In terms of the people that are affected, who are admitted to hospital on a regular basis that develop antibiotic resistance, our organisms will come down with antibiotic resistant infections. Certainly the research is suggesting that it’s much more common than we realize and 20% of us are carriers for resistant organisms. Carriers main they’re on an inner they don’t cause us issues but they’re opportunists whenever there’s a break in the integrity of our skin through an infection or through an operation for instance they given the opportunity to then enter within our system and cause issues. Twenty percent of us we feel one in five according to the research of our harbor antibiotic resistant bugs on or inner. I see. Aside from the antibiotics destroying the good bacteria in our gut. What are the other bad effects of antibiotics? I mean obviously there’s some of the adverse reactions to antibiotics and this is a rarity of course they can cause gastrointestinal upset things like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting. They can cause a rash or a drug reaction and some people obviously can have severe anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction to any bugs. Once again, although it’s fairly rare and fairly benign and self resolving what’s antibody can swap to a different one or changed or ceased altogether if the person no longer needs it. But it’s just got flora that’s more this insidious we wonder now the long-term impact of disruption of our normal gut flora and the microorganisms that lie within our gut. We’re wondering now and the research is starting to say that the organisms within our gut play significant role in our overall well-being and our health. Let’s talk about something more positive. Because we talk about a lot of negative stuff especially regarding antibiotic. What are the good effects of antibiotics? For sure I mean they are the they have been the medical marvel and as I said the savior for most of us in the last century and particularly continuing this century. The last century obviously when there was Wars, and there were lots of infection and of course when the Sanitation potentially wasn’t as good as it is now they were an absolute saviour. In certain circumstances even today they are still used and used effectively and prevent a lot of serious illness. They are definitely needed and they definitely still need it to be as part of our medical armory and that’s what we want to try and prevent. We want to try and prevent antibiotic resistance by using antibiotics appropriately and when they’re actually needed and indicated as per your medical practitioners advice. So that we can bear inche badhak useful when they’re going to be the most effective and when they’re not going to be unnecessarily used. Yes that sounds great. Now, what are the misconceptions regarding antibiotics that drive you crazy doctor and it keeps you up at night? Well not much keeps me up at night. I have two small children so I’m at like a life I can tell you. Certainly some misconceptions I mean one is that all respiratory infections will be helped by antibiotics and of course that’s not true. Viral illnesses which is 90% of the infections that you will contract that cause the common cold they are even the influenza virus they don’t respond to antibiotics safe. Antibiotics have no impact, it doesn’t shorten the duration of a severity of illness, they’re effectively useless but they can increase the risk of as I said edge but it resistant organism. That’s one of the biggest misconceptions that I find is can be frustrating but also a point of a good opportunity to educate people in the public, patients that come and see you and just want to script for antibiotics when in fact that’s not going to be what’s needed might be rest or lots of fluid or time off work etc. That’s certainly one thing. The other thing is that antibiotics are people sometimes become very frightened of antibiotics because of the risk on the gut flora and because of the potential risk of adverse reactions as we mentioned earlier. People sometimes don’t want to take them when they do need to and that’s also a hard one as well because some infections are very hard to kill without the use of antibiotics. You’ve got the double-edged sword there and I think that it takes the health practitioners discretion to know which way to go when it comes to a patient’s presentation. Yes that is a double-edged sword indeed and thank you so much for clearing up those misconceptions doctor. You’re welcome. Let’s talk about World Antibiotics Awareness Week 2017. What were the specific topics that were discussed during this week? The specific awareness I guess public health campaign that this focused on, was looking at as we mentioned earlier antibiotic resistance and antibiotic resistance that’s developing and the organisms particularly. And how it can all work towards prevention of antibiotic resistance. That’s what this week was all about and in particular looking at both the practitioners responsibility for appropriate antibiotic prescribing but also the patient’s responsibility to not put pressure on doctors to prescribe antibiotics when they’re not needed. It’s interesting they did a survey here in Australia and 50% of doctors, GP feel pressure to prescribe an antibiotic when it’s not indicated. Meaning they feel pressure from the patient to prescribe it and 50% of doctors state that they will prescribe an antibiotic even when it’s not necessarily indicated whereas 20% of people that are going to see a doctor patient are requesting and ask for this specifically going to the doctor to request an antibiotic script. It’s interesting when you look at that and you think it comes from both sides I mean doctors are human and obviously patients have a need to get back to work and get better quickly so you’ve got two sides of the coin always. But if we’re both aware of antibiotic resistance we can be more responsible and how we’re using and prescribing antibiotics. Yes this sounds like a very complicated issue. I agree with your doctor there are times where a doctor doesn’t have to prescribe antibiotics but unfortunately people are so busy they have to get back to work, they have so many things to do, they don’t have time to sit in bed all day and do nothing so they pressure doctors in getting antibiotics which is unfortunate. Doctor, if you don’t mind I want to ask you a personal question. Yes. Why are you so passionate about this particular topic? Why are you so passionate about promoting this topic to our listeners out there or to the general public? Because I think it’s a growing concern and I think that it’s one that is a public health certainly a public health focus at the moment in terms of where we are in our medicine and in our development. But as I said you know in the last 50 years only one new antibiotic has been developed towards resistant organisms that means that we are running out of appropriate antibiotics to use for those resistant bugs and you know it could be your eye that like there after the operating table with a post of infection that we desperately need man’s buttock to work for. And if we’re struggling to find one that works for that could be serious and certainly limb threatening and maybe even life-threatening. This is an issue and it is definitely an issue. It’s not just scaremongering it is an issue. We’ve all got to be responsible and got to be aware of it and to use antibiotics appropriately and to obviously take them as indicated which is to take the full course that you’re prescribed so that you’re minimizing the chances that the bacteria will still be alive and develop resistance. That the other aspect of patient responsibility. I’m definitely passionate about that side and also for the effect on the gut flora, you don’t need to have antibiotics then you know you’re risking that gut flora being compromised and sometimes that something that you have to then work hard to try and build back up to make sure. It’s invisible, we can’t see our gut health we can only feel the effects of it long-term and so I think it’s two sides to it now that we’re realizing how important a gut health really is. Yes, that’s true and this is something that people take for granted our gut health. This is something that’s a part of your body and this is something that we have to take care of all parts of our body should be taken care of. Yes, I agree. I definitely agree. Absolutely. I would love to talk to you for hours and hours doctor but unfortunately we’re running out of time but I love this topic it’s fantastic. Doctor, before we go what is your main takeaway message to all of our listeners out there? The main takeaway obviously around antibiotic use to use it responsibly and use it as indicated by your health practitioner and don’t request antibiotics if they’re not necessarily indicated. Make sure you’re checking with your health practitioner if they’re indicated and if there’s another way that you could manage the illness that you’re currently presenting with. The other one is to take your gut health seriously to look into gut health, to look into what foods might be able to be promote good gut health, what probiotics might be helpful and to avoid antibiotics unless you obviously are indicated to take them. Fantastic message, thank you doctor. For those who want to contact you, how can the get in touch with you? They can certainly go to my website and contact me there for our email to the website drcris.com.au and my first name has no H so it’s drcris.com.au. They can certainly have a look there and look at my website and if they’re looking for any further information about gut health or about prevention of poor gut health they can certainly email me and I can steer them in the right direction. If they’re looking for good websites obviously go to good reputable websites about antibiotics and antibiotics resistance and about gut house in particular and they’ll certainly find some great information on the internet if they’re searching but they can look me up obviously if they are interested in finding out more information as well. Fantastic. Thank you so much Cris for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. It was wonderful having you. Perfect, thank you so much. Thank you. That was Dr. Cris Beer, holistic medical doctor, author, corporate speaker and media doctor. We just have been talking about antibiotic resistance, World Antibiotics Week and how antibiotics can affect our gut health. If you liked this interview, transcripts and archives are available at www.hpr.fm. We’re on all social media platforms, so don’t forget to follow, like and subscribe. We’re also available for download on SoundCloud and iTunes. I’m Tabetha Moreto and you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.