Bacteria, natural supplements herbs and vitamins to prevent or treat infections, how to increase good and friendly bacteria by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

April 6 2014

Herbal treatment for bacterial infection
A number of herbs have activity against bacteria, but it is too soon to know how effective or how potent they are when ingested as a supplement. For the time being, any serious infection needs to be treated with pharmaceutical antibiotics. There's a long list of herbs that have anti-bacterial properties, a few these herbs include:

Ashwagandha also has mind enhancing properties
Garlic and the allium family. You can purchase garlic supplements as pills, see the link for the newsletter.
Noni fruit has antibacterial potential.

Q. Are there any herbs such as saw palmetto, andrographis, mangosteen, graviola, or curcumin that can prevent a bacterial infection?
   A. I am not aware of any herbs that can prevent a bacterial infection from occurring although many herbs can reduce the likelihood of an infection from a bacteria either through a direct bacteriacidal activity or by stimulating the immune system. Garlic is a good option.

Friendly bacteria
There are a number of bacteria that are friendly and helpful to humans. If you wish to know learn about these friendly bacteria, visit the following web pages: acidophilus bacteria, bifidobacterium. or the web page probiotics. By ingesting friendly or good bacteria, it is possible that they could displace the harmful bacteria in the gut.

Can you tell me about Bacteroidetes, are they friendly or bad bacteria?
   See Bacteroidetes for more info.

Information
Bacteria are set apart from all other organisms because their cells lack nuclei (they are prokaryotic). All other organisms are eukaryotic, meaning that their cells contain nuclei. Because of this fundamental difference, all prokaryotes have long been grouped together in one Kingdom, Monera. However, new evidence indicates that there are actually two distinct groups of prokaryotes: Bacteria (or Eubacteria) and Archaea (or Archaebacteria).

Bacteria are single-celled microorganisms believed to have been the first living things on Earth. While some cause disease, bacteria also reside normally in our bodies, for example in the digestive tract or on the skin, performing useful chores. Without good bacteria, the body could not survive. Microbes in the body actually outnumber human cells 10-to-1. Bacteria are actually, in essence, a part of our body,

Bacteria and Humans
Unfortunately, many bacteria like to invade the human body and cause an infection. Fortunately, modern medicine has developed drugs that can kill or immobilize many bacteria, and has developed vaccines. These antibiotics are often quite effective. However, certain bacteria have learned to mutate and make themselves more difficult to be eliminated. Modern medicine now has literally hundreds of antibiotics to address the hundreds of different bacteria that can cause human infection.
   Many people carry Staphylococcus aureus, a potential disease-causing microbe, in their nose and large amounts of this organism and other bacteria are released into the air with every sneeze. Sneezing contributes to the risk of cross-infection by airborne transmission of S. aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS), and probably other bacteria.

Some of the hundreds of bacteria found in the digestive systems of humans may be linked to specific diseases like cancer, diabetes and obesity. Researchers, led by Chinese scientist Wang Jun, said in the March 2010 issue of Nature they found more than 1,000 different species of bacteria in the human gut. Wang Jun, executive director of the Beijing Genomics Institute, thinks that apart from helping with digestion, some of these bacteria may also play a very important role in diseases like Crohn's disease, cancer, obesity.

Appendix organ is a source of good bacteria
The appendix appears to be a useful organ. The appendix helps beneficial bacteria survive and repopulate the colon after these organisms become depleted as a result of an infection or antibiotic drug treatment.

Botulism Bacteria
Botulism is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin that is produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria. There are three main kinds of botulism. Foodborne botulism is caused by eating foods that contain the botulism toxin. Wound botulism is caused by toxin produced from a wound infected with Clostridium botulinum. Infant botulism is caused by consuming the spores of the botulinum bacteria, which then grow in the intestines and release toxin. All forms of botulism can be fatal and are considered medical emergencies. Foodborne botulism can be especially dangerous because many people can be poisoned by eating a contaminated food.
     In March, 2006, Thailand had one of the world's worst outbreaks of the muscle-paralyzing disease when 160 villagers fell ill after eating contaminated bamboo shoots during a festival in the northern province of Nan. More than 100 are in hospital, including 42 who needed respirators after they became too weak to breathe on their own.

Chlamydia bacteria
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman's reproductive organs.

Cholera bacteria
Cholera is a water-borne disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
     Angola's cholera epidemic has become a national emergency with more than 20,000 infections and more than a thousand deaths since the outbreak began in February, 2006. France-based Medicins sans Frontieres (MSF) said the disease had spread from the capital Luanda to the coastal city of Benguela and interior provinces such as Malange. Overcrowding and poor sanitation have fueled the epidemic in the country's many slums inhabited by internal refugees who remain displaced after the country's devastating 27-year civil ended in 2002.
     May, 2006 update - Angola's worsening cholera epidemic has killed 1,109 people since the first case was recorded in February and continues to spread throughout the country. WHO said cholera deaths had been reported in 10 out of 18 affected provinces with 27,771 cumulative cases nationwide. Angola, sub-Saharan Africa's second largest oil producer after Nigeria, is currently in the middle of a reconstruction boom fuelled by high oil prices. But medical experts say that the government tries to rehabilitate infrastructure it also helps the disease to spread faster.

E. Coli Bacteria
Animals at petting zoos can transmit the potentially deadly Escherichia coli bacteria. A study of people who visited Florida petting zoos in March 2005 concluded that the bacteria, which kills 60 people annually in the United States and causes diarrhea and other symptoms, can be transmitted through contact with animals. Another study conducted in South Carolina suggested many visitors are not taking the most basic steps to guard against illness. Researchers in South Carolina who watched visitors at a petting zoo there last year found that many people who left the zoo did not wash their hands at faucets provided by the zoo.

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2012. Pomegranate materials inhibit flagellin gene expression and flagellar-propelled motility of uropathogenic Escherichia coli strain CFT073.

Legionella bacteria are found in many warm water environments, including hot tubs, whirlpool spas, and decorative fountains that use underwater lamps. The legionella bacteria cause Legionnaires' disease.

Listeria infection
Listeriosis is caused by infection with the Listeria monocytogenes, which is common in wild and domesticated animals, and in soil and water. L. monocytogenes infection also a common cause of miscarriage and stillbirth. Listeria commonly occurs as a food-borne contaminant. It is potentially fatal and can cause high fever, severe headache and nausea. It is an intracellular bacterial pathogen, hiding and multiplying within the cell walls instead of attaching itself to the outside. A listeria vaccine is being developed.
     The United States fell short of its 2005 goal to reduce cases of the foodborne bacteria Listeria by 50 percent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the rate of Listeria food poisoning rose in 2005 to 3 cases per million people, an increase from 2.7 cases per million a year earlier. Listeria is a potentially fatal disease for at-risk populations including the very young and the elderly. It can cause high fever, severe headache and nausea. U.S. health officials say it triggers about 2,500 illnesses each year and 500 deaths. As recently as 1998 the rate was near 5 cases per million. A USDA spokesman said the department, which oversees regulations designed to stop the spread of the bacteria, has rules in place that should help lower future incidences. The Consumer Federation of America said that, while the government made progress lowering the rate between 1996 and 2002, listeria has started to climb because USDA hasn't established tighter controls for deli meats and hot dogs.
     A mixture of six bacteria-killing viruses can be sprayed on meat and poultry to combat common microbes that kill hundreds of people a year. The mixture of special viruses, called bacteriophages, would target strains of Listeria monocytogenes, the Food and Drug Administration said in declaring it is safe to use. The viruses are designed to be sprayed on ready-to-eat meat and poultry products just before they are packaged. The bacteria they target can cause a serious infection called listeriosis, primarily in pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems.
   Common sources of listeria include: Prepared deli meats and hot dogs. Refrigerated meat spreads and pates. Unpasteurized milk and other dairy products. Brie, camembert, feta and other cheeses that may be made with unpasteurized milk. Smoked, refrigerated seafood. Raw vegetable sprouts.

Traveler's diarrhea is the most frequent health problem in travelers to developing countries. Traveler's diarrhea is caused by a wide range of infectious organisms, ETEC and EAEC E coli bacteria strains being the main enteropathogens incriminated in traveler's diarrhea. Other causative bacteria are: Shigella spp., Campylobacter spp., Vibrio spp., Aeromonas spp., Salmonella spp., and Plesiomonas spp.

Bacteria in Whirlpool, Hot Tub, or Jacuzzi
Better think twice before soothing those aching muscles in a whirlpool bath or hot tub. Whirlpool bathtubs can be a breeding ground for a host of disease-causing bacteria. Every hot tub tested has some kind of bacterial or microbial growth. In most hot tubs, bacteria derived from feces are present, while four fifths have fungi and a third contain potentially deadly staphylococcus bacteria.

Pneumococcal Bacteria
A pneumonia vaccine seems to save the lives of older adults who become so ill that they are hospitalized, even if does not prevent them from getting pneumonia. Hospital patients who had been vaccinated were 40 to 70 percent less likely to die than unvaccinated patients, or those who could not remember whether they had been vaccinated. The vaccinated patients had a lower risk of respiratory failure, kidney failure, heart attack or other complications. Giving adults a vaccine against pneumococcal bacteria has been controversial.

Salmonella are the cause of most food borne illnesses.

Tetanus bacteria
Tetanus is a nervous system infection that leads to severe and painful muscle spasms. It's caused by bacteria commonly found in soil, dust and animal waste.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria usually attack the lungs but the tuberculosis bacteria can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine, and brain. If not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. TB disease was once the leading cause of death in the United States.

Tularemia
Rabbit fever, or tularemia, an uncommon infection with a bacteria, could be making a comeback. The bacterial disease can infect humans but is rarely fatal. There have been seven human cases of tularemia reported in Texas since 2002. People can contract the disease by direct contact with an infected animal or carcass via broken skin, the bite of an infected flea or tick, eating infected meat or inhaling the bacteria. Tularemia was a reportable disease - or one considered to be of great public health importance - in humans until 1992, when it was taken off the list. However, it was placed back on the list in 2002 due to bio-terrorism concerns. Tularemia is highly infectious, can be contracted from a small number of bacteria (10 to 50 organisms), and the bacteria could potentially be made airborne so they could be inhaled. Symptoms of tularemia usually appear three to five days after exposure. They include sudden fever, headaches, diarrhea, muscle aches, joint pain, dry cough, progressive weakness, ulcers on the skin or in the mouth and swollen or painful lymph glands.

A List of Dangerous Bacteria:
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a type of “staph” bacteria that resist many antibiotics.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Klebsiella bacteria species, which are major causes of infections in the urinary tract, digestive system, and wounds.
Acinetobacter baumannii, a growing cause of hospital-acquired pneumonia.
Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faceium, a source of blood infections with high rates of drug resistance.
Pseudomans aeruginosa, a bacterial infection that can be life-threatening in people with weak immune systems.

Bacteria Infection Treatment is with antibiotics.