By Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
May 26, 2010
An important study from the JAMA published on February 18, 2004 revealed that women who have taken antibiotics are at increased risk for developing breast cancer. Ten thousand Dutch women were studied, including 2,266 who had breast cancer. As the number of prescriptions for antibiotics increased the risk of breast cancer steadily climbed. The women who had more than 25 prescriptions for antibiotics filled over a 17-year follow-up exhibited twice the incidence of breast cancer as women who took no antibiotics. The women who had fewer than 25 antibiotic prescriptions had a 50% greater risk than women who took no antibiotics. There did not seem to be any differences related to various types of antibiotics.
Research from Finland in 2000 involving 10,000 women revealed that women below the age of 50 who had taken antibiotics for urinary infections had an increased risk of breast cancer.
Having a healthy gastrointestinal tract is a key component for good health. All antibiotics kill healthy intestinal bacteria that keep our immune systems strong. When these bacteria are killed by antibiotic therapy, they are replaced in the intestines by more dangerous anaerobic bacteria, parasites, fungi, yeast and mycoplasma. We then become more likely to develop generalized infections from this greater population of undesirable organisms. Additionally, the escape from some of these organisms of neurotoxic substances released into the blood may lead to dysfunction of the endocrine glands (hypothyroidism, adrenal insufficiency) and neurological systems symptoms similar to (multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis etc). In addition, our ability to kill cancer cells is probably being compromised by decreased production of intestinal immune cells. More than 70% of our immune system cells reside in the intestines. Gastrointestinal bacteria also supply the body with important nutrients and vitamins. This function can also become compromised by the decrease in healthy gastrointestinal bacteria.