Downside to Antibiotics?
What supplements are useful when on long-term antibiotics such as amoxicillin and doxycycline, for continuing treatment of Lyme disease? Thanks so much!
A round of antibiotics is a logical treatment for your condition. An organism called Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried by deer ticks, causes Lyme disease. The disease is poorly understood, but it's usually treated by up to one month of antibiotics. These should eradicate the organism if they're administered at the right time.
You're right, though, to be cautious about the side effects of antibiotics. Along with the harmful invaders, antibiotics also destroy the beneficial flora in your gut, and can encourage problems like the development of resistant organisms in your body.
You're going to need to restore the helpful organisms in your digestive tract. You can do this by taking supplemental acidophilous. This is the general name for dried or liquid cultures of the living bacteria that protect the intestine. Make sure the acidophilous is viable; check the expiration date. Take one tablespoon of the liquid culture or one to two capsules after meals, unless the label directs otherwise. I would take steps to restore "friendly" cultures using acidophilus even if on antibiotics for just a few days.
Long-term, antibiotics like doxycycline can sensitize people to light, so be careful about sun exposure. Antibiotic therapy can also weaken the immune system, because it can keep the body from engaging in the kinds of battles that make it stronger. It can encourage the development of resistant organisms that learn to survive alongside the antibiotics over time. This affects not only you, but contributes to the general and widespread problem of pathogenic organisms becoming resistant to antibiotics, which leaves people with far fewer options when they really need a knockout treatment.
That's why I generally encourage people to look for alternatives to antibiotics, depending on the problem. For example, long-term antibiotic therapy for acne isn't very wise. I would look instead to Chinese medicine for treatments. I would reserve antibiotics for situations that really require them, such as bacterial infections in vital organs or fast-moving infections that the immune system can't contain.
Depending on the problem, there are natural antibiotics that may be useful. Garlic, for example, has some powerful activity against fungal infections - and works against bacteria and viruses as well. You must eat it raw - I recommend one to two cloves of garlic a day for people with chronic infections. Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower, is another good antibiotic substitute for colds and the like. You can buy echinacea in the health-food store and some drug stores. Taste it to make sure it's fresh - check for a numbing sensation on the tip of your tongue. Then follow the instructions on the product, or use one dropperful of the tincture in a little warm water four times a day.