Why Antibiotics Are Used In Meat, The Side Effects, And How To Naturally Counter These
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Why Antibiotics Are Used In Meat, The Side Effects, And How To Naturally Counter These

This article was written as a response to the question:
Why meat farmers use antibiotics, how it affects consumers, and how to counter side effects naturally.

Everyone knows that antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial infections. Many also know that these are also frequently prescribed for viral infections, even though viruses are impervious to antibiotics. However, humans are not the only ones being treated. Cattle, poultry, and pigs raised for the purpose of human consumption are given antibiotics as well.

Why Does Our Meat Need Antibiotics?

Realistically, there is no reason for these animals to be treated. Animals raised for their meat are sometimes treated because they become sick. However, it has been revealed that commercial providers of meat do not properly take care of their livestock. They are crammed into tiny enclosures; this prevents them from getting exercise and is extremely unsanitary. They have to live in their own waste. They are also not fed properly. They are often fed other animals and even the meat of their own species. Therefore, properly kept animals would be healthy and would not need antibiotics.

Even livestock that do not fall ill are treated. Small, long term doses of antibiotics cause the animals to gain weight. More weight means more meat, which means a bigger profit for the farmer. But long term doses lead to unhealthy animals and unhealthy people.

The Side Effects Of Antibiotics

The word antibiotic directly translates to "against life". Antibiotics destroy harmful bacteria and naturally occurring, beneficial bacteria. This is the main flaw.

The immune system would normally destroy harmful bacteria; antibiotics take over this function, causing that part of the immune system to weaken. This concept is similar to muscular atrophy; when a muscle remains unused for an extended period of time it begins to deteriorate. This applies to the bacteria fighting aspect of the immune system.

More dangerous yet is the mutation of bacteria; once a harmful bacterium is exposed to an antibiotic, it mutates and becomes resistant to it. This results in infections that cannot be fought by antibiotics or the immune system, because the antibiotics have weakened the body's natural ability to fight bacterial infection. This almost always leads to the need of some other treatment, which has its own negative effects.

Antibiotics must be processed through the liver. The liver is the major filter of the body, and extended antibiotic consumption damages it. This decreases its ability to filter toxins, which creates a build up in the system. That creates a whole other set of health problems.

Most people are not prescribed antibiotics for an extended period of time. However, despite the growing popularity of vegetarianism, many people still eat meat. Unless their meat is free range and organic, or says "antibiotic free", they are consuming antibiotics every day. Most people who eat meat eat quite a bit of it. This build up of antibiotics leads to a very weak immune system amongst other possible health issues.

How to Counter The Side Effects

Most people cannot afford organic or even antibiotic free meat. However, there are two ways to combat the effects that work the best in conjunction with each other. The first option is to eat less meat, the second is to consume more probiotics. Those reluctant to decrease their meat consumption can still remain healthy, but they will need more probiotics than someone who decided to eat less meat.

The word probiotic means "for life". Probiotics increase the beneficial bacteria in the system. Healthy bacteria produce essential vitamins and minerals while helping to extract these from food. B vitamins are a particularly important group provided by bacteria. These improve digestion and convert food into energy, preventing fat storage. These also enhance the metabolism and increase energy. Most importantly, these destroy harmful bacteria. Yogurt and other fermented foods are rich in probiotics, and the nutrition labels will identify which varieties of bacteria the product contains. Different varieties have different benefits. For example, the probiotics found in yogurt specifically aid in digestion and regularity.

Kombucha, a fermented Chinese tea, is extremely rich in a variety of probiotics. It is available in many flavors, though many people choose to brew their own. Kombucha contains a undetectable amount of alcohol (less than .005%), although it does taste a bit like vinegar. This is why it is often flavored with fruit, because most people do not like the taste plain. It is available at any health food store, and many large grocery stores. It is also available online.

There are many foods and beverages that contain probiotics. A combination of the many available consumables will promote the immune system, metabolism, and general organ function. Most importantly, it will reverse the negative effects of the antibiotics. People may not be able to eliminate the antibiotic filled meat from their diet, but they can stay healthy by regularly consuming probiotic rich foods.

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Comments (1)

In the second paragraph of this article you draw an invalid conclusion: namely, that if animals are kept properly they would be healthy and not need antibiotics. This is absurd on its face. Even free range animals kept in the best of conditions can get sick. Antibiotics given properly do not endanger the health of those who eat the meat. I am not aware of any cattle rancher that gives antibiotics to animals that are not sick. That is a waste of money. Those who are concerned need to understand that even "natural" or "organic" beef, chicken, etc. may be treated with antibiotics, but only sparingly and only when necessary. Its not economical for a grower to allow disease to spread through their livestock and often - in the case of a single cow - represents a large investment that they must protect. Slaughtering livestock because they are sick rather than treating with antibiotics represents capital losses that are unnecessary and irrational.