It’s no secret that antibiotics are often overprescribed. The CDC estimates that about half of antibiotic prescriptions are unnecessary or even inappropriate. Although antibiotics have greatly reduced deaths from many life-threatening diseases over the past 75 years, these drugs have been used so often that infectious organisms are becoming increasingly resistant to them.
Antibiotic resistance has become a big problem in the U.S. At least 2 million people become infected with resistant bacteria each year, leading to a whopping 23,000 million deaths.
When antibiotics won’t work, how do we kill infectious microbes at the source?
Garlic Found to Kill Off Antibiotic-Resistant Infections
One delicious little bulb loved by taste buds around the world may be one solution to the problem: garlic! A recent study looked at urinary tract infections (the second most common infection Americans get) and their increasing resistance to two common antibiotics: Ciprofloxacin and Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole. Researchers found that garlic extracts were effective at killing off several drug-resistant UTI strains.
Specifically, 56% of 166 bacteria strains isolated from the urine of people with UTIs were highly resistant to traditional antibiotics. However, once exposed to a crude liquid extract of garlic, 82% of the antibiotic resistant bacteria died off. Not bad for a humble botanical!
Repopulate the Gut with Beneficial Bacteria
After your body draws out the power of garlic to get rid of bad bacteria, it’s just as important to put good bacteria back in. Repopulating the gut with probiotics helps prevent infectious bacteria from taking hold in the future.
In fact, one study found that taking probiotics cut the number of self-reported UTIs in half in postmenopausal women. Probiotics are an important preventative to consider, especially because people who get bacterial infections like UTIs tend to experience recurrent symptoms.
Clearly, the call is to rely on probiotics to prevent, and garlic to treat bacterial infections before turning to antibiotics so your body has less opportunity to become resistant!
4 Tips for Preventing Painful UTIs
- Take vitamin C. Vitamin C may also help prevent UTI recurrence, as it makes the urine more acidic and therefore undesirable to nasty bugs. Vitamin C can even help when bad bugs have already set up camp in your urinary tract.
- Avoid trigger foods. Some foods feed bad bacteria and can cause irritation in the bladder, making matters worse. Ditch caffeine, alcohol, sugar (& simple carbs!) carbonated drinks, artificial sweeteners, and even spicy foods when battling a UTI.
- Drink cranberry juice. Natural 100% cranberry juice can help lessen the duration of UTIs by preventing bad bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls.
- Try berberine. Berberine can be found in many plants, including goldenseal, Oregon grape, barberry, and turmeric. Its natural antibacterial properties make it effective at inhibiting the growth of nasty pathogens, including E. Coli.