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“Eventually antibiotics are going to be seen as one of the worst things to ever come out of pharmaceutical science because in the end, they have made us only weaker in the face of ever increasing strong super bugs that are resistant to all of the antibiotics doctors have at their disposal. When we look at how deep the rabbit hole goes with antibiotics, we will get sick to our souls. Antibiotics have fulfilled their anti-biotic anti-life role leaving a long trail of death and suffering in the wake of their use”

This is the introductory paragraph from the article “The end of antibiotics and the rise of iodine as an effective alternative” by Marc Sircus and printed in the recent volume of the New Zealand “Journal” of Natural Medicine. I think it is a perfect example of the flawed thinking common amongst those who promote “alternative” therapies.

First it ignores the fact that since their development antibiotics have saved millions of lives. Before antibiotics diseases such as pneumonia and staph infections were often fatal, while other infections such as syphilis resulted severe ongoing health problems.

Instead the article draws attention to some of the side effects of antibiotics (e.g. yeast infections) and tries to make tenuous connections between antibiotic use and diseases such as breast cancer, asthma, bowel disorders and autism.

The article points out that iodine “kills 90 percent of bacteria on the skin within 90 seconds” (obvious sound bite), but provides no literature to support this. Even if this were true, it ignores the fact that many infections would not easily be treated by topical application of iodine.

A few anecdotes are thrown in as “evidence”, and the article has a quite unfocused, meandering tone, moving from talking about the benefits of iodine to garlic, to magnesium chloride and to healing clays. No references are provided for any of the studies or “research” mentioned in the article and the author plays the silly little word games common to alternative therapy advocates, suggesting that antibiotics are bad because “anti-biotic” means anti-life. However, he overlooks the obvious fact that if iodine “kills single celled organisms” then it must be “anti-life” too. Personally, anything that kills harmful micro-organisms seems like a pretty good idea to me, even if it is intrinsically “anti-life!

The article also has the usual overtones of “conventional (real) medicine is bad and conspiring against us.

The lack of rational thought and coherent argument in this article may be tragic, but I am more concerned about the tragedies that might arise from someone putting their faith in the advice included in this article and failing to use antibiotics to treat a life threatening disease.