Gut Health

Antibiotic Resistance: Here's Why we Could be Entering a Post-Antibiotic World (PODCAST)

We were honored to be featured on another amazing episode of Healing Quest Radio with hosts Roy Walkenhorst and Judy Brooks. 

Below is the interview and a link to the podcast. Enjoy getting educated on this very important epidemic!

Roy Walkenhorst: Hello, and welcome back to Healing Quest, I'm Roy Walkenhorst.

Judy Brooks: And I'm Judy Brooks. You know, our focus here on Healing Quest is optimum health and integrating medicine. And one of the scariest developments in the health world in recent years has been the emergence of bacteria that are like resistant to antibiotics. So we've talked about it here on many occasions. And it's a growing concern. But now, a potential all-natural solution to part of the problem just maybe be emerging.

Roy Walkenhorst: It comes in the form of something else you've heard us talk a lot about here. A probiotic. So it may be turning out that probiotics not only keep our digestive system healthy and do all kinds of other wonderful things for us, they may also be disease fighters against some really scary diseases like staph infections, also known as MRSA. Which can be life-threatening. I mean, in fact, 53% of staph or MRSA infections in the U.S. right now are resistant to antibiotics.

Judy Brooks: So we've asked microbiologist Kiran Krishnan from Just Thrive Probiotics to discuss what he thinks could be a major development in natural health. So, Karen, thanks so much for joining us today.

Kiran Krishnan: Always a pleasure to be with you guys. Thank you for having me.

Roy Walkenhorst: So, how big a deal do you think this is?

Kiran Krishnan: It's absolutely huge. As a microbiologist or anyone who's in the clinical space, one of the scariest notions is that we may end up living in a post-antibiotic world.

Judy Brooks: Oh my goodness.

Kiran Krishnan: You know, antibiotics can be argued to be one of the most profound discoveries in medicine. Like the discovery of penicillin and beyond. And we have in the world of science where ... Like people denote in culture a before Christ and after Christ as the way you measure, you know, major events ... We measure major events as a pre-antibiotic and post-antibiotic world.

Kiran Krishnan: Right. So pre-antibiotic discovery, the vast majority of people died from bacterial infections. And it was simple stuff. It was dysentery. You'd get a simple gut infection and you would die. You'd get a sinus infection and you would die. You would step on a thorn and get a little infection in your foot and you'd end up dying from that. All of those things became a non-issue once we discovered antibiotics.

Kiran Krishnan: Once you've discovered antibiotics and all of those deaths from those simple infections that cause havoc in the population, all of those were alleviated. But then we went full board the other way, where we're using antibiotics for everything and overusing it quite dramatically. Even the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, has a program out to urgent care/primary care physicians to try to reduce the number of antibiotic prescriptions by over 50% in the next few years.

Roy Walkenhorst: Wow. Wow.

Kiran Krishnan: Right? So even the Center for Disease Control is saying, "Hey, we are writing way too many antibiotic prescriptions typically for non-bacterial infections." And that's why we end up with all of these resistant issues. And if we become colonized by bacteria that are resistant to all modern day antibiotics, we could die from very simple things like a cut or a bruise or, you know, a minor infection that could turn deadly very quickly.


Roy Walkenhorst: So, the research that led us to call you actually I don't think has gotten a lot of attention. It was done at The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is part of The National Institutes of Health. I didn't realize there are 27 institutes in The National Institutes of Health. And it's part of The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. So this is ... These are government scientists that have discovered this, right?

Kiran Krishnan: Yeah. International consortium of government scientists. So these types of scientists have laboratories and collaboration with universities and other research institutes all across the world. The largest research organization in the world is the NIH, The National Institutes of Health. And then all of their other divisions.

Kiran Krishnan: So, this is at the highest levels of scientific research. And that's what's so amazing about this study. When I first came across it ... And I had some inclination a couple of years ago that they were doing this study. I'd spoken to somebody who works with the NIH that had talked about it because they know I'm involved in probiotics and spores. And it was so exciting to see this study come out.

Roy Walkenhorst: So if I'm getting this right, in a sports metaphor, I've always thought of probiotics as kind of ... they're on defense. But now, it turns out that in this case, they could be on offense, which is to say that they could then really kind of deal with the MRS and the staph infection. Am I getting that right?

Kiran Krishnan: You have it, yeah. Absolutely. And again, that's certain types of probiotics. Because what they found in the study is they looked at several hundred people and they looked at numerous body sites. They started swabbing, you know, their mouths, their skin. They're looking at stool samples and so on to figure out how many people in this population ... I think the total number was a few hundred that they looked at ... How many people colonized with antibiotic-resistant staphylococcus?

Kiran Krishnan: And so what they found was that they found quite a high dramatic number that was actually high in staphylococcus colonization, but all of the people that were not colonized with staphylococcus also had colonization by a single protective probiotic strain. And that single protective probiotic strain was bacillus subtilis. That's the main spore-forming probiotic strain that we work with and that we've worked with in the Just Thrive product and other products that we've helped develop.


Kiran Krishnan: And so that was the only difference that they found. The people that did not have antibiotic-resistant strains living in and on their body ... Which at any time can cause a severe infection ... They had high levels of this probiotic bacillus subtilis spores, which has been shown to be protective against these harmful bacteria.

Judy Brooks: If you're just joining us, I'm Judy Brooks.

Roy Walkenhorst: And I'm Roy Walkenhorst. You're listening to Healing Quest. And we're talking about what looks like a major development in how probiotics may be able to protect us against superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. You know, as a matter of fact, I'm holding in my hand right now ... I don't often read supplement facts on the sides of products, but I've got one here for your Just Thrive. And it looks like, yeah, bacillus subtilis is one of I think four or five that you guys use to make Just Thrive.


Kiran Krishnan: And it's one of the main strains. And one of the reasons why we have that of the four strains, that's the highest amount. One of the reasons we formulated the product that way was because that strain is so protective to the human host. There are numerous other studies, even before this large-scale study that came out. Numerous other studies that show that that strain can fight off E. coli infections, H. pylori infections, Clostridium difficile infections.

Kiran Krishnan: So, we've know for some time that that strain is really protective and plays an offensive role in our system, like you said, to protect us against really harmful bacteria. But it was quite profound to see that those that had colonization by this protective strain actually had no colonization by antibiotic strain. And those that did not have this protective strain in their system had high levels of the antibiotic strain, or at least presence of the antibiotic strain. So it's a huge affirmation for how important this type of protective probiotic is.

Judy Brooks: I have a question. We're almost out of time. But that is, if somebody already has an infection ... So it's not something that they've managed to ward off ... Should they be taking maybe a larger dose of the Just Thrive probiotic than they would normally be taking? Like, I take two a day just because I'm trying to protect myself. Does it work-

Kiran Krishnan: Yeah, absolutely.


Judy Brooks: When you're already sick?

Kiran Krishnan: Yes. And it does, you know? So for example, I travel a lot for what I do. And there's been a few times over the last few years where I've been in a country where I've eaten something and it causes a GI issue. So I know, "Okay, I must have eaten something contaminated or something." And I up my dose to about four caps at once.

Roy Walkenhorst: Wow.

Kiran Krishnan: And that usually just knocks it right out.

Judy Brooks: Oh, good.

Kiran Krishnan: And so it absolutely makes scientific sense to be able to increase your dose if you're undergoing an acute condition. And even if it's a viral condition, because these bacteria upregulate your immune response so well that even if you have a flu or a cold or a viral infection, it can help protect against that.

Judy Brooks: Great. Well, thanks Kiran. We've been talking with Kiran Krishnan about research indicating that a certain kind of probiotic can combat staph infections, superbugs, and those kinds of things that are now unfortunately becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Roy Walkenhorst: Let me tell you, I'm hoping we're going to hear a lot more about this in the months and years ahead as more research indicates just how terrific this is. So we can really begin to deal with these superbugs that are a big concern.

Judy Brooks: Well, as usual, he gives us a lot to think about. 

Roy Walkenhorst: Definitely. Leading up to our conversation, the statistic is that 53% right now of staph or MRSA infections in the U.S. are resistant to antibiotics.

Judy Brooks: That's ridiculous.

Roy Walkenhorst: Let me tell you what happens. If it's not treated, the staph or MRSA infection can lead to sepsis, which is your system shutting down and you die.

Judy Brooks: Well, first of all, staph infections are really hard to kill anyway.

Roy Walkenhorst: Exactly.

Judy Brooks: And unfortunately, a lot of times we get those if you're in the hospital and MRSA. And if you're traveling, a lot of people are on planes and that's where you can pick up a lot of these bugs. I know I've doubled up on my probiotics just because I want to keep my immune system a little bit healthier.

Judy Brooks: And especially, it's cold and flu season. There are all kinds of reasons for you to be giving yourself a little extra protection. And the spore-based probiotic we're talking about is Just Thrive. Roy and I have been taking this for a couple of years now. I've taken probiotics for years and I've never had one that has made me feel as good as this one does.


Roy Walkenhorst: And in our interview, Kiran mentioned that there are all kinds of strains of probiotics, but this category of them called bacillus - those are the ones with spore protection, which enables them to get all the way down into the part of your intestine where they can really do good.

Judy Brooks: And they can withstand heat and cold. They are built to get into your digestive system. Unfortunately with a lot of probiotics, they just don't make it through all of the acid in your stomach.

Roy Walkenhorst: The gastric barrier it's called. But the other amazing thing about the spore-based probiotics is that they also help the body naturally produce antioxidants once they get into the small intestine. And again, the antioxidant thing is really important. We're going to talk about it in this next section where we talk about a superfood. But we all need as many antioxidants as we can to keep our cells healthy as long as possible.