May 21st, 2003
Presented by Naturally Herbs

Inside This Issue

Feature Articles
Antacids - The Viscous Cycle

Resistant Bacteria Report Causes Alarm

Feature Product
Gastro Health







Software-Based Goal-Setting System







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Antacids – The Viscous Cycle

Two recent studies suggested there is a link to the use of prescription antacids such as Prilosex and Prevacid to ulcers and stomach cancer. For some of us, this isn’t news.

The studies built on the foundation that the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is responsible for most cases of stomach cancer. The studies discovered that the use of antacids may actually promote the growth of this and other bacteria.

Antacids are commonly prescribed and used to increase stomach pH (lower acidity) to fight ulceration of the stomach lining. It was once thought that this was the only cause of stomach ulcers. We now know that this isn’t true but medical doctors are a little slower to come around to this understanding.

Let’s take a look at how this works. John decides to go to the doctor because he is having stomach pains and acid reflux. His doctor, like the many millions of doctors out there, simply gives him a prescription for one of the popular drugs at the time and sends him on his way. John goes home, happy to be done with the symptoms. Everything seems to be going fine, though John has noticed a few side effects from the drug. Then, a few months or years later, John ends up in the emergency room with severe stomach pains. John has a severe bleeding ulcer and stomach cancer.

“But I have taken my prescription religiously!” John exclaims.

What John, and probably his doctor, didn’t consider is that the stomach produces acid to fight foreign invaders such as bacteria. When antacids are used to suppress the stomach acid, the bacteria are allowed to thrive. Our best efforts have done little more than offer the bacteria an environment to do more damage. Studies are now showing that this was the same bacteria that caused the problem in the first place.

It’s a viscous cycle.

What can be done?

1. Stop taking antacids. Consider that your symptoms are an indication that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Acid production is a necessary and normal occurrence.
2. Consider herbal alternatives to both kill the bacteria and control the symptoms.
3. As a last resort, talk to your doctor about prescription antibiotics to treat resilient strains of bacteria. Prescription antibiotics carry a whole other slate of problems and should only be considered when other paths have been exhausted.

You can stop contributing to the problem. You can see results you can live with.

About the Author:
Nicole Bandes is a trained Herb Specialist, Star manager with Nature's Sunshine Products and, most importantly, a Mom. She practices what she preaches and is a walking testimony to the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. She can be reached at

Gastro Health - NSP spent two years of intensive research evaluating various herbs in order to create this unique natural formula designed to inhibit the growth of dangerous Helicobacter pylori bacteria, the bacteria linked to ulcers. Gastro Health contains five herbs that support healthy digestive function. The first three—pau d’arco extract, clove powder extract and Inula racemosa—inhibit the activity of H. pylori, while safely leaving friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract. It also contains deglycyrrhizinated licorice extract (DGLE), which can help soothe stomach irritations, and capsicum. Click here to learn more or place your order now.

Resistant-bacteria reports cause alarm
Five cases are seen in Boston patients

By Stephen Smith, Globe Staff, 3/2/2003

Five men in Boston have been infected with a powerful, drug-resistant bacteria, strikingly similar to larger outbreaks in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Beginning last fall, doctors at the Fenway Community Health Center started seeing patients with pneumonia, sinus infections, and skin conditions caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus -- a germ normally caught only in hospitals by patients already seriously ill from other diseases.

The germ, known as MRSA, can elude a whole class of antibiotics, making the illness significantly more difficult to treat.

Its appearance in the general community has alarmed health authorities. All five of the men have been treated and recovered without lasting complications, but doctors are worried about the broader emergence of bacteria so wily that they can outrun the best drugs that medicine can produce.

''It's of great concern,'' said Dr. Scott Fridkin, a medical epidemiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ''The reports are becoming more frequent, and it appears to be a growing problem.''

Fenway physicians alerted the CDC about the cluster of cases, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has begun an investigation, hoping to establish whether the cases are linked and, if so, to identify a common source of infection. The men are all HIV-positive, but neither physicians providing treatment nor disease investigators can say with certainty that the patients' HIV status had anything to do with the bacterial infection.

''There's no clear, obvious link that we can pick up with this,'' said Dr. Stephen L. Boswell, executive director of the Fenway center. ''It could take months before we know what's going on here.''

Drug-resistant bacteria are especially perilous because people infected with them typically don't know -- and neither do their doctors. That means they're often started on main-line antibiotics, which do not work because the bacteria has found a way to get around that drug. In the meantime, the patients get sicker as the bacteria advances, until doctors find an antibiotic that will work.

And the threat is not limited to the patient with the original infection. That resistant bug can spread to other people, which can ignite a cascade of illness only treatable by more powerful pills or even antibiotics given intravenously.

Drug-resistant bacteria arrived in Boston in the late 1960s and early 1970s in hospital wards, said Dr. Alfred DeMaria, state director of communicable disease control, and they have remained chiefly a problem in hospitals. That's because patients are already sick, and many have undergone surgery, leaving them with incisions vulnerable to infection. ''What's really new is the degree to which they are turning up in community-acquired settings,'' DeMaria said. ''But I suppose it was sort of inevitable.''

On the West Coast, outbreaks of similar staph infections have stricken hundreds of patients, with 928 reported in Los Angeles County jails during 2002. And earlier this year, public health agencies in LA and San Francisco both reported clusters of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in those cities' gay communities.

Staph bacteria are pervasive, typically causing few problems. But if they invade a cut or other opening in the skin, they can cause painful skin infections, bone infections, pneumonia, and life-threatening blood conditions.

In the past, staph cases in the community have been treated with first-line antibiotics, such as Keflex. But it is exactly those sorts of drugs that some strains of the bacteria are outwitting.

''It's something we need to be on the outlook for and get better data on,'' said Dr. Anita Barry, director of communicable disease control at the Boston Public Health Commission.

To prevent further spread of antibiotic-resistant staph, specialists recommend many of the same measures used to stop other infections, including rigorous hand-washing. Patients with persistent skin infections are encouraged to contact their doctors, and they are urged to make sure that any sores are properly covered.

''The whole issue of antibiotic resistance is a huge problem for all of us,'' Fenway's Boswell said. ''And it's a problem that really needs to be addressed because it has huge public health implications.''

Stephen Smith can be reached at

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