What Can You Do to Counter E. coli?
Majid Ali, M.D.
Does a farmer ever address concerns about seeds without addressing those of the soil? A farmer is likely to look askance if posed this question. Seeds enter his consciousness once in the planting season and then recede until the next season. So the question would seem trivial. He is likely to dismiss it with a knowing smile as parents often do with questions from their toddlers.
How often do doctors address concerns about the “soil” of their patients—the gut, blood, liver, and other body organs—when treating infections? Many of them are likely to be irritated by the question. They know that the matters of that soil require ecologic thinking and integrative acting. However, that is outside the professional standards they are required to follow. There are no drugs that can nourish and detoxify the gut, blood, and liver. Nor are there any surgical procedures to nurture any other tissues. So, the talk of nutrition, detox, and environment is unsettling.
Lessons of Epidemics
What should epidemics teach doctors? In the past, epidemics taught some important lessons about the microbes but more often the lessons concerned the environmental conditions—poverty, squalor, and malnutrition—that led us to advances in personal hygiene, public health, and social changes. Now the darkening clouds of climatic chaos, oxygen dysfunctions, and oceanic acidification are raising altogether new specters of global epidemics. Now, the imperatives of the soil (internal and external environment) are far more compelling than those of the seeds (microbes).
Microbial epidemics, in my view, call for serious consideration of the following two elements:
? What is different between those with weakened anti-microbial defenses who sicken and die from the other hundreds of thousands who are exposed but remain healthy?
? What can people do to strengthen their anti-microbial defenses to ward off the microbes in and )epidemic (as well as non-epidemic) setting?
I devoted my book The Rooster, the Flu, and the Imperial Medicine of the New Empire (2006) to these subjects. Below, I outline simple measures (described fully in the Rooster) which people can consider in enhancing their anti-microbial defenses.
Simple Ways of Strengthening Anti-microbial Defenses
Many natural remedies are generally convenient and available for preserving normal bowel flora and bowel ecology. Following are my preferences that may be used in any combination. Rotation in spices and herbs is desirable for long-term use.
☞ Optimal hydration (see article “Are You Dehydrated?”)
☞ Probiotics taken as yogurt and keifer (goat milk products are more desirable).
☞ Infla-oil rubs (natural anti-inflammatory oil) on the abdomen.
☞ Sugar elimination to avoid gut fermentation and production of yeast toxins that poison oxygen-driven anti-microbial defenses.
☞ Vigorous avoidance of constipation (the above steps and extra magnesium and potassium are helpful except for people with kidney failure.)
☞ Spices for gentle daily bowel and liver detox (turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumen, coriander, and oregano oil are my preferences).
☞ Herbs for preserving healthy gut microbiota (echinacea, astragalus, burdock root, golden seal root, artemesia, and pau D’Arco are my preferences).
☞ Prevention and control of common viral and bacterial infections
☞ Feather breathing for reducing stress and obtaining more oxygen (See my article entitled “Fewer Breaths, More energy.)
The 2011 E. coli Epidemic
The 2011 E. coli outbreak swept Europe and within weeks became the deadliest on record. By early June, it sickened thousands in nine countries, killed many, and spread to other continents. There was the expected flurry of news stories which chastised regulators and Congress for passing, but not funding, the Food Safety Modernization Act in December, 2010.
In 1993, Americans were introduced to the idea that E. coli, a bug that lives in colons—human, bovine, and other animal species—could contaminate their hamburgers and prove fatal in some cases. The E. Coli O157:H7 strain of the species was recognized as the dragon—politicians and journalists love dragons, don’t they?—and a federal law was enacted to require internal cooking temperature of 155 degrees for meat. Soon after that officials identified six other coli dragons (dubbed by food safety experts as the Big Six (non-O157s in microbiological lingo) and the search was on for them in lettuce, tomatoes, berries and other produce in addition to ground beef. The E. coli strain responsible for the 2011 European outbreak appears to be caused by yet another mutant.
Clinical Features of E. coli Infections
The initial symptoms of E. coli O157:H7, the stain associated with food-borne infections in the past, often are:
☞ Nausea and vomiting,
☞ Abdominal pain,
☞ Diarrhea, watery at first, often bloody later,
☞ Stomach tenderness (pain to touch), and
☞ Kidney involvement with blood in the urine and rapidly progressive kidney failure with a condition called HUS (hemolytic-uremic syndrome), is the usual cause of death in fatal cases.