Happy Guide: 6 simple lifestyle changes for health and happiness

There are a thousand problems with just one solution: lifestyle.
 
Poor lifestyle over years and decades causes all kinds of health problems.
 
Drugs and other medical interventions aren’t a long-term solution because they don’t address the underlying causes. A lifestyle problem needs a lifestyle solution!
 
Being happy and healthy is NOT complicated, and health-seekers are being bombarded with unnecessary and misleading information.
 
It makes me so sad to see people trying all kinds of expensive pills, patches and potions in an attempt to correct symptoms of not living well.
 
The only true solution is to see the “happy and healthy” finish line clearly and then manage the “change” period carefully, so there’s no resistance and no feeling of denial.
 
My half-brother Michael Kinnaird went through a living hell for 13 years. Desperate for answers, he searched for a simple guide to being happy and healthy. Every one, without exception, was complex, unclear or incomplete.
 
To cut a long story short, he ended up writing it himself. It’s a simple one-hour guide that I’m delighted to say is transforming lives. It’s called Happy Guide.
 
You can read the first chapter “The Happiness Secret” for free, on our home page.
 
And because The Zeit seems to be very much on our wavelength, we’ve agreed to offer a half-price discount on the eBook version to all its readers, for the next 7 days!
happy-guide-look-inside
 
Visit Happy Guide   (use code zeit at eBook checkout for 50% off) 
This is not an affiliate link, The-Zeit get’s no commission.
 
 
To your health and happiness!
James Riddett
completely mess up your diet or detox!

Wrong Ways to Diet or Detox – Stop Doing This Now!

Diet versus detox – the confusion is real

 

detox vs diet

There is a difference between going on a short-term detox to reset your body (from eating heavier meals during the holiday) and dieting. The main difference is in the mentality and emotions we hold around a detox and around a diet.

I believe in general, a detox is temporary and comes from a grounded, loving, honoring and listening-to-your-body place, whereas dieting is intermittently continuous and never ending (on, off, & repeat) and comes from a self-punishing, shame-based, “hate-my-body” place. This is just my observation in my practice with clients and also with myself in my own experiences.

Self-torture will get you nowhere

However, a detox can be coming from a self-punishing place too if a person is not truly in-tuned with their mind-body-spirit connection, and is doing it just for the sake of “losing weight”. So the goal would be externally focused rather than internal– this too then would feel like torture. The accompanying thoughts are stemming from a place of body hate: “Ugh, I am so fat, I hate myself for getting so fat, why did I let myself get so fat?!”   So in other words, a cleanse in this case is just another form of “dieting”. To this individual, there is no expiry date with dieting. It’s just an endless cycle of being on the diet, then fall off the diet, then back on a diet (and sometimes, it’s on to the next fad diet).

dieting vs detoxing

In contrast, a detox, if coming from a loving place, would be more aligned with intuitive eating:

  • noticing the body feels bloated,
  • noticing the body is craving more fresh and whole foods again, and
  • honoring the body’s needs (e.g., more energy, better digestion, less mood swings, clear brain fog and increase mental alertness and clarity, improve quality of hair and skin, etc).

Implementing ‘body love’ is vital

love your body

The accompanying thoughts are one stemming from a place of body love: of “needing to care for myself, reset to optimize my health again because I deserve it”. The individual would expect this cleanse to be temporary and resume with ease normal eating behaviors again that support and optimize their health immediately afterwards. Notice there is no mentality about needing to “lose weight” (it is a side effect but it is not the main purpose of a detox).

So, let’s make it a goal to stop dieting, and start cultivating body love from the inside out.

I’ve struggled as a chronic dieter and binge eater for years and hated my body, and through my journey, I now have landed in a sacred place where I completely and wholehearted embrace and love myself and my body.

Want more?

Download my FREE Body Love Superfoods Checklist here and you can check out my

10 Day Body Love Detox Reset & Mindset Program too! 

 

10-day Body Reset Detox


Rosalyn Fung is a Registered Psychologist & Founder of Holistic Body Love. She is a wellness speaker, consultant, mentor, writer & blogger. Roz specializes in Holistic Nutritional Psychology in which she empowers people in their relationship with food, body image, weight, as well as digestion, fatigue, immunity and mood.

BODY IMAGE ISSUES AND COPING

What’s It Like to Have Body Image Issues?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

People who have Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) develop an obsession over some perceived or imaginary flaw in their physical appearance.

BODY IMAGE ISSUES AND COPINGThey mistakenly believe they are deformed and monstrous. This delusion can literally ruin their lives. Michael Jackson was a famous person who had it.  After therapy a person may know that they are not disfigured and monstrous. In fact, they can actually know that they are very pretty from all the compliments that they get. Even then, they may sometimes avoid mirrors, worry about lighting, and even fall back into the thought that, “Oh my god, they see it, they all see it, and they’re disgusted.”

How does it feel to have body image issues?

body image issues

Tanya Brooks 16 – High School Student

“To me it feels like I’m missing out on my own life. Like I’m missing quite a lot of what my peers are enjoying to the full; right in front of me and all around. Wherever I go, I see their slender, beautiful and fit bodies in their perfect coordinated outfits, with casual smiles all over their young and delighted faces and awfully perfect skin.”

Bart van Kippered 21 – Gamer

“Even though I stay in due to the pressure I feel when facing the world and its people, Facebook is there to remind me how all these constructed lives are cheerful and unconcerned, while I’m the exact opposite.

To me, it means I don’t go hang out with friends, I don’t go to the beach in the summer, and I never meet new people except through internet. I’m trapped in my own body. I simply cannot make myself do such things and let myself be exposed to the surroundings.”

Fiona Wild 28 –Volunteer Fire Fighter

“I get depressed every time I glance at my reflection in a mirror or walk by a shop window and get a glint of my own image. I simply don’t want to glance down at my body by accident. I can’t bear to look at myself and accept how awful I feel about my appearance.

When I am in intimate with my husband, it is never without having my self-hatred pound on me the entire time; every single time. I don’t get joy out of activities other people tend to enjoy. I therefore avoid them because I simply can’t handle them. I feel mortified and want no one else to see what I’m seeing when I look in a mirror.”

Do intelligent people worry about body image?

intelligent guy with body image issues

Intelligent people keenly understand the impact that their physical presentation can have on their lives. From an early age, we all realize that people who look a certain way tend to get treated differently in certain situations. You don’t believe this to be a fact? Read Teachers Give Better Grades to More Attractive Students: Study.
As one gets older, it becomes more apparent that, say, a boy looks athletic and strong will be less likely to be bullied. A girl with nice skin, straight teeth and a slender body is more likely to be popular amongst her peers. A teen with piercings and tattoos may not be taken seriously by the coach of the debate team.

Anyone who thinks the surface is an illusion is wrong. It’s true that we should strive to pay less attention to surface presentation, but we also cannot ignore its effects.

I am no Einstein, but yes, I would consider myself an intelligent person. I do loathe what the world has become: a place where image is considered more important than humanity. I do however realize that if I presented myself without concern to the way I appeared to others, I might not have an easy time getting a job, a life partner, or have my grievances heard in court.

The danger is when you start obsessing about it. Forgetting who you are and relegating yourself to be just a body, when actually your body is just a vehicle that carries who you are.you are a soul

How do I make my parents understand my body image issues?

how do i tell my parents

The lack of support from parents is a complex issue. You should however consider involving your doctor too. He should be able to help you get through to them if you ask him to explain to them the impact and distress your condition is causing you.

It’s possible that you your body is perfectly OK. That doesn’t mean that you’re not unhappy about what you perceive about your body. If that’s the case, your doctor will certainly be able to help.

Sometimes the problem has practical aspects too. If you’re actually overweight for example, and you are still living with your parents, then you’re probably expected to eat whatever meals and snacks they provide, which may not be a healthy diet.  Your doctor can advise them about improving their diet or at least be more conscious to your health needs.

Where can I get help for body image issues?

One may read 5 Ways to Deal With Body Image Issues or  10 Steps to Positive Body Image to better understand where they need to be to start recovery. Although helpful, you cannot just read these articles and switch off your Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) button. Go talk to a therapist. If you are still living with your parents, talk to them and help them understand what you are going through.

Here is a helpful organization that deals with body image issues; take action to today!

USA – Association and Depression Association of America

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Outside USA

http://treatment.adaa.org/finding-help/advanced-search/?ShowAdvanced=Y


 

Sweeteners in coffee

Stevia, Monk Fruit Extract, or Aspartame – Healthy or Not?

The Popularity of Artificial Sweeteners

We are all becoming more educated about reducing the total quantity of sugar in our diet for our better health, but are the sweetener-alternatives any better?  According to EatingWell.com, the artificial and sugar substitute industry is growing, topping $18 billion in 2019!  But do the artificial alternatives to sugar cause more sugar addiction and health problems?

sugar and sweetenersYou will find artificial sweeteners in the most inconspicuous packaged products. You expect them added to diet sodas, flavored yogurts, low-calorie ice cream, and diet candies. But would you expect them in fat-free salad dressings, high-fiber cereals, ketchup, or bread? When you add it all up in this product, that lunch, this snack; the quantity accumulates real fast.

Identifying Sweeteners in Your Food

sweetener ingredients supermarketIt’s important to know the names that artificial sweeteners go by:

  • aspartame,
  • acesulfame potassium,
  • saccharin,
  • supra lose, and
  • neotame.

You should also know the names of ‘natural’ sweeteners:

  • stevia leaf extract,
  • monk fruit extract,
  • and sugar alcohols such as erythritol,
  • and xylitol.

When looking at the ingredient listing of a product, look for these ingredients. All of these sweeteners have been FDA-approved, but there is some controversy from organizations such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) which question the impact all these additives on a body’s long-term health.

So Are Sweeteners Healthy or Not?

sugar alternatives verdictDo sweeteners help you lose weight or crave sugar even more? One study will prove that in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle they do help you reduce your overall sugar intake. Then there are opposing studies that say that those who consume sugar substitutes aren’t leaner, and are sometimes heavier!  What’s the solution?

Many nutritionist recommend utilizing sugar for sweeter swaps moderately and include more whole, unprocessed foods to your diet. Many people with gut sensitivity may increase their health symptoms if they consume aspartame, sucralose or saccharin. I personally had a doctor recommend this to me to improve my chronic digestive symptoms.

According to Joyce Hendley, Americans ingest a staggering 140 pounds of sugar substitutes annually. Any effort to improve reducing that number is health-beneficial.


Paula MaierI began Paula’s HealthyLiving.com to share my passion for staying fit, eating healthy and scheduling rest time.  As a 50 year old mother of 3, I understand that it can be difficult to make healthy meals, exercise and carve out time for you, while constantly doing this juggling act called, life!

Healthy eating and exercising on a regular basis gives me self-confidence and personal satisfaction.  I encourage my readers to eat whole foods instead of processed foods that are not as nutritious because that processing removes the nutritious elements in the food.  They do not help you achieve your body-shape or long-term health goals. When I cook my families’ food, I’m in control of the sugar, salt, and the type of oils used.

It is difficult to resist temptations of fast foods, desserts, soda pop, and skipping workouts, but by making a commitment to your ‘best health’, you can be successful! Change your view toward healthy foods as fuel for all your systems. Take control.  Educate yourself your family.

I don’t believe any ONE PERSON has all the answers.  Be open minded but critical.  Be logical, but have wild-abandon.  Know that baby steps begin before a sprint…and love yourself for trying!!!

Physical and mental health

Physical Fitness & Mental Health Connection for the Best You

It is a known fact that daily exercise is good for the body, but the recently discovered connection between physical and mental health might prove that exercise can be good for the mind as well.

Research has shown that exercise can help combat against mental ailments such as anxiety, ADHD, and depression. Likewise, exercise can help you:

  • sleep better,
  • improve your memory retention, and
  • improve your overall mood.

Although there is no set age to start becoming more physically active, it is best to engage in exercise and other physical activities as early as in your teens, according to medcarehealth.com.

After all, starting out early can help you grow and mature with a mind and a body that is ready for anything.

But, before I delve deep into the connection between mental and physical health, let’s start with a simple question:

What is health?

health lab mouseAccording to the World Health Organization (WHO), a person who is free from disease or disability is not immediately considered healthy. Instead, you must demonstrate physical, mental, and social well-being in order to be considered truly healthy.

Great, but how are those connected?

The Canadian Mental Health Association lists 3 concrete associations that demonstrate the connection between physical and mental well-being:

  1. Poor mental health increases the risk for chronic physical conditions.
  2. Patients suffering from serious mental ailments are at a greater risk of suffering from chronic physical conditions.
  3. Finally, people suffering from chronic physical conditions might also develop mental illnesses in the future.

These associations show that there is indeed a connection between physical and mental health.

Though there might not be a proven way to prevent these chronic illnesses from developing, acknowledging the relationship between your mind and body can help you minimize potential risks.

What benefits can you reap from exercise?

exercise-ballThe primary reason why you might choose to engage in more physical activities is to trim your waistline or to lose some pounds. However, exercise can provide you with so much more.

In a study that aimed to answer the question:” how does physical health affect mental health?”, researchers discovered that elderly adults who engage in regular exercise and are physically fit tend to possess much larger hippocampi than other people in their age group.

Wait, what is hippocampi?

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for your spatial memory. Maintaining this part of your brain even in your older years gives you a great advantage.

Does mental health affect physical ability?

Meanwhile, in a study conducted by researchers at the Bangor University in Wales, it was discovered that people who engaged in mentally draining activities before performing difficult exercise tests reached exhaustion much faster than those who were mentally relaxed prior to performing the physical task.

This study shows that one of the benefits of nurturing your mental well-being can also affect your physical strength and endurance.

Can exercise combat depression?

anxietyAccording to Jane Collingwood, author of The Relationship between Physical and Mental Health, those individuals suffering from depression often have worse physical health than those who are mentally healthy.

Likewise, patients suffering from chronic physical diseases are also likely to suffer from depression.

Just a little exercise goes a long way

Exercise, even in moderation, can greatly improve both the mental well-being and physical health of those suffering from depression.

Physical activity can help encourage positive changes in your brain such as a surge of endorphin or “feel good hormones”.

Regular exercise can also help distract you from any destructive or negative thoughts and allow you to find your inner peace.

Exercise relieves anxiety

While you might think that the physical benefits that you reap from exercise are the things that make you feel good, its effect on your mind are probably the more likely reason for your happy feelings.

Exercises such as weight training can ease the suffering of people who are living with anxiety by elevating their mood and reducing their feelings of irritability.

Remember: Even moderate daily exercise can contribute to improved long-term mental health.

Reaping the benefits of exercise

Benefits of exercise

photo by zirconicusso

As previously stated, you will not need to block off your entire day just to reap the mental and physical benefits of exercise. You will see a difference in 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.

Additionally, while it might take months before you see any significant physical changes after exercise, the mental boost that it can provide is almost instantaneous (Weir, 2011).

For this reason, it would be more beneficial if you learn to focus on how good you actually feel after your workout than to simply look for the physical rewards.

This is particularly important for patients who are suffering from stress or mild cases of depression and anxiety since focusing too much on your physical appearance would only worsen your condition.

Don’t delay another day: simple exercises to get started

One of the easiest ways to sneak some physical activities into your busy schedule is by taking a quick walk to or from your office. Exercise can enable your brain to better manage your stress levels.

The Key Takeaway: Sweating it out even from a brisk walk can help relieve you of your physical pain as well as make you feel more at peace.

Another easy way to get an energy boost is by hopping on a treadmill, jumping on a rebounder trampoline, or lifting a few weights at home or at the gym.

Regardless of your age, weight, or gender, all you really need is the motivation and determination to keep moving.

Exercise and mental health – the undeniable bond

There is a significant amount of proof that supports the connection between physical and mental health. Physically fit individuals are better able to handle stressful situations and those who are mentally healthy are able to handle more difficult physical tasks.

Therefore, it is important to nurture both your physical and mental health in order to reap all possible benefits for your mind and your body.

Want more great health information?

Visit the Rebounder Zone blog to learn more about how you can improve your mental and physical health today.

 

Sources

Breene, S. (2013). 13 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://greatist.com/fitness/13-awesome-mental-health-benefits-exercise
Collingwood, J. (2016). The Relationship between Mental and Physical. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-relationship-between-mental-and-physical-health/
Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Connection between Mental and Physical Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://ontario.cmha.ca/mental-health/connection-between-mental-and-physical-health/
Grohol, J.Psy.D (2009).The Connection between Mental & Physical Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/02/25/the-connection-between-mental-physical-health/
N.A. (2014). 5 Ways Physical Health Impacts Mental Health. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://fitstar.com/5-ways-physical-health-impacts-mental-health/
N.A. (2016). Research Shows Connection between Mental Health and Physical Fitness. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.medcarehealth.com/health-problems-prevention/research-shows-connection-between-mental-health-and-physical-fitness-2/
Robinson, L., Segal, J. Ph.D., & Smith, M. M.A. (2016). The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise:The Exercise Prescription for Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and More. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/exercise-fitness/emotional-benefits-of-exercise.htm
Weir, K. (2011). The exercise effect. Vol 42, No. 11. P.48. Accessed on June 30, 2016. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx

Leonard Parker is a health blogger and owner of the eCommerce store, RebounderZone.com. Rebounder Zone offers rebounder trampolines, health equipment, and health information to mature adults.

Leonard is a graduate of Stanford University and has worked in a number of roles as a consultant and digital marketing specialist. Rebounder Zone was started because Leonard saw first hand how exercise and healthy living can change lives, and he wants to help others experience this fantastic feeling, too. For any inquiries, please contact Leonard at leonard(at)rebounderzone.com.

How Health Experts Eat

How Health Experts Eat Healthy Without Going Broke!

Like health experts, you can eat healthy without going broke, too! A primary reason you and many others may prefer to skip healthy foods is their relatively high cost. Well, that might only be because you haven’t explored all of your options.

The Game Plan for Eating Affordable Healthy Meals

planning healthy eatingDon’t know where to start?

Start with a brilliant game plan. Prioritize inexpensive healthy eating. As the famous adage suggests, if there’s a will, there’s definitely a way.

By considering the nutritive content of food more, you can eat healthy without spending a fortune.

Since you take in the good foods (as opposed to the wasteful bunch), you’re helping your budget as well as your body.

As a publication in the British Medical Journal implies, it’s one of the “rules” that many health experts live by.

Other Strategies for Eating Healthy on a Budget

  • Choose gluten-free and organic foods since these are free of pesticide residues and harmful chemicals. For the same reason, avoid GE (or genetically engineered) foods.
  • Construct a meal plan according to your personal budget. Remember to be flexible for certain situations, but be disciplined in following it.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables. Bananas, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, oranges, pears, plums are affordable options.
  • Eliminate junk. This includes artificial low-fat ingredients, frozen meals, canned goods, potato chips, and ready-to-eat packages from the supermarket.
  • Go with tasty and nutritious food ingredients. Try adding avocado, grapefruit, mangoes, papaya, and sweet corn to your meals.
  • Plan your meals, but remember to be flexible. According to Harvard Health Publications, it’s recommended for meals to consist of 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% proteins, and 25% whole grains.
  • Simplify your meals. Do your best to stay away from processed foods and fancy “health treats”.
  • Stick to water. Coffee, milk, and tea are good, too. Avoid drinks with too much sugar such as sodas and “healthy fruit juices”.

Tricks for Affordable & Healthy Grocery Shopping

affordable groceryAn effective way of dodging costly meals with unhealthy food ingredients? Consider growing your own garden.

If you own a garden with loads of edible produce, you don’t have to spend a fortune on healthy ingredients. More importantly, it reduces the number of trips to the supermarket; shopping for herbs and spices, as well as fruits and vegetables, becomes unnecessary.

Moreover, due to increasing food prices, dietary plans that could lead to malnourishment may be preferred. Remember, even if you’re on a tight budget, you don’t have to disregard your health.

Granted you’re open to different options, you can still eat healthy without spending a ton of money.

More Healthy Shopping Ideas

  • Make use of discounts and special promos. Take note of the dates of supermarkets’ sales. Usually, you can shop for relatively low-cost foods during the holidays, clearance sales, and special occasions.
  • Buy in bulk. Buy for durations of weeks and in some cases, months. Usually, foods are relatively more affordable in bigger amounts.
  • Purchase meat that is close to its expiration. Assuming that preparation and cooking are done prior to spoilage, you can take advantage of up to 50% in  savings.
  • Visit your local farmers’ market. There  you will find a variety of healthy signature products. Since the prices aren’t usually fixed, shop wisely and don’t be afraid to negotiate.

Five Rules to Proper Storage of Your Healthy Food

Did you know that in the United States, up to 40% of foods end up going to waste? Consequently, millions of precious dollars go to waste.

Don’t let this be you!

It’s due to improper storage. Make sure to read expiration dates on labels. By keeping this in mind, as well as some steps on proper storage, you can eat healthy on a budget without having to unnecessarily replace your food.

Food Storage Rules

  1. Freeze fruits and vegetables (especially if you buy in bulk). When frozen, fruits and veggies remain at the peak of their freshness.
  2. Freeze poultry and raw meat; for this, allocate space in your freezer’s bottom shelf.
  3. Avoid putting anything in or with metal containers inside the fridge.
  4. Avoid storing fruits and vegetables together. Ripe fruits give off ethylene; ethylene is an organic compound that can slowly ruin fresh vegetables.
  5. Keep dried foods in glass jars. Make sure to seal the containers tightly.

The Power of Preparation: 3 Tips on Healthy & Economical Food Preparation

Success healthy foodOne clever way to eat healthy without spending a lot money is by storing food properly.

But, that’s not the end of it!

Using your creativity with available resources, you can enhance flavor, incorporate variety, and guarantee safe nutrition. It can be a time-consuming task, but for the sake of your health and your pocket, why disregard it?

Healthy Food Preparation Tips

  1. Add onions, bell peppers, and preferred natural spices when skewering meat portions.
  2. Olive or sesame oil add a distinct aroma to fried meals.
  3. Use honey as sweetener (instead of sugar).
  4. Use natural herbs for marinades; marinade an hour or so before cooking.

Is Eating Healthy Without Hurting Your Budget Possible? The Verdict!

health on a budgetSo can you eat healthy without spending a fortune? Can these meals also be delicious?

You can! Eating affordable healthy foods is only a matter of commitment. Whether you’re living on limited income or you’re trying to maintain a frugal lifestyle, cutting back on healthy meals shouldn’t be an option.

Moreover, remember to set realistic health goals. Granted that you’re willing to follow particular strategies, you can eat healthy without going broke!

 

Sources

How to Eat Healthy without Breaking the Bank. (n.d.)
Wiley, M. (2014, Jan. 4). Eat Healthy Without Breaking The Bank 
Smith, V. (2012, Oct. 24). Eat Healthy … Without Going Broke.
Blalock, M. (2014). Eating Healthy on A Budget: 5 Expert Tips That Make it Easy
Amen, T. (2016, Apr. 25). Eating Well without Breaking the Bank 
How to Eat Healthy Without Breaking the Bank. (2016, Mar. 1) 
How to Eat Healthy Without Breaking the Bank. (2011, Oct. 11) 
8 Steps to Eating Healthy Without Breaking the Bank. (2016, Mar. 23) 

 


Leonard Parker is a health blogger and owner of the eCommerce store, RebounderZone.com. Rebounder Zone offers rebounder trampolines, health equipment, and health information to mature adults.

Leonard is a graduate of Stanford University and has worked in a number of roles as a consultant and digital marketing specialist. Rebounder Zone was started because Leonard saw first hand how exercise and healthy living can change lives, and he wants to help others experience this fantastic feeling, too. For any inquiries, please contact Leonard at leonard(at)rebounderzone.com.

Superbug- The End of Antibiotics

Superbug: The End of Antibiotics? Are We All Going to Die?

What on Earth is a superbug?

Imagine having an incurable bacterial infection that doctors can’t stop from spreading. How long have you got to live? You are asking yourself, how this can be possible in the 21st century. The era of the superbug has dawned upon us. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2 million people get sick from a superbug every year, out of which 23,000 die.

How super is a superbug?

The term ‘superbug’ is a sensational one that has been coined by the media because it resonates by creating fear. We all know how the media loves a little bit of drama right? Brian K. Coombes, PhD, of McMaster University in Ontario explains:

Brian K. Coombes, PhD, of McMaster UniversityDoctors often use phrases like “multidrug-resistant bacteria.” That’s because a superbug isn’t necessarily resistant to all antibiotics. It refers to bacteria that can’t be treated using two or more.

And yes, on the 27th of May the case of a 49 year old woman with a superbug that beat even the last-resort antibiotic was all over the news:

CNN Superbug

However as the article on CNN’s website shows, it all ended well:

Cnn Superbug cure

So no big deal right?

Wrong! Let’s not even think of belittling the situation. The threat is real, and 23,000 deaths a year is no joke. Besides, antibiotics are the backbone of modern medicine.  Here is more from Brian K. Coombes:

Cancer chemotherapy, organ transplants, surgeries, and childbirth all rely on antibiotics to prevent infections. If you can’t treat those, then we lose the medical advances we have made in the last 50 years.

How do I protect myself from a superbug?

1. Avoid antibiotic misuse

Do not misuse antibiotics by taking them when you don’t need them or by not finishing all of your medicine. According to the CDC, this is the “single leading factor” contributing to this problem. Also know that the more antibiotics you’ve taken, the higher your risk of catching a superbug.

2. Stay alert in hospitals

The hospital is also a high-risk place to be. The more visits you to the hospital setting, the more you risk catching a superbug. In the hospital environment, you may catch a superbug through what experts call ‘healthcare-associated infections’ (HAIs).  According to the CDC,” Many of the most urgent and serious antibiotic-resistant bacteria threaten patients while they are being treated in healthcare facilities for other conditions, and may lead to sepsis or death.” So make sure the doctors and nurses are following the right protocol to avoid infections.

Please see the CDC infographic below:

Superbug antibiotic-resistance

 

3. Avoid antibiotic-tainted meat

The use of antibiotics in farm animals leads to an increased risk of antibiotic resistant infections in humans. Get your meat from your local farmers, it may be more expensive but it tastes better and is much safer.

how_antibiotic_resistance_spreads

What can science do to fight antibiotic resistance?

Anya Vanecek put this question out on Quora and we found the best answer for you. Mary Bushman who does research on resistance in malaria had the best answer. I have put it down word for word:

There are multiple ways we can manage antibiotic resistance. The following is a mix of current, well-accepted methods, as well as some ideas that are still being explored/tested.

1. Preserve the effectiveness of the drugs that still work

(a) Limit use of antibiotics (agricultural use and inappropriate prescribing, as well as over-the-counter availability in many countries) and encourage correct use (finishing the course of treatment).

(b) Prevent resistant bugs from infecting others (infection control in clinical settings, plus regular public health interventions to reduce transmission).

(c) Combination therapy – treating with multiple drugs simultaneously. Using two or more drugs makes it harder for resistance to emerge, since the bug would have to develop resistance to both drugs.

(d) Vary the selection pressure. The more consistently a drug is used, the more advantage there is in being resistant. Using a variety of drugs (by giving different drugs to different people or switching the “drug of choice” every few years) may help prevent or reduce resistance.

2. Develop new drugs

(a) Find drugs with mechanisms of action (ways of killing) that don’t overlap with current drugs. When drugs share a mechanism, resistance to one will often mean resistance to the other. Finding drugs that work in different ways helps avoid this, and also works better for combination therapy.

(b) Search for drugs that are hard to develop resistance to. As we learn more about how different drugs kill, and how resistance works, drug development can be smarter and more targeted (as opposed to random screening of thousands of compounds for antibiotic activity).

(c) Unfortunately, developing new drugs is expensive, and pharmaceutical companies weigh the cost of development against a new drug’s money-making potential. We badly need new drugs for malaria and tuberculosis, but since these are mainly diseases of “poor people” who can’t afford expensive new drugs, pharm companies consider it a bad investment.

3. Try to reverse existing resistance

(a) In some cases, when a drug stops being used because of resistance, the resistance will actually start to go back down. This is because of a “cost” of resistance, meaning when the drug is not there, the resistant types don’t do very well. An example is that chloroquine-resistant malaria is present in many places, but in a number of places where chloroquine is no longer used, the resistance has decreased. If we can control drug use enough to make this happen, we may be able to “save” some drugs that are losing their effectiveness.

(b) In some cases, there can be a “trade-off” with resistance to different drugs. You can be resistant to drug A, or to drug B, but not both. If resistance to drug A is very common, and you start treating everyone with drug B, the bug might evolve resistance to B, but would have to lose the resistance to A. So, you might be able to start using A again in the future. This won’t happen in every case, or even very often, but when it does happen it can be a neat solution.

See the original answers to”How do we solve antibiotic resistance?”

Conclusion

So we can conclude that antibiotic resistance is not the end of antibiotics. The superbug that just came to the U.S. is still treatable as I explained. We have been creating more and more resistant strains by misusing antibiotics, be it through direct consumption or through farm animals. Perhaps someday all bacteria will be resistant to all types of current antibiotics, but that just means we will have to discover a new type of cure.


Source:

Superbugs: What They Are and How You Get Them
Superbugs threaten hospital patients
A dreaded superbug found for the first time in a U.S. woman
New CDC report links factory farms to antibiotic resistance
Brian K. Coombes Profile