Antibiotics and Autoimmunity, what is the connection? Autoimmune Disease has been on the rise in the past decades, with millions suffering from conditions as diverse as autoimmune thyroid disease, also known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, to the more obvious and visible disease of Rheumatoid Arthritis. All of the autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the body’s own immune system attacks itself. But what has been baffling scientists is why the incidence of autoimmunity is skyrocketing in western countries.
One answer could be the virtually universal use of antibiotics, and in particular the Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics. If you are unaware of the damage this class of antibiotics can do, please read our Introduction to Fluoroquinolones and then check the List of Fluoroquinolones to see if yours might be on the list.
The World of Microbes in Your Gut
There is literally an entire world of microbes in your gut that perform thousands upon thousands of functions including the production of various nutrients, being part of the immune system, and much more that we are completely unaware of at this time. It’s even hypothesized that up to 75% of the immune system resides in the digestive tract, much of is the GALT, or Gut Associated Lymphatic Tissue, that has close associations with the massive amount of Good Bacteria that reside in the gut.
Some of these microbiota are responsible for the promotion or suppression of inflammation in specific instances, such as when the host is exposed to harmful bacteria or parasites. While there are many complex systems that trigger gut bacteria to either protect from or promote inflammation and other processes leading to inflammation, it is necessary to have a healthy gut microbiome to have protection from autoimmunity 12.
There is emerging literature on the role of the microbiota in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disease, with clear and increasing evidence that changes in the microbiota are associated with some of these diseases. 3
How Do Antibiotics Come into Play?
Antibiotics figure into this because they indiscriminately kill off many of the ‘protective’ microbiota of the gut and allow ‘bad’ microbes to flourish that may be more likely to promote autoimmunity. Indeed, in the case of Celiac Disease, only a fraction of those with the genes for Celiac will ultimately develop the disease. Studies on those with Celiac show higher levels of gut bacteria such as Clostridium species 4 that are known to proliferate from the use of antibiotics.
The Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are a group of antibiotics that have been alleged to be particularly damaging, with thousands of reports of tendon damage, neurologic problems, and a whole host of other problems. The fluoroquinolones are particularly adept at promoting the growth of a particular species of gut flora known as Clostridium Difficile, that can lead to anything from IBS, to the necessary surgical removal of the colon, to death5.
Additionally, the Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics have been implicated in ‘triggering’ at least three different autoimmune diseases, namely Myasthenia Gravis 6, an autoimmune blood coagulation condition Hemolytic Anemia 7, and an autoimmune Peripheral Neuropathy called Guillian Barre Syndrome 8. The Fluoroquinolones also trigger other types of neuropathies that are, at least in part, caused by their ability to cause Mitochondrial Issues.
Studies have shown that almost Half of All Antibiotic Use is Unnecessary; for instance, when prescribed for ‘upper respiratory infections’ (otherwise known as the common cold), Bronchitis, Prostatitis, and ‘presumed’ infections that turned out to not be infections at all, such as in the case of many Bladder Infections. A westerner today that fails to get a round of antibiotics prior to adulthood is a serious minority. Most of us can claim several, and even dozens of ’rounds’ of antibiotics into adulthood.
Could this ubiquitous use of antibiotics, many of them unnecessary, be contributing to the incredible rise in autoimmunity in western populations? While such a question will require more research to answer definitively, the preliminary evidence is pointing to this as an extremely strong possibility. So, do you REALLY need that antibiotic? Or are their safer alternatives you can choose that won’t damage your intestinal microflora, your collagen, your mitochondria, or cause painful nerve conditions.
If you are interested in learning more about the Fluoroquinolones and how to recover from these damaging drugs, we recommend getting The Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Solution. We have worked closely with the authors and were helped immensely by this book and the personal attention we received from them. After spending over $25,000 on doctors and treatments that did not work, we began following the protocol and recovered function more than doing anything else we tried.
We do receive a small commission for each book that sells through the links on our site, and we hope that, if you do choose to purchase this book, you’ll purchase it through our link to help us keep this site running and support our efforts at continuing to educate about the Fluoroquinolones, and help those who were damaged by them. We recommend the book because it worked for us and many others we’ve spoken to, and we highly value the information it contains.