Antibiotic Resistance and Natural Alternatives

| Modified on Jan 05, 2017

Natural Antibiotics to Kill Bacteria, Other Pathogens

Ongoing news reports highlight our increasing concern about the development of antibiotic resistance in MRSA, tuberculosis, and other infectious pathogens. Antibiotics for pneumonia and other conditions are becoming decreasingly effective because of the abuse of antibiotic treatments.

In fact, antibiotic resistance has been called a "ticking time bomb" by medical authorities.1 Very simply, when antibiotic users do not complete the full course of their treatment, some bacteria are allowed to survive, reproduce, and develop new abilities to resist our menu of antibiotic drugs. These resistant genes are then passed on through generations and even between species of bacteria. However, the sudden growth of antibiotic resistance has also been fueled by insufficient hospital safety practices and by the excessive use of antibiotics by farmers in the meat industry.

Mothers and fathers in particular may be concerned about antibiotics during pregnancy, as these drugs can be passed along to the developing child. In this and other cases, natural antibiotics are sometimes safer and healthier. Similarly, many Earth Clinic readers are concerned about antibiotics for sinusitis. Sinus infection antibiotics - due to the nature of recurrent sinus infections - can require repeated antibiotic treatments. This can increase the possibility of antibiotic resistance and claims a heavy toll on the body. In this case, natural antibiotic treatments such as with cayenne pepper may be superior for the sufferer and for society as a whole.

Natural Antibiotics for Sinusitis and Other Conditions

Cayenne pepper, garlic, hydrogen peroxide, and apple cider vinegar are some of the most popular natural remedies for use as oral antibiotics and topical antibiotics alike.

3Antibiotic Resistance Among Gram-Negative Bacilli in US Intensive Care Units
4Medical Consequences of Antibiotic Use in Agriculture
5Antibiotic prescribing and antibiotic resistance in community practice: retrospective study, 1996-8


Posted by Salgal (Miami, Oklahoma) on 04/25/2010

I, have suffered for years with symptoms of IC. I am blessed because I don't have the pain but feel like I need to urinate all the time. I have been to the so called best doctors in my area with no relief. Finally I tested positive for UTI, which I think I may have had all along. I am antibiotic resistant and did some research and found out there is a resistant bacteria, ESBL, that is more difficult to cure than MRSA. I, too always feel better when on antibiotic but the infection comes back about 2-3 weeks after treatment. I am going to try coconut oil to see if that helps.

General Feedback

Posted by Bill (San Fernando, Philippines) on 03/12/2013

Just some research that seemed interesting so I thought it would be useful to pass on.

Research has just disturbingly discovered that many bacteria are now able to neutralize the older as well as the newer antibiotics by a new mechanism involving enzymatically cleaving the antibiotic molecules and rendering them useless. This enzyme, which many bacteria are now apparently able to manufacture, is called the New-Dehli-metalo-beta-lactamase 1 positive enzyme -- also referred to as NDM-1. So, not only are more and more bacteria now able to breed in resistance to antibiotics as well as hide in biofilms, many bacteria are now acquiring this newly discovered NDM-1 enzyme capability that can completely neutralize most forms of the older as well as newer antibiotics.

The ramifications of the above discovery are indeed quite disturbing -- since the implication is that if doctors are unable to use anti-biotics against these NDM-1 positive bacteria then they will soon have nothing left in their drugs arsenals that will be able to combat or contain superbugs like MRSA, Klebsiela, Enterobacter etc and so there may well be a rapid spread of same which may well result in possible pandemics with higher mortality rates from the simpler NDM 1 postive bacteria also becoming imminent(that were not a problem in the past).

The other problem, as I see it, will be that hospitals may well become breeding grounds for these new NDM-1 positive bacteria in the same manner as MRSA. Here is the warning article from the UK Guardian:

Antibiotics' efficiency wanes due to global spread of drug-resistant bacteria

Interestingly, the drugs companies have not produced any new antibiotics since about 1987. This is understandable in the current drug resistant climate when you consider how many millions it cost them in research and FDA trials - it takes about 10 years for them to develop a new antibiotic. And the estimated effective life of any antibiotic now, before bacteria can adjust to them, is only about one year -- which is not enough time for the drugs companies to re-claim their money outlays or make vast unreasonable profits. So drugs companies appear to have now lost all interest in inventing anti-bacterials which involve antibiotics.

Bye the way, antibiotic action is nothing like the action of Hydrogen Peroxide or Iodine or Magnesium Chloride as recommended on this site for killing pathogens. These alternative anti-pathogens will kill bacteria usually in seconds -- with absolutely no chance of bacterial resistance developing.

General Feedback
Posted by Dr Edo McGowan (Santa Barbara, California) on 01/11/2009

A major thread that runs through these comments seems to be "how did I acquire this bug?" For the average consumer, much of the current food one buys and brings into the kitchen is coming from confined animal feeding operations where antibiotics are given for enhancement of weight gain or reduction of disease. The result is antibiotic resistance and thus the food is contaminated during slaughter. The process of cooking usually kills these resistant pathogens, but in the interim, kitchen surfaces are contaminated. Rusin and Gerba as well as Boone and Gerba have published on the transfer of pathogens from contaminated surfaces to fingers to mouth.

People innocently bring these pathogens home, but once there they can be spread all over the house. Cleaning surfaces with a solution of bleach is just one of the necessary preventative measures needed in this modern society.

Another source of spread is reclaimed water. Valerie Harwood, et al looked at sewer plants across the U.S. that were producing reclaimed water for use in municipal irrigation projects like parks and golf courses. This water is also permitted for irrigation of leafy greens consumed raw. Harwood noted pathogens in all samples tested and concluded that the standards under which this water was being produced were not protective of public health. Thus there are several processes that are presumed to be under the guidance of federal or state regulators that are failing to protect the public health.

My group looked at reclaimed water that met state standards and we ran tests on it from two different cities that use it for school playing fields. We found multi-antibiotic resistant pathogens. In one case to 11 of the 12 antibiotics in our Kirby Bauer suite, including resistance to vancomycin.

Dr Edo McGowan


Posted by Monika (Portland, Me) on 05/12/2016


Has anyone ever looked into Monolaurin as a natural alternative to antibiotics? From what I have been reading online so far, I see there are sporadic reports of success re shingles, herpes ... there are even first studies:

I just started to take it, and not for any of the above. I seem to have more energy.

Best, Monika

Replied by Bill
(San Fernando, Philippines)

Hi Monika...I would certainly recommend taking monolaurin as an antibiotic or anti-pathogen remedy. But why not make your own remedy even stronger?

Simple virgin coconut oil contains 50% lauric acid which automatically converts to monolaurin during digestion in the body. VCO also contains other wonderful and specific anti-pathogen ingredients that are also highly beneficial like myristic acid, caproic acid, capric acid and caprylic acid -- all of which also act as highly effective anti-pathogens(against bacteria, viruses and fungus) to make VCO a devastating synergistic mix versus any enveloped pathogen species. See this research.

Another interesting fact: One of the the main reasons curcumin or tumeric is so effective against pathogens is because of its high myristic acid content.

You can also take a tablespoon of VCO with meals two or three a day or, like me, you could just add a teaspoon of VCO to a warm drink like coffee several times a day. Tastes wonderfully creamy in coffee...

First thing in the morning I usually always have a black coffee, no sugar, with some VCO in it. I might also add a pinch of borax powder(like a small pinch of salt) or a simple aspirin(destroys enveloped pathogens in the same way as VCO) to the coffee for an even greater all-round anti-pathogen effect. Generally, in the morning, our stomachs will contain larger than normal amounts of mucus that has traveled down from the nose/nasopharanx and throat regions and collected in the stomach in large quantities during the sleeping hours. This mucus in the stomach contains many pathogens and needs to be disinfected every morning to help your immune system. So taking coffee like this first thing in the morning is just one of my own personal anti-pathogen remedies -- as a preventative -- against serious infections spreading from the stomach and eventually seating themselves forever in my intestines -- thus helping to prevent any further problems such as many and various auto-immune diseases from spreading into my body from the stomach and intestines.

Replied by Sarah

This is great advice and I too love my one cup of coffee in the morning black with coconut oil. I did not know it was good for this reason. Thank you.

With the borax added, do you wait awhile before eating?

Replied by Juliet

Please what is niacinamide? Can it be seen in nigeria? And my body is resistant to antibiotic


Posted by Charlene (Terre Haute, Indiana) on 10/05/2012

MRSA IS a staph infection. It does not mimic one, because it is one. Any infection can be considered a disease process.

MRSA stands for Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus. The reason why MRSA is much more serious than the usual Staph we all carry on our skin is because very few antibiotics can treat it successfully. It is stubborn and can cause serious and lingering infections. These infections can be infections in the skin, respiratory tract, urinary tract, etc. You name it, MRSA can find a way to it.

MRSA used to be something that was only seen in hospitals or other institutional facilities. Now it is out into our communities and the new MRSA is called community acquired MRSA. Overuse of antiobiotics is what health professionals are saying is why this type of infection has come about. It is typically a staph infection that has become resistant to most antibiotics. Even so, I do not think anyone really knows the full answer as to why this superbug is upon us. In my opinion, 10-20 years from now, they may decide it was something else we were all doing, eating, using, etc that brought this about.

An even worse infection than MRSA is VRSA which is even more antibiotic resistant than MRSA. The "V" in VRSA stands for Vancomycin if I am not mistaken. Please, someone correct me if I am wrong here. Vancomycin is one of the antibiotics that is used now to get rid of stubborn MRSA. It is the one sure one that will kill it eventually. Vancomycin is given by way of IV and is usually done in a hospital. Some people though I do know have had a PICC line put in place and can hook their own IVs up at home if they are well enough.

You all can google more about MRSA and VRSA and you can find loads of information about them, but I still truly do not think that anyone really knows why these superbugs for sure have come about.

Sorry for butting in here, I don't mean any harm. I am a nurse and I have treated others with IV antiobiotics for MRSA many many times in my years as a nurse. Now, in the last two years, I have battled it myself on my skin. I think I may be a carrier of it, as I was tested positive for it in my nostrils a couple of years ago, and the doctor told me then that I am a probable carrier of it and to always, always use thorough handwashing techniques. That is all fine to keep others from contracting it, but this is the third time for me that I have had a bad infection myself from it. It is frustrating as all get out.

Posted by Ted (Bangkok, Thailand) 391 posts

Staph may exist in everyone, but most people won't be trying to manage an MRSA for the rest of their lives with an antibiotic ointment. In some cases people with MRSA has a magnesium deficiency and sometimes the body is acidosis. MRSA can exist when the body is in a state of acidity. If one alkalizes properly, MRSA should not exist. The problem about MRSA where I live is that it is completely antibiotic resistant. MRSA exists in certain biological terrain, where the body is acid, lacking in magnesium, boron and possibly iodine, being one of the causes that promotes their growth.

Replied by Ted
(Toronto, Canada)

MRSA can be fought with Niacinamide and Manuka honey.

Cedars Sinai researchers looked at the impact of niacinamide on MRSA in both rodents and human blood. They found that high doses of vitamin B3 in the form of niacinamide stimulate the gene C/EBPe. This gene enhances your white blood cells' ability to fight staph infections, regardless of antibiotic resistance. In fact, in human blood, the addition of the vitamin increased killing power by a stunning 1, 000-fold.

Normal 0 false false false Ref: J. Clin Invst. 91-2; Radiother Oncol. 1998 Aug;48(2):123-33; Am J Clin Nutr. 1977 Aug;30(8):1364-8.

Manuka honey from New Zealand, medical grade, is reported to kill MRSA.

Normal 0 false false false Ref: Paulus, H. S., Kwakman, et al, “Medical-Grade Honey Kills Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria In Vitro and Eradicates Skin Colonization, ” Clin. Infect. Dis. 2008;46 (11): 1677-1682