Transcript: Lowering Dietary Antibiotic Intake
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
Persistent organic pollutants like dioxins, PCBs, can persist for years in our bodies. But, other dietary contaminants—like antibiotic residues, and some of the plastic compounds—may be more of a matter of constantly re-exposing ourselves on a day-to-day basis, as suggested by this study recently that measured changes in the levels of antibiotic and phthalate metabolites, before and after a five-day meat-free stay at a Buddhist temple.
They tested participants’ urine for the presence of a number of important antibiotics, such as Bactrim, enrofloxacin, Cipro. And, although none of the participants were actually on antibiotics, the drugs were all found flowing through their bodies.
But, within five days eating vegetarian: “The [present] study demonstrated clearly that even short-term dietary changes could reduce the frequency of detection and levels of major antibiotics. Antibiotics detected in the urine assumed to be mostly originated from dietary intake, since participants with recent medication histories were excluded from the study.”
But see, they didn’t know if maybe the drugs were in the water supply, rather the meat supply. But, look, since they kept drinking the same amount of water, “this study suggest[s] that the contribution of drinking water may be negligible in the daily amount of antibiotics that are inadvertently consumed.”
To make sure, though, they did a follow-up study in which they actually tested for levels of antibiotic residues in meat, and, indeed, found that “Consumption levels of beef, pork, chicken, and dairy products could explain the daily excretion amount of several antibiotics in urine”—and the phthalate contaminants as well.
Measures of oxidative stress dropped, as well, after the meat-free five days. But then again, they were in a Buddhist temple meditating all day, so it’s hard to tease out which did what. But, the researchers concluded: “The results of this study suggest that dietary change, even in the short term, could significantly reduce dietary exposure to antibiotics and phthalates and, in turn, oxidative stress levels in the general adult population.”
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