Sunday, August 12, 2007

Vitamin C, Niacin, and Multivitamins for Children Taking Antibiotics

Occasional bacterial infections are part of a normal childhood. Bacterial infections (ear infections, lung infections, infected wounds, vaginal infections, tooth infections) are dangerous and need to be treated promptly with antibiotics.

Vitamin C, niacin, and multivitamins also help the body fight off bacterial infections. You and your doctor don’t need to choose between antibiotics and vitamins. Vitamins work by completely different mechanisms, and do not interfere with the action of antibiotics. Vitamins and antibiotics are synergistic. Taking them together cures the body faster than taking either of them alone.

This isn’t just my opinion. It’s been proven for vitamin C. Researchers in India did a controlled clinical trial with cows with infected udders. The cows were divided into two groups. One group was treated with antibiotics alone, and the other group was treated with antibiotics and 10,000 mg/day injections of vitamin C. The vitamin C group got well in just over half the time. These scientific observations have been clinically confirmed by orthomolecular physicians. Many of these physicians treat bacterial infections with combined vitamin and anti-biotics and report prompt recoveries.

5,000 to 20,000 mg/day of vitamin C, 250 mg/day of time-release niacin, and a multivitamin for several days is safe and the risk of uncomfortable side effects is low. Children with bacterial infections have a lot to gain and almost nothing to lose by trying this treatment.

The synergy between vitamins and drugs is much broader than antibiotics. Vitamins and prescription drugs are rarely counter-indicated. Read more here. One example is niacin and statin drugs. Niacin and statins often work better together than either does alone. In this case, like the vitamin C and antibiotics case, there are controlled clinical trials that prove the hypothesis. Vitamins have also been reported to improve the potency of medications for diabetes. There are many other examples. There are, of course, occasional counter indications so patients must inform their doctors about the vitamins they are taking.

Vitamins are a powerful tool to help fight infections. One reason they are underutilized is because it is impossible to separate the action of the vitamin from the antibiotic. Patients can’t feel the vitamins working, and scientists have difficulty raising the funds required to pay the high costs of conducting controlled trials. On the other hand, patients can feel the discomforts caused by proven vitamin side effects. So, it will take time to optimize treatment. In the meantime, I recommend risking the discomforts of vitamin side effects in exchange for reducing the much greater risks associated with a prolonged bacterial infection.

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