Antibiotics — Less is More

Dr. Jason Fung
7 min readApr 4, 2018

Antibiotics is another area where current medical teaching is completely logic-free. In many ways it reminds me of the entire ‘Type 2 diabetic patients have too much insulin. So, let’s give them more insulin and see if it helps’ argument which I outline in my book, The Diabetes Code. Logically it makes no sense. So, instead the medical establishment adopts a ‘I’m the expert so don’t bother trying to talk sense into me. Just do what I say’ attitude.

Antibiotic treatment regimens are largely the same. Suppose you go to your physician for a bacterial infection. Viruses, like most common colds, are not affected by antibiotics, so therefore should not be prescribed. However, because many bacterial infections have the same symptoms, antibiotics are often prescribed ‘just in case’, leading to overprescription and overuse.

Exposure creates resistance. High persistent levels of antibiotics lead to antibiotic resistance. In this case, the antibiotics kill off most of the bacteria, but there will always be a few that are resistant. Since everybody else is dead, these resistant bacteria, which used to be very rare, are able to multiply, propagate and pass on their resistance to other bacteria. This is a well-known phenomenon.

Resistacnce can be transmitted by something called plasmids. Inside the bacteria, plasmids help the bacteria develop resistance. But these plasmids can be transmitted to other bacteria which means that resistance spreads much, much faster than otherwise possible. Plasmid DNA may also be incorporated into the basic bacterial DNA so that this resistance becomes a permanent feature. But the basic formula remains the same. Persistently high levels of antibiotic use leads to antibiotic resistance, just as high levels of insulin leads to insulin resistance.

Knowing this, the key is to use less antibiotics. This is neither new nor controversial. In many hospitals in the United States, antibiotic resistant ‘super-bugs’ have become a huge issue. Doctors in America love to use the latest and greatest medicine, and antibiotics are no different. Heavy handed dosing of the latest antibiotics has eventually led to tremendous problems with antibiotic resistance.

For example, MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus) rates doubled in academic American hospitals between 2003 and…

Dr. Jason Fung

Nephrologist. New York Times best selling author. Interest in type 2 diabetes reversal and intermittent fasting. Founder