Sunday, March 3

Health and development threats have a new boost from antimicrobial resistance (AMR).1 It has been estimated that bacterial AMR was directly responsible for 1.27 million deaths across the world in 2019 and contributed to 4.95 million deaths (1).2 The misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals and plants are the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant pathogens.3 AMR affects countries in all regions and at all income levels.4 Its drivers and consequences are exacerbated by poverty and inequality, and low- and middle income countries are most affected.5 AMR puts many of the gains of modern medicine at risk.6 It makes infections harder to treat and makes other medical procedures and treatments – such as surgery, caesarean sections and cancer chemotherapy – much riskier.7 (World Health Organization)

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites no longer respond to antimicrobial medicines.8 As a result of drug resistance, antibiotics, and other antimicrobial medicines become difficult or impossible to treat, increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness, disability and death.9 AMR is a normal process in the natural world that happens over time through genetic changes in pathogens.10 Its emergence and spread is accelerated by human activity, mainly the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials to treat, prevent or control infections in major organisms.11 Antimicrobial medicines are the key essential to combating this in modern medicine.12 The emergence and spread of drug-resistant pathogens threatens our ability to treat common infections and to perform life-saving procedures such as those listed previously including hip replacements, organ transplants etc.13(World Health Organization)

 

Rasulullah ﷺ said, ” Whoever relieves a believer’s distress of the distressful aspects of this world, Allah will rescue him from a difficulty of the difficulties of the Hereafter.”

This is all unsettling news as regards to antimicrobial resistance. The deadly bacteria, virus etcetera can develop resistance to anti-retroviral drugs. AMR is like a silent killer that stalks its prey. If disease causing micro-organisms can’t be killed easily then the lives of thousands are at risk. From the very young to the old. As a result, immunity is at risk to these pathogens. But of course, there are natural remedies such as ginger and garlic just ask your personal or family doctor. AMR can be regarded as a natural mutation that is the result of the environment in which a micro-organism develops. That is why it is so important that you consult with your doctor about the harmful dangers of pathogens. They are like fungi; they latch on to the inside of a larger organism and build up as a tumour or the like. Garlic is a good supplement as it increases white blood cells.     

In the business of large-scale food additives many different food additives have been developed.14 This is another serous threat to health. Additives are added to ensure processed food remains safe and in good condition throughout its journey from factories or industrial kitchens, to warehouses and shops, and finally to consumers.15 Additives are also used to modify the sensory properties of foods including taste, smell, texture, and appearance.16 The additives in food can be derived from plants, animals or minerals, or they can be chemically synthesized.17 These food additives come in several thousand forms, all of which are designed to perform a specific job.18 (World Health Organization)

The World Health Organization (WHO) with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is responsible for assessing the risks to human health from food additives.19 Risk assessments of food additives are conducted by an independent, international expert scientific group – the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives JECFA assessment of a national assessment, can then authorize the use of food additives at specific levels for specific foods.20 JECFA evaluations are based on scientific reviews of all available biochemical, toxicological and other relevant data on a given additive – mandatory tests in animals, research studies and observations in humans are considered.21 The toxicological tests required by JECFA include acute, short-term and long-term studies that determine how the food additives is absorbed, distributed and excreted, and possible harmful effects of the additive or its by-products at certain exposure levels.22 (World Health Organization)

There is no doubt that food additives are a risk. They act as preservatives, and enhancers. It is the enhancers’ part that carries a huge risk. They can alter the certain taste of foods not just preserve it. They need to be monitored carefully to ensure that the additives do not result in food poisoning or make the food habitable to certain bacteria. Once more it is the doctors who should recommend the type of foods you should be taking and whether it is harmless depending on the type of additives that are in it. Some additives are good while others are bad depending on what you consume. Using natural additives in foods is good, while artificial additives are a grey area that carry a risk. Additives can have side affects that can result in you becoming obese or diabetic or result in damage to your internal organs.

That is why it is important to have a watch dog group to monitor foods that have additives in them, this is especially true of junk food such as chips, coloured popcorn, cool drink etc. The list can go on, but only the consumer (you) can decide.

Sources

World Health Organization (WHO)

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making… 1 2 3 4 5  6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

World Health Organization (WHO)

Food additives

Food additives can be derived from plants, animals, or minerals, or they can be synthetic. They are added intentionally to food to perform… 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Article written by: Yacoob Cassim

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