Mother Nature Is Good!

Everybody is afraid of Cholesterol. This fear is fuelled by recommendations of professional, medical associations to consume less than 300mg daily. Because chicken eggs are high in cholesterol, about 200mg each, patients with high cholesterol are commonly advised to avoid eating them. However, the association between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease is unclear. A meta-analysis of 17 good quality prospective studies with up to 20 years of duration assessed this association.

No association between egg consumption and risk for cardiovascular disease was observed unless the person was diabetic. In diabetics the risk was mildly elevated. These findings are consistent with metabolic research that dietary saturated and trans-fatty acids do influence LDL-cholesterol much more than what dietary cholesterol does (BMJ 2013 Jan 7;346:e8539).

What an amazing situation; highly reputed professional medical associations give out recommendations without having conclusive evidence in their hands! If eggs are eaten, they recommend; it is easy to avoid the cholesterol by not eating the egg yolk!

More than amazing – this is a joke. Surely none of the members of the committee has ever done that. This is a classic case of medical advice that will be followed by the patient maybe twice and then never again.

Anyhow – it is time now to lift the taboo on eggs. No remorse needed. Forget about not eating eggs in order to keep your cholesterol down unless you are diabetic. Let’s not forget, eggs are a common ingredient in the Mediterranean diet, which is renowned for its health benefits.

Antibiotics in Spain are the third most consumed food item after chorizo and red wine and the most favourite one is Amoxicillin. Go to a pharmacy and ask for a cure for your runny nose, cough, flu or unfaithful husband/wife and you will surely end up with a packet of Clamoxyl 500 handed over the counter.

Now European researchers have conducted a multi-national trial involving more than 2000 adults with symptoms of what is commonly called bronchitis and goes along with a cough. Patients received 1000mg of Amoxicillin thrice daily or placebo for 1 week. No significant difference was found for the duration of symptoms between the two groups. Side effects were more common in the Amoxicillin group (Lancet Infect Dis 2013 Feb; 13:23).

A sudden cough may be caused by such different conditions as a common cold, a sinusitis or pneumonia. For most cases, because pneumonia is a rare event, antibiotics are of no help as much as a cure is concerned, but of big help if one wants some undesirable side effects.

It is still very common in Spain to use antibiotics as a cure for everything and it is difficult to understand for a northern mind that this behaviour is fostered by pharmacists with a scientific university career. It is in the best case an irrational un-scientific behaviour and it needs a permissive Spanish mind to not get a bit cross about it.

Medics are often part of that situation by prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily, but we ourselves try not to contribute and will use antibiotics only if a benefit for the patient is to be expected.

The problem is: a box of unnecessary antibiotics purchased at the ‘local dealer’ is cheaper than a visit to the doctor.