Natural Antibiotics

Ok so speaking hypothetically and very simplisticly…. What if Autoimmune Alopecia is caused by “a” bacteria in the gut or “a combination” of bad bacteria in the gut.  With all the research that is going on into the microbiome (the ecosystem of bacteria in our small intestines) this could be a distinct possibility.  Over the years antibiotics have become less and less efficient in combating bacterial infections since many strains are becoming resistant.

When my Alopecia struck I had been prescribed numerous broad spectrum antibiotics for a recurrent throat infection over the course of a full year or more.  Doctors thought it was caused by an ongoing bacterial infection only to find out that it was infact a viral invasion.  I believe that the constant ongoing use of broad spectrum antibiotics stripped my immune system.  There could be several other contributing factors.  The invasion of the virus in the first place and also lack of adequate nutrition after the use of these antibiotics; which would have been needed to rebuild my immune system.

I wonder about my IBS symptoms.  I have spoken with hundreds of Alopecia sufferers and interestingly 9/10 suffer Irritable Bowel Symptoms, ranging from bloating, to gas, bowel irregularity etc  Could this bacteria in the gut be irratating/damaging the delicate lining of the small intestine (a very important organ whereby foods are farther digested and broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream).  Thus perhaps causing certain food intolerances.  What about leaky gut syndrome?  All these need to be investigated within our own community with independant research.

I am very much in to natural healing and believeing “we are what we eat”.  Recently I have been thinking about Natural Antibiotics.  Two or three came to mind.

  • Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been all over the news recently with its powers of killing bacteria in the mouth and how it should be considered as a dental product.  Many sites claim that the benefits of coconut oil are unbelivable.

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefit coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.

How is Lauric Acid Used by our body?

The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia which are supposed to assimilate well. Lauric Acid is the chief contributor, with more than forty percent of the share, followed by Capric Acid, Caprylic Acid, Myristic Acid and Palmitic.


  • Peppermint Oil

Peppermint (Mentha  piperita), a popular flavoring for gum, toothpaste, and tea, is also used  to soothe an upset stomach or to aid digestion. Because it has a calming and  numbing effect, it has been used to treat headaches, skin irritations, anxiety  associated with depression, nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, and flatulence.  In test tubes, peppermint kills some types of bacteria, fungus, and  viruses, suggesting it may have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral  properties. Several studies support the use of peppermint for indigestion and  irritable bowel syndrome.


Peppermint calms the muscles of the  stomach and improves the flow of bile, which the body uses to digest fats. As a  result, food passes through the stomach more quickly. However, if your symptoms  of indigestion are related to a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease  or GERD, you should not use peppermint.  Peppermint relaxes the muscles that  allow painful digestive gas to pass.

Irritable  Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Several studies have shown that  enteric coated peppermint capsules can help treat symptoms of IBS, such as pain,  bloating, gas, and diarrhea. (Enteric coated capsules keep peppermint oil from  being released in the stomach, which can cause heartburn and indigestion.)  However, a few studies have shown no effect. One study examined 57 people with  IBS who received either enteric coated peppermint capsules or placebo twice a  day for 4 weeks. Of the people who took peppermint, 75% had a significant  reduction of IBS symptoms. Another study comparing enteric coated peppermint oil  capsules to placebo in children with IBS found that after 2 weeks, 75% of those  treated had reduced symptoms. Finally, a more recent study conducted in Taiwan  found that patients who took an enteric coated peppermint oil formulation 3 – 4  times daily for one month had less abdominal distention, stool frequency, and  flatulence than those who took a placebo. Nearly 80% of the patients who took  peppermint also had alleviation of abdominal pain.

From the Univeristy of Maryland Medical Centre.


  • Garlic

Garlic has been used worldwide for thousands of years for  medicinal purposes. This wonder plant treats everything from a simple earache to  pneumonia, MRSA, Helicobacter pylori, the flu and even the black plague.  Contemporary research has confirmed that garlic possesses numerous antioxidants  that kill bacteria and free radicals in the blood protecting the immune system  and making it stronger. Garlic’s active ingredient allicin can also attack and  destroy a variety of viruses — unlike modern antibiotics — as well as fugal infections, such as candida. Taking garlic supplements as a  prophylactic may help to protect against various pathogens and prevent the onset  of disease.

Perhaps if we can introduce these into our daily lives, along with an immune boosting diet we can combat Autoimmune Alopecia?


Thanks for reading


Jayne Waddell



15 thoughts on “Natural Antibiotics

  1. Hi Jayne,

    I have found your blog a very interesting read.

    The immune system is a marvellous and exceedingly complex system. With auto immune conditions, be it alopecia or rheumatoid or lupus, the body starts to product antibodies to an antigen.

    The cells that produce these antibodies are permanent and whenever they are stimulated they release the antibodies.

    For example, when you are given a vaccine you are given an antigen which is part of the disease you are targeting (flu for example). Immune cells react to this antigen and some transform into antibody factories that target that specific antigen.

    When there is no antigen in the body they go into a sleep like state but when you are exposed to the antigen again, by getting exposed to the flu for example, they wake up and produce antibodies.

    With alopecia the belief is that the antibodies are produced to attack a component of the hair follicle or to attack mechanisms involved with the regulation of hair growth.

    By boosting your immune system you will not be able to get rid of those antibody factories unfortunately.

    For other autoimmune conditions there are treatments that either block the antibodies, or produce the cells that produce specific antibodies.

    I hope that one day a treatment that blocks antibodies involved with alopecia is found.

    Dr Tom Walker

    • Dr Tom,

      Thank you for your comment. I understand what you say….So if the antibody factories will always be there…. then we can hopefully “manage” the condition by getting rid of the stimulant which is causing these antibodies to be released?…. Instead of looking at the antibodies, to block them….. why not look at what is stimulating them? I had hair for 19 years of my life….. fit , healthy young girl….. why when I change my diet do I see immature hair growth? and what makes these antibodies go to sleep randomly in alopecia when it decides to go into remission? Could an invasion of a bacteria/virus have initiated this response? Has this bacteria altered our digestive tracts to the point where certains foods are not being broken down adequately enough and are entering the blood stream as a stimulant for these antibodies? You speak very factually regarding the antibody factories being permanent….. but on a daily basis they are being stimulated….. by what? If we knew then perhaps alopecia could be managed. This is exactly why our condition needs its own research. We have only ever had treatments off the back of research into other autoimmune diseases….. that is not right….. I hope you keep reading and keep putting things forward to me because I like to hear a medical point of view….

  2. A virus is one of the theories of the trigger, combined with genetic predisposition in some people.

    Some believe that an insult, such as a viral infection, causes an abnormal response so that the body targets normal tissue – in this case, a hair follicle.

    If the stimulant is the hair follicle or something related, then we cannot get rid of that! Thats why blocking the production or action of antibodies is seen as the most viable option.

    The life cycle of the cells that produce antibodies is also an area that is not clearly understood. Some people can have flare ups with the slightest amount of stress, some people can go through stressful times without a single problem then randomly shed their hair at a time when they have no obvious stress. (I use stress in a more general way, be it physical stress from illness, anxiety, intense exercise etc).

    Everyone reacts in different ways – some people can change their diet and notice a difference, others can follow the strictest diet that some believe would help and notice no difference. As far as I am aware, there is no consistent advice that works for everyone.

    I think that you are doing the right thing by considering your diet. I do not think that any particular food will directly prevent shedding or boost hair growth, but by maintaining optimum health then you provide resilience which may require a higher amount of stress to induce an increase in hair loss. A healthy diet will also have many many other health benefits and I am sure you know.

    I agree that there is not a lot of direct research on this condition, especially related to the impact it can have on such a large population of people that have the condition, but there is a good deal of research into autoimmune disease.

    If we can understand the common pathways and mechanism for autoimmune disease then we will be able to get targeted treatment for all autoimmune disease. Think of it this way – many important inventions were created for one purpose but unlocked important avenues for other fields. War creates a lot of trauma and has led to many advances that have improved the care of people in non-battle situations, like in car crashes etc.

    You have a great site – I will definitely be following.

    • Hi Tom,

      A few points which I would like to make. After I firstly thank you for the interest which you show in my blog. Now, As you know I have suffered this condition for over 10 years of my life, I have spoken with many many sufferers and have accumulated much anecdotal evidence as to where my theories come from and many links which I have made….. Ofcourse the hair follicles are not the stimulant for antibodies to be released…. because I had hair for 19 years of my life, but there is something else in the body which is there on a daily basis causing the antibody response. Who ever made the human body made a very very clever piece of machinery. I do not believe the immune system is that stupid that it is attacking healthy tissue cells. There is something in the body, that is very similar to the initial antigens, foreign, that is being mistaken as hair follicles?. We know that autoimmune alopecia is genetic, from research released in 2010 linking it with celiacs disease, RA and Diabetes type I . Therefore we know it only strikes those predisposed (autoimmune disease runs through my mothers side of the family). There is no direct research into alopecia from the specific angle which I think needs to be investigated. Any research is funded by major drug companies. I understand your point when you say that everybody reacts differently regarding stress, diet, trauma etc however please do not forget that each differing trigger initiates the exact same response in the body…. and where there is such a constant…. that is what should be investigated. Alopecia is a fantastic Autoimmune disease to research because of it’s distinct visibility symptom of hairgrowth and the rate at which recovery could be determined in comparison to say RA or diabetes. This is why I cannot believe there has been very little research. You are right that if we fix one we will fix them all…. I firmly believe that. Where are you based?

  3. The base of the hair follicle is the part that the immune system is attacking. A common theory is that some event occurs, possibly a virus, causing the body to have a case of mistaken identity and treating the follicle as if it is a foreign antigen.

    This is the way that the body attacks joints in RA, kidneys + lungs in good pastures etc.

    The disease does have a strong genetic component that increases the chance of someone suffering the condition. Some people can have certain genes that are strongly like to AA and not have the condition though.

    Here are some nice links:

      • Sorry I sent that post before I had finished! I think research into Alopecia needs to catch up with the way that recent research into autoimmunity and the human genome seems to be tending….. and if any independant researcher ever cared to come forward and actually carry out a survey on the people of our community then they too may find some very interesting links. Do you know has this ever been done before? I think that understanding a community who suffers a disease and noting their common factors would be an obvious way to begin to understand the problem and inturn initiate and direct research. It makes sense to me to work backwards rather than to fumble forwards….. Just saying. So tell me does your latisse work on people with no eyelashes? 😉

  4. There are studies and, even better, more studies are underway. A quick search found this for example:

    Large scale research is very tricky and you would have to follow up patients over very long periods of time – the above link started in 2001 I think. That one is trying to gather as much detail as possible – DNA profiles, regular blood tests, regular questionnaires, medical records etc.

    I think you answered that question regarding Latisse yourself!! To be clear, however, bimatoprost (the active ingredient of Latisse) has not be proven to be an effective treatment for alopecia areata. Allergan, the manufacturer, are carrying out clinical trials on its use in male pattern baldness but even then I would recommend other treatments which have a solid evidence base.

  5. Dr Walker is there anything of interest happening here in the UK? What is your involvement in any of this or do you just keep your ear firmly to the ground? I would very much like to speak with you at somepoint regarding the charity that I am setting up….. If you would be interested

  6. Hello, I came across your site after watching your story on Food Hospital and find it very interesting. Unfortunately I missed the begining of the programme so do not have the information regarding the diet you are following and also the probiotic you were prescribed, would it be possible for you to forward on more information regarding this? I have suffered from alopcia for about 35 years. I think it first became apparent when I was aroung 12 years old, but may have had symptoms much younger. Initially, where the alopcia was active, the skin would be inflamed and tender to the touch and I also had severe pitting to my nails. The hair would fall out and grow back in white, as soon as one area would improve another area would fall out. The strange thing is, that I have suffered from Alopcia Totalis from around the age of 25 years, but once it no longer grew back in, the tenderness to my scalp and the pitting of my nails was no longer apparent. Why when it’s at it’s most severe would the symtoms above no longer be apparent? I have occassionaly lost my eyebrows and recently they have fallen out again, but I am now once again left with the tenderness in my eyebrow area? I hear there may be a link between Alopcia and Hayfever and Asthma sufferers, I can relate to this as I suffered from relatively severe Hayfever when I was a youngster. The connection as to there being a hereditary factor is something which also concerns me as my mother showed signs of Alopcia from around the age of 40 years, and has suffered complete hairloss to her scalp ever since. One of my greatest fears is in passing this distressing problem on to my children. Do you think that there is a poor response to researching this problem because the majority of people won’t speak up about suffering from Alopecia as it’s viewed by many as something to ridicule? Many of us do our best to hide the problem so it therefore doesn’t get the same support as other aflictions would get. I would like nothing more than to raise money for more research, but this would bring my problem to attention of others after spending the last 35 years trying to hide it from others.

    • Sue,

      Thank you so much for writing your post. I firstly would like to answer your final point. “Do you think that there is a poor response to researching this problem because the majority of people wont speak up about suffering……ridicule, bringing the attention to the problem, wanting to hide it”

      Absolutely. Infact I could bullet point 3 reasons

      1. Alopecia for many is embarrasing. Some women are ashamed to have it. Most want to hide it and not talk about it. Hairloss is taboo in society, especially for women. So ofcourse the true extent of the problem is dismissed

      2. Because of the distinct relation to cancer (through the symptom of Autoimmune Alopecia, hairloss being the same as the symtom of some chemotherapies). For this reason Alopecia sits in the background because it is seen as not as important. Afterall it is not life threatening…… If I had a pound for every alopecia suffer who said to me “at least I dont have cancer, it could be worse” I could have funded a research project on that alone!

      3. Figures of medical authority, GPs, Dermatologists have said to patients for years and years that there is nothing that can be done, it is incurable, accept it etc etc So hope is dissmissed at the first point of contact with the medical community….. Our community then take their word and just try to live a life with alopecia.

      I can relate to everything you are saying regarding symptoms and I have asked myself the same questions. When the alopecia initially starts there is tingling in the scalp, painful even,…. and every day after that even with AU the same response is going on but the tingling and pain goes away…. it is strange. I can also relate with the pitting in the nails. However when I change my diet the pitting is one of the first things to disappear, and the strength increases dramatically. Regarding the allergies, exzema and asthma….. Sufferers whom I have spoken with there seems to be a correlation between allergies and hairloss. For example, many may suffer allergies, but then when alopecia strikes the allergies go into remission. When the hair grows back the allergies can return. Unfortunatley I do not have the answers…. But what we DO have is a community with common factors and much anecdotal evidence which needs to be investigated and these questions need to be addressed It is only by looking at common links like these that we shall begin to understand the complexities of Autoimmune Alopecia….. this is why we need our own INDEPENDANT research….. not research off the back of other diseases…. and not research funded by drug companies who dont seem interested in actually studying our own communities idiosyncracies of the disease.

      I will be putting up the diet on the site… but first I need to OK it with The Food Hospital to give the exact details. Otherwise I shall be giving an overview of what foods to eat regularly and what foods to avoid

      Thanks so much again Sue. Much love for suffering such an awful condition


  7. I am very excited and look forward to reading about the diet discussed on Food Hospital, i was very disapointed with the lack of information on their own site. I am really interested in the probiotic you were prescribed. I have suffered from problems relating to my gut for many years and last year had to undergo a Starr procedure. After discussing with my surgeon at a follow up appointment, we discussed the possibility of an extra strength probiotic being of help which I should discuss with my own doctor. Ufortunately I lost the paper with the name of the probiotic and my own doctor seemed to be unaware as to any extra strength probiotic, so when I heard you were advised to take it along with your diet, it was like another piece of the jigsaw. I am hopeful that this information will be available too. When I first suffered from this problem I tried all that was available, from steroid injections straight into the scalp, which intially only gave a small improvement for a short space of time. I also had a topical dermatitis applied to my scalp which ended up burning and blistering my skin, this filled my scalp with fluid which then dropped down into may face which swelled up like a balloon. After a few years I gave up going to the dermatoligist as there was no new treatment to be had and no new research. At least following a more healthy diet will not have the same detrimental effect on my health. Can I ask if there has been anymore improvement regards hair growth on your scalp since the programme was made?

  8. Hello Jayne,

    I stumbled on your site while researching Dr.Angela Christiano, PhD – Columbia University Medical Center. She is doing extensive research on alopecia areata because she once had it. She is also studying the werewolf syndrom whereby some people have so much hair on their face and body that they resemble werewolfs. By looking into what causes this she is hoping to find a solution for Alopecia. Coming back to her own condition however she had steroid injections for two years and apparently her hair grew back ( as you can read and see from pictures of her if you look her up).

    I’am glad I found your site because it is encouraging to see that their others who are trying to make links and are looking for serious solutions. I was astounded when I read that 9/10 people who have alopecia also have “Irritable bowl sydrom”………………..I am one of them. From what I have learned it is due to the fact that we are missing an enzyme called Alpha-glactosidase. This enzyme breaks down certain foods like beans, brocoli, garlic etc. People that do`not have this enzyme suffer from bloating & painful gas accumulation in the gut because the food is not processed properly and a gasious by product is produced. You can reduce these symtomps by avoiding certain target foods (garlic is the worst). Also, here in Canada you can buy some pills called “BEANO” that contain the enzyme I mentioned above.

    I have alopecia areata which is a patchy form of alopecia which eventualy will turn into “totalis” or “universal” from what I have read. I so dearly would like to find what causes it and keep the little hair that I have left. One important thing I would like to mention here is the fact that my nails are affected too. My finger nails detach from the finger and have some flacky powdery substance underneath. My toenails have that too, but do not detach. Fungus??? Bacteria???? Same thing as inside the gut???? One thing is certain and undeniable, it is affecting the integumentary system……………………..could this be a clue, why the extremities.? The “integumentary system” is everything covering the outside of our bodies. This means skin, hair, scales, nails, sweat glands and their products (sweat and mucus). I looked up pictures of alopecia areata and saw that others too are affected at the nails……………….WHY?

    I will be following your blog closely on top of doing more research.

    P.S. You might want to look up on the internet “Les Jumelles” in Montreal, Quebec CANADA. They have a web site and you can see what wonderful work they do, they actualy glue wigs on the scalp and for people that still have some hair they integrate it with the wig.



    • Dear Dominica,

      I am so sorry for the late reply! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my blog. Yes it is interesting regarding the fingernails. I too used to get pitting of the nails and ridges and they never used to grow but when I changed my diet I do not suffer this anymore. I think it is important to look into diet and try to avoid high saturated foods and processed sugars. Stock up on anti inflammatory foods, omega 3, fish oil etc and lots of vegetables with protien and not so much starch carbs.

      Dominica….. please look at our research charity website and SIGN UP on the right hand side of the home page. We will be keeping people up to date with studies regarding reseaarch into Alopecia.

      Please keep following because we need your support

      I wish you all the best

      Jayne xxx

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