What You Should Eat During And After Antibiotics
Antibiotics are a powerful line of defense against bacterial infections.
However, they can sometimes cause side effects, such as diarrhea and liver damage.
Some foods can reduce these side effects, while others may make them worse.
This article explains what you should and shouldnt eat during and after antibiotics.
Cut Out Sugar And Avoid Processed Foods
Youre sweet enough already! Fast digesting sugars, otherwise known as Monnosaccarides, are digested so quickly that your little microbes dont get a chance to take a bite out of them! If you eat too many simple sugars too regularly, you run the risk of literally starving your microbiome to death. Additionally, hungry microbes will resort to munching away at the lining in your intestine, which can lead to inflammation. Try to alter your diet to include more foods with complex sugars, to ensure a happy and healthy microbiome. Heres a list of some sweet foods that will keep both you and your gut happy!
- Sweet Potatoes
Also make sure you keep out an eye for dreaded hidden sources of monosaccharides. Sugar can sneak into foods you would never expect them to be. Keep an eye on sugar levels in things like smoothies, nut butters, protein bars, salad dressings and even in a gut-favourite yogurt!
How Long Does It Take To Replace The Gut With Good Bacteria Naturally After Antibiotics
Replacing your gut with good bacteria after antibiotics can start right away: you can start looking after your gut health while youre still taking a course of antibiotics.
While you can begin to change your gut flora with your next meal , when significant damage has been done to the gut through repeated courses of antibiotics, some bacterial communities disappear and are unlikely to return .
To get the full lowdown on how to restore your gut flora after antibiotics, check out our blog post 14 tips to restore gut flora after antibiotics.
Probiotics To Restore Gut Flora After Taking Antibiotics
Many studies point to the effectiveness of taking probiotic supplements to restore the microflora of your gut. This is usually necessary after taking antibiotics or when you have had gastroenteritis.
The Journal of Family Practice reports that taking probiotics while taking antibiotics can help to replenish the natural GI flora. A meta-analysis of over 30 randomized controlled trials found that probiotics can both prevent and treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
The researchers concluded that the positive effect of probiotics in restoring gut flora is a reason to pair antibiotics with probiotics. In fact, the result of the meta-analysis found that taking probiotics along with antibiotics resulted in a 66% reduction of C. diff. infections.
Taking probiotics is an effective way to recover from taking antibiotics.
What Is Gut Flora
You have a world of microorganisms living in your digestive system. This collection of microorganisms is your gut flora, also known as the gut microbiotaa complex ecosystem that consists of approximately 300 to 500 bacterial species. Thats nearly 10 times the number of cells in the human body.
Our knowledge of the interaction between gut health and overall health is still in its early stages. We do know that colonies of beneficial bacteria help you digest and absorb your food, fight off germs that make you sick and even make a large portion of your serotonin, which helps keep your moods level.
Science is continuing to discover ways that gut bacteria are directly linked to your health. We know that its normal to have balanced populations of beneficial gut bacteria and bad bacteria, and a healthy gut is able to keep the bad guys in check. But researchers are just now beginning to understand what happens when other factorslike antibiotics, diet and stresstilt the scales in the wrong direction.
Related: Get a good gut feeling with Bulletproof detox and gut health supplements
Read Also: Which Antibiotic For Dog Uti
At What Stage Of Your Life You Take Them
Our first years seem to be crucial for setting up a healthy microbiome for life. One study found an association between antibiotics given in the first year of life and later neurocognitive difficulties, such as ADHD, depression and anxiety , and others have found that the more courses of antibiotics a person receives during childhood, the higher their risk of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease .
Others have linked antibiotic exposure in the womb and early childhood to the development of asthma later in life and obesity in children as well adults .
How To Use Probiotics
You do not have to wait until your course of antibiotics is over before adding the good bacteria. Add healthy probiotic yogurts to your diet even while you are taking an antibiotic. Then continue to eat these foods high in probiotics. They continue to protect your gut and keep you healthy. This is especially important while traveling. A diet high in yogurt that supplies a broad range of probiotics helps protect you from traveler’s diarrhea. Fermented foods are also a source of probiotic bacteria. Look for kefir, sauerkraut and Japanese foods such as miso and tempeh. Everyone will differ in the time it takes to repopulate good bacteria, depending on health and the strength of the probiotics.
What Probiotics For Antibiotic Side Effects
Typically, it will take the body time to balance the microbiome to healthy, diverse bacteria levels. In fact, research shows that it takes about 6 months to recover from the damage done by antibiotics. And even then, the body might not even be back to its pre-antibiotic state.
Saccharomyces boulardii, a probiotic yeast is particularly good at preventing and alleviating antibiotic-associated diarrhea and travellers diarrhea. Its also a friend to your gut bacteria that supports good bacteria and prevents inflammation.
Lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic bacterium best known for being in yoghurt is also great for your gut. Studies show that its good at treating and preventing infections, and reducing the digestive side effects of antibiotics.
Other bacteria that help recover from antibiotic use include:
- L. casei
Make Sure Your Children Eat Real Food
Your children dont need a concoction of additives, preservatives, trans fats and other fake foods and do your best to provide a whole food diet for the whole family. Limit the amount of packaged food they eat and focus on a balanced diet of foods which include actual salt, saturated fats, protein, well prepared grains, and a variety of vegetables. Limit their consumption of sugar and simple carbs, as bad bacteria in the gut tend to thrive on these foods. Here are some more tips to build your baby’s microbiome through diet.
Also Check: Gram Negative Antibiotics For Fish
Probiotics Contain Good Gut Bacteria
Probiotics are foods, typically yoghurts and yoghurt drinks, that contain good gut bacteria: live microorganisms that can recolonise the gut or improve your gut health.
To be called a probiotic, they must be able to resist stomach acid and digestive processes, and then be able adhere to the gut walls and grow, while not causing any issues for the gut wall. They must also be tested for safety and efficacy in controlled trials.
To be called a probiotic, the dose of microorganisms needs to be sufficient to help restore the good bacteria, by elbowing out the bad bacteria.
Most yoghurts contain good bacteria but not all can survive the acidity of the stomach acid or the bacteria wont grow in the bowel, so there is no probiotic benefit.
For probiotics to exert these beneficial effects, they not only have to make it to the large bowel, but once there they need the right fuel to help them grow well. Thats where prebiotics come into play but more on them shortly.
The Role Of Fermented Food
We cant talk about gut health without talking about fermented food. Fermented foods with natural probiotics reintroduce good bacteria to your gut.
The Lacto-bacillus bacteria culture provides your body with lactic acid. It acts as a special agent in charge of increasing the nutrients present in your gut. It also improves the taste and preserves food.
Fermented foods also keep your intestinal tract strong. The body breaks down carbs in fermented foods into alcohol and beneficial acids. They help protect your immune system and balance your metabolism.
Mix up your diet and up your intake of fermented foods with foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.
Fermented dairy like buttermilk, sour cream, kefir, and raw yogurt can make a vast difference in repopulating your gut floral and recovering the good bacteria after a dose of antibiotics.
Probiotics are live yeast and bacteria. Even though they naturally exist in your body, they can be supplemented with these foods.
Also Check: Can I Get Thrush From Antibiotics
Eat More Plants And Dietary Fiber
Almost every gut expert Ive read says that changing our diet is the best and most direct route we have for transforming our gut bacteria. They differ on whether or not to include fruits or grains however, the opinions are unequivocal on eating more plants especially green leafy vegetables.
By eating more plants, we achieve and maintain microbiota diversity which is going to lead to a clearer mind and happier disposition. Just as sugar is processed too easily and therefore starves our microbes, dietary fiber, or MACs a term the Sonnenburgs use throughout their book give our little guys plenty to feast on. Consuming plenty of MACs will not only keep our intestinal lining intact, but it will also help us sustain a more varied collection of bacteria, which is paramount to good health.
Effects Of Antibiotics On Gut Flora
Antibiotics are particularly harmful to our precious gut flora. Research shows that antibiotics drastically alter and decrease the diversity and composition of the gut flora. And this diversity does not return without some sort of intervention.
Antibiotics not only decrease the beneficial bacteria in our gut, they also dramatically and negatively affect our immune systems, leaving us vulnerable to illness and disease.
You May Like: How To Treat Sore Throat Without Antibiotics
Can Some Peoples Gut Bacteria Recover From Antibiotics In Around Six Months
Some research released in 2018 found that it took around six months for our gut flora to get back to normal after antibiotics . The media picked up on it, and so a lot of people today think that you get your old gut back precisely six months after antibiotics. This study is just one of many though, all with different results.
If youre feeling overwhelmed by all this information, you can get some strategic help with our no obligation symptom checker.
Its possible that your gut bacteria might never return to normal. But that doesnt mean that you cant take steps to increase your diversity. Everyone can benefit from taking care of their gut, but if youve taken antibiotics recently theres an even bigger reason to do it.
Ways To Cultivate Good Gut Bacteria And Reduce Depression
We are all born with genes that predispose us to all kinds of things in my case, most of the psychiatric illnesses listed in the DSM-5 . And while we have some control over the way our genes express themselves or turn on a new science called epigenetics we are more or less stuck with our human genome. But we are by no means permanently attached to a diagnosis of Major Depression Disorder .
Each of us also has a complex collection of bacteria living in our guts our distinct microbiome that also has genes. And THOSE genes we can maneuver in any way we want. In their book The Good Gut: Taking Control of Your Weight, Your Mood, and Your Long-Term Health, Stanford University scientists Justin and Erica Sonnenburg write:
Since there is much we can do to shape the environment within our guts, we have control over our microbiota and can compensate for the lack of control we have over our human genome. Our microbiome contains one hundred times more genes than our human genome, so in fact there is about 99 percent of associated genetic material that we have the potential to mold in ways that are beneficial to us.
If you doubt the connection between your mood and the critters in your gut, you must read Peter Andrey Smiths recent piece in the New York Times called Can the Bacteria in Your Gut Explain Your Mood? Not to ruin the suspense, but considering all the optimistic studies Smith includes, the answer is a resounding YES.
Read Also: How To Know If I Need Antibiotics
Add Gut Repairing Supplements To Your Routine
Collagen does more than just improve your hair, skin, and nails. It also plays a role in restoring gut health. This is because collagen makes up the villi of your small intestine. Your villi are like tiny little fingers that grab nutrients and move them into your bloodstream. They vastly increase the surface area of your gut, making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients. Taking a collagen supplement will help restore your gut lining, nurture your villi, and ward off leaky gut.
Supplementing with Leaky Gut Revive® is another great way to protect your gut. Leaky Gut Revive® combats the root cause of leaky gut by fortifying your gut and keeping your microflora in balance. Using it in conjunction with collagen will provide a one-two punch of protection against harm to your gut from antibiotics.
So What Happens If I Use Antibiotics Regularly
While antibiotics can often be an effective treatment for some infections, the same cant always be said after more than a few rounds.That is because antibiotic resistance is on the rise, including resistant strains of E coli, the bacteria that cause more than 70% of UTIs , the most common bacterial infection .
As a result, practitioners are increasingly using two, three or even FOUR antibiotics to kill resistant bacterial infections. These third and fourth-line antibiotics are often broad spectrum, resulting in even wider destruction of good gut bacteria along the way – like using a grenade to kill a single weed in your veggie patch. You might have killed the infection but you have also increased your risk of a whole bunch of other, potentially more dangerous, weeds now that your immune system is nowhere to be found.
Don’t Miss: Best Antibiotic For Intestinal Infection
Taking Probiotics During And After A Course Of Antibiotics
Doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat serious bacterial infections that can sometimes be life-threatening. There are some unpleasant side effects of taking antibiotics that include gastrointestinal upset, yeast infections, and rashes.
The Yonsei Medical Journal reports that antibiotics upset the intestinal microbiota and can cause antibiotic-associated diseases. The most common side effect of taking antibiotics is diarrhea.
Other studies into the effect of antibiotics on gut health have shown that taking antibiotics can cause Clostridium difficile infections that can cause inflammation of the colon. Research has also found that interfering with the gut microflora can also impact the immune system and put you at risk of further infection.
Scientific research shows why you should take probiotics after taking antibiotics. For example, a systematic review of 20 trials found that probiotics can help to prevent C. diff. infections that cause diarrhea.
Another review of clinical trials involving more than 3,400 children found that various probiotic strains can help to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children.
One study found that the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 55730 was effective in reducing and preventing diarrhea in people taking antibiotics. Taking 2 probiotic supplements 2 times a day for 4 weeks helped to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
If You Can Breastfeed For At Least 6 Months
A babys microbiome begins to properly develop at birth. However, studies suggest that babies may be exposed to some bacteria even before birth .
During the first 2 years of life, an infants microbiome is continuously developing and is rich in beneficial Bifidobacteria, which can digest the sugars found in breast milk .
Many studies have shown that infants who are fed formula have an altered microbiome with fewer Bifidobacteria than infants who are breastfed (
A number of studies have shown that vegetarian diets may benefit the gut microbiome, which may be due to their high fiber content.
For example, one small 2013 study found that a vegetarian diet led to reduced levels of disease-causing bacteria in people with obesity, as well as reductions in body weight, inflammation, and cholesterol levels .
A 2019 review noted that plant foods are rich in specific nutrients that can increase levels of beneficial bacteria and decrease harmful strains of bacteria to support gut health .
However, it is unclear if the benefits of a vegetarian diet on the gut microbiome are due to a lack of meat intake or if other factors may also play a role.
Vegetarian and vegan diets may improve the microbiome. However, it is unclear if the positive effects associated with these diets can be attributed to a lack of meat intake or if other factors may be involved.
Don’t Miss: Where To Buy Antibiotics Over The Counter
Probiotics Are Your Guts Best Friend
Probiotics are chock-full of live bacteria that will help ensure your gut is populated by mostly the good types of microbes. You can get a good probiotic supplement at your local health food store, however, make sure you ask your doctor what strains of cultures are best for you, as each persons microbiome is different. There are many probiotic products out there that claim to have live cultures but do not, so it is important to do your research beforehand. For example, Align is a great brand of probiotic for people who suffer from IBS.