How To Support Gut Health After Taking Antibiotics
Theres no getting around it. At some point in your life, you might need to take antibiotics to help fight off an infection or illness.
Antibiotics were developed after the accidental discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Professor Alexander Fleming . This type of medication can help keep harmful bacteria from spreading. The bad news is, it can also hurt the good bacteria in your body.
Gut health is taking center stage in the health world, and for good reason. Did you know that your microbiome is made up of 39 trillion bacteria and other microbes ? These tiny things are necessary in order to live optimally. Which is why we have to consider the factors that may impact these tiny microbiomes & our overall health.
Once youve finished a round of antibiotics, your body is left with the aftermath for better or worse.
What are some ways you can support your gut health after taking antibiotics? By the time youve finished this article, youll have a better understanding of the role antibiotics play, the downside to certain types, and ways you can help your body heal afterwards.
The Surprising Finding Was That The Group Who Received The Probiotic Had The Poorest Response In Terms Of Their Microbiome
As expected, a lot of major changes occurred in the function of the microbes many of which died because of the antibiotics, says Elinav.
The volunteers were divided into three groups. The first was a wait-and-see group, with no intervention after the antibiotics. The second group was given a common probiotic for a month. The third was given perhaps the least savoury option: a faecal transplant. This group had a small sample of their own stool taken before the antibiotic treatment returned to their colon once the treatment was over.
The surprising finding was that the group who received the probiotic had the poorest response in terms of their microbiome. They were the slowest group to return to a healthy gut. Even at the end of the study after five months of monitoring this group had not yet reached their pre-antibiotic gut health.
Probiotics won’t work exactly the same for everyone because gut biomes are different
We have found a potentially alarming adverse effect of probiotics, says Elinav.
The good news, incidentally, is that the group who received a faecal transplant did very well indeed. Within days, this group completely reconstituted their original microbiome.
So many people are taking antibiotics all over the world, says Elinav. We can aim to better understand this potentially very important adverse effect that we didnt realise existed.
Benefits Of Prebiotics And Prebiotic Foods
Its important to know that although all prebiotics are fiber, not all fiber is prebiotic. To be classified as a prebiotic fiber, it must be fermentable by the gut bacteria and promote growth and activity of the good bacteria in your gut, otherwise known as probiotics. Probiotics need prebiotics as food to grow and multiply.
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Tips To Help You Maintain Gut Health While On Antibiotics
Antibiotics are one of the greatest medical achievements. They help cure infections like bronchitis, pink eye, upper respiratory infections, strep throat, UTIs, pneumonia, E. coli and salmonella. They can even help with secondary bacterial infections like ear, sinus and lung infections triggered by cold and flu viruses even if they arent effective against those viruses.
Youre probably familiar with a host of different antibiotics masquerading under different drug names: penicillin, amoxicillin, doxycycline, clindamycin, azithromycin and levofloxacin, among others.
Antibiotics destroy bacteria by attacking the wall or coating surrounding the bacteria. Or they may block protein production which chokes off the bacteria. Some antibiotics also interfere with bacterias reproduction.
Despite their effectiveness against infection-causing bacteria, they can also kill off good strains of bacteria that are beneficial to your body. There are about 40 trillion microbes that live in your body, primarily in your gut. Their purpose is to bolster the immune system. Thats why taking antibiotics too often, not finishing your full dosage or using them needlessly for viral infections can disrupt the immune system and raise your chances for antibiotic resistance.
Im not surprised at the results of this poll. I experienced this problem in my own practice, says Bernard Kaminetsky, MD, medical director, MDVIP. Its important to educate patients on proper antibiotic usage.
How Badly Do Antibiotics Damage Our Gut Flora
There are around 100 trillion bacteria in our guts, so its impossible to know the precise composition of anyones microbiome before they start a course of antibiotics, or after they finish. But modern gut testing can give us a good idea.
Research has revealed that antibiotics have the potential to decimate our gut bacteria. That means that the round you took for your sinus infection could have cut your gut flora down to one tenth of its previous level. Not by one tenth, to one tenth: thats a 90 percent reduction .
The damage done appears to depend on a few factors.
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Do Probiotics Disturb Antibiotic Functioning
There is no suggestion in current research that probiotics interfere with the action of antibiotics in any way. In fact, doctors and GPs are often now recommending probiotic supplements and probiotic foods, such as yoghurts or kefir, to be taken alongside a course of antibiotics.
Ways To Support Your Gut After Antibiotics
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I used to wonder why I would get sick again and again after I had to take a course of antibiotics. Id also experience stomach issues, yeast and other uncomfortable symtoms.
I eventually learn that this is because antibiotics can kill all the bacteria in your body, not just the bad ones. This is why digestive issues are a common side effect of taking antibiotics the delicate bacterial balance in your intestines is upset.
Studies have closely linked gut bacteria to good immune function.
A huge proportion of your immune system is actually in your GI tract, says Dan Peterson, assistant professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The immune system is inside your body, and the bacteria are outside your body. And yet they interact. For example, certain cells in the lining of the gut spend their lives excreting massive quantities of antibodies into the gut. Thats what were trying to understandwhat are the types of antibodies being made, and how is the body trying to control the interaction between ourselves and bacteria on the outside?Hopkins Medicine
Of course, we take antibiotics for a good reason if our doctor prescribes them. But Ive learned that there are some simple natural things I can do to support my gut and help reduce those potential issues.
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Ways To Strengthen Your Microbiome
The microbiome consists of TRILLIONS of living microbes inside your gut. These little mood elevators work around the clock producing happy-chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine. Making sure that you have a diverse and thriving microbiome can help not only with your mental health, but can prevent things like the urge to over-eat, and can help regulate your digestive system.
Below, we have compiled a list of ways you can ensure that you have a happy and healthy microbiome!
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What Are The Best Probiotics To Take After Antibiotics
Even if you have taken a probiotic designed to be taken alongside your antibiotic medication, it is always a good idea to take a good daily probiotic after antibiotics for at least a month or so to replenish the gut microflora. Scientists are not really sure exactly how long it will take to rebuild the gut flora after antibiotics it will depend on several different factors such as the individual gut microbiome, the length of the course, the strength of medication, diet and lifestyle etc. So, what are the best probiotics after antibiotics? Well, studies show taking a probiotic supplement that contains the strains Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07® after antibiotics may help to stabilise Lactobacillus populations in the gut13. The Lactobacillus genus of friendly bacteria helps to crowd out the bad guys and keep our gut environment healthy.
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Take Probiotics During And After Treatment
Taking antibiotics can alter the gut microbiota, which can lead to antibiotic-associated diarrhea, especially in children.
Fortunately, a number of studies have shown that taking probiotics, or live healthy bacteria, can reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea .
One review of 23 studies including nearly 400 children found that taking probiotics at the same time as antibiotics could reduce the risk of diarrhea by more than 50% .
A larger review of 82 studies including over 11,000 people found similar results in adults, as well as children .
These studies showed that Lactobacilli and Saccharomyces probiotics were particularly effective.
However, given that probiotics are usually bacteria themselves, they can also be killed by antibiotics if taken together. Thus, it is important to take antibiotics and probiotics a few hours apart.
Probiotics should also be taken after a course of antibiotics in order to restore some of the healthy bacteria in the intestines that may have been killed.
One study showed that probiotics can restore the microbiota to its original state after a disruptive event, such as taking antibiotics .
If taking probiotics after antibiotics, it may be better to take one that contains a mixture of different species of probiotics, rather than just one.
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.
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S To Save Your Gut After Antibiotics
While using antibiotics is never ideal, there can be times when they are absolutely essential. Like getting a UTI on day 2 of a 7 day boat cruise around the Galapagos! But dont worry, if this is you, all hope is not lost. Its likely to take time and little bit of effort, but there are proven things you can do both during and after antibiotic treatment to reduce the damage, avoid IBS flare-ups and follow-on conditions that come with having your gut destroyed by antibiotics.
Gut After Antibiotics Heal Probiotic Supplements
You probably want to know:
> How antibiotics destroy your gut
> Why repeated use of antibiotics might stop working and cause other health issues
> How to minimise the damage of antibiotics and help re-grow good gut bacteria in five simple steps
What Are The Best Ways To Restore Gut Health
Its no secret that gut health is a non-negotiable to achieving overall health. Maintaining levels of good bacteria in the gut microbiome can be done through a number of ways, including diet and the use of probiotics.
It starts with your diet. Good bacteria feast on fibers and nutrients in plant foods these are prebiotics and they turn these substances into nutrients that nourish your gut lining and keep your gut biome balanced.
Alternatively, probiotic supplements contain billions of bacteria from one or several bacteria strains that in specific, studied doses have benefits for your health. Here are some of the most famous and well-researched probiotic bacteria and yeasts that you will find in supplements:
What Atlas Biomed says: the microbiome scientists at Atlas highlight that the benefits of probiotics may be temporary for some people, and only last as long as they are taking supplements.
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How To Repair Your Gut After Antibiotics
Your gut needs a lot of help after an antibiotic course even if you took preventions before and during the course.
1. Cut out Sugar
You got that Ryan from Drillbit Taylor!
Yeast overgrowth loves sugar and starch. You can get the yeast population back in control by removing sugar from your diet and reducing carbohydrates and starchy foods. Fungal overgrowths can attribute to a lot of problems if not brought under control.
Candida will not be able to get very far when they do not have a substantial food source. Staying away from sugar is particularly important when you are on antibiotics.
2. Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Bacteria rebuild slowly when a large portion gets wiped out. It becomes a race to repopulate, as with any other organism. You want to make sure that you feed the probiotics and starve off the harmful microbes when this happens.
The beneficial gut microbes thrive on plant fiber from fruits and vegetables. These are called prebiotics. Probiotics eat a portion of these plant fibers that humans cannot digest. These portions get converted into essential nutrients, like butyrate that helps in regaining the gut balance.
3. Add Resistant Starch to Your Diet
Unroasted cashews, raw plantain flour, raw green bananas, and raw potato starch are some sources of resistant starch. These are resistant to digestion in the human gut and are fermented by the healthy bacteria. They work a lot like prebiotics to help nourish the good bacteria in your gut.
Antibiotics Effect On Gut Health
Until a few decades ago, many healthcare researchers were of the view that a sterile body is the healthiest one.
However, the medical community now recognizes the effects and benefits of microorganisms, including bacteria for the human body but no one says Ruffles potato chips and 7UP is healthy to consume throughout the week but that did not deter Louie Lastik from Remember The Titans who obviously did not know how to eat right though this is another topic.
Researchers say that there is a whole world of good and bad microorganisms residing in your intestines, and keeping them in balance keeps you healthy. However, a course of antibiotics can seriously disrupt this balance and have powerful effects on the composition of the gut microbiome.
Here is everything you need to know about antibiotics, how they affect your gut health, and ways to recover afterwards.
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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 .
The Lack Of Consistency In The Findings On Probiotics Comes In Part Because They Are Being Treated Like Conventional Drugs
This opens the door to developing personalised probiotic treatments based on someones genetic profile. Such a system is realistic and could be developed relatively soon, says Elinav, but at this stage it remains a proof of concept. To become a reality, it will need more research on probiotic tailoring and testing more bacterial strains in larger groups of people.
This kind of personalisation may release the full potential of probiotic treatments for gut health. At the moment, the lack of consistency in the findings on probiotics comes in part because they are being treated like conventional drugs. When you take a paracetamol tablet, you can be more or less sure that the active component will do its job and work on receptors in your brain, dulling your sensation of pain. This is because most peoples pain receptors are similar enough to react in the same way to the drug.
But the microbiome is not just a receptor it is closer to an ecosystem, and sometimes likened to a rainforest in its complexity.
As a result, finding and tailoring a probiotic treatment that will work on something as intricate and individual as your own internal ecosystem is no easy task. And with that in mind, its not so surprising that a dried-out pack of bacteria from a supermarket shelf may well not do the trick.
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Make The Most Of Prebiotics
Another strategy to restore your gut flora after antibiotics is to make sure you feed it well: with foods that your gut bugs love. This means eating foods that contain high levels of prebiotics.
Prebiotics are food for bacteria in our large intestines because they arent digested further up in our small intestines. Prebiotic foods are usually high in fibre and plant polyphenols. So eat lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.
You could also try prebiotic supplements like inulin: a plant sugar thats been found to reduce the diversity-busting effects of the antibiotic ampicillin in bacterial cultures .
How Long Does It Take To Rebuild Gut Flora After Antibiotics Exactly
Youre on board, taking care of your microbiome and all its bacteria friends, and ready to get your gut up and moving properly again. How will it take?
There is no magic number here. The regrowth of eliminated bacteria all depends:
Sometimes weeks, sometimes months, and sometimes longer. Here’s our #1 piece of advice: pay attention to what you put into your body and take care of your gut whether youre taking antibiotics or not.
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