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July 12, 2017
Rebuilding the Gut after Antibiotics: Healing the Gut After Antibiotic Use
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As many of you know, the benefits of a healthy gut and gut microbiome are astounding. As a refresher, your GI tract is filled with beneficial bacterial. The composition of the bacteria in your gut (more good versus bad is ideal) can affect your body weight, disease risk, metabolism, behavior and cognition. Also, 70% of your body’s immune cells are located in your gut, so your gut health is directly related to the health of your immune system.
Getting into more personal specifics, I have a history of digestive discomfort and GI trouble. Keeping my gut happy and avoiding IBS flare ups and illness is a big deal for me. Gut health is an important topic in the Miller household. Moreover, once I learned that pathogenic (aka bad) bacteria could negatively affect my mood, I was bound and determined to keep my gut healthy and robust.
But what do we do when we get a sinus infection or another type of illness that requires an antibiotic? This is what happened to me. I got an infection I couldn’t kick and three rounds of antibiotics later, my infection was gone BUT so was all of my good bacteria. This is what antibiotics do. They kill the bad bacteria but they also kill the good bacteria as well.
So I went on a hunt to find the best way to heal and replenish the gut after a massive assault on the system, like antibiotics. I found three easy tips that can make a big impact. Keep in mind that rebuilding your gut can take time (up to four years, according to Pro Club’s own resident Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Brooke Weitz)!
- Put the good gut buggies back with a probiotic!
Antibiotics kill all the gut bacteria, good and bad. So we need to start by putting the good bacteria back. Wait until you are done taking your antibiotic to start a probiotic.
Regarding yogurts and fermented foods, these are great additions to a diet, but will not have enough live and active gut bugs to repopulate the gut post antibiotic use. This is why a higher count probiotic supplement is recommended. When looking for a probiotic, you want to look for a high number of strains, and a high number of colony forming units (CFU’s). Also, make sure the product has an expiration date! You don’t want to be consuming dead bacteria.
20/20 Lifestyles Probiotic Max (pictured above) has four good bacteria strains and 100 Billion CFUs and is sold at the Resource Center and 20/20 Front Desk upstairs, where you can use your HSA or FSA cards if desired.
Or this product has 34 strains and 100 billion CFU’s. This would be a great product to use post antibiotic use.
Another good tip regarding probiotics is to vary brands and products. Since many products contain different bacterial strains, alternating and trying different products will give you different strains.
2. Feed the good gut buggies!
Bacteria love fiber. Fiber can take the form of prebiotics, which is food for the bacteria in your gut. This is an easy tip - just think of raw fruits and vegetables. Focusing more heavily on fibrous vegetables is a great way to boost gut health, and feed your gut bugs.
3. Avoid processed sugar!
Bad bacteria thrive on processed sugar. So while rebuilding your gut microbiome, we want to starve out the bad bacterial colonies and let our good bacterial colonies flourish.
So if antibiotics are inevitable in your future, follow up your course with these three tips to restore your gut health! If you have more questions or have had a significant GI problem recently you can talk to your 20/20 doctor and dietitian for specific recommendations that are research based too. Give us a call at (425) 861-6258 today to get tailored help for your gut and life.
To read more of our Probiotics Blog Series: follow for What is a Probiotic, What is Dysbiosis, Dysbiosis and Disease, and Dysbiosis and Your Brain.