Symptoms are finally gone, and you are feeling better. It’s time to restore your gut after a round of antibiotics. Good gut bacteria are critical for your overall health, especially when you’re recovering from an illness.
Imbalances in gut flora can cause hormonal imbalances, eczema, insomnia, anxiety, and many other ailments. Many factors affect your gut bacteria, one of those is antibiotics.
Using antibiotics for healing
Restoring your gut health after a round of antibiotics starts by understanding the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.
Health care providers prescribe antibiotics for common conditions and treat serious infections, such as chest infections, pneumonia, skin and wound infections, bladder and kidney conditions, and ear infections.
The same diseases that were once life-threatening are now easily stopped with a prescription of antibiotics. They are literally life-saving!
Most health advocates agree we should take antibiotics as infrequently as possible, most also agree they are definitely essential.
How do antibiotics affect gut health?
The bad news is antibiotics don’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria – they simply kill off bacterial colonies in our guts.
This has a major impact on our guts. Not only because it rids you of a lot of beneficial gut bacteria, but also because they can cause a permanent change in our guts. One course of antibiotics may alter your gut flora.
Different antibiotics and combinations of medications affect the microbiome in different ways. It seems amoxicillin doesn’t change total bacterial numbers and microbial diversity significantly. Yet, a combination of antibiotics with ampicillin, gentamicin, metronidazole, neomycin, and vancomycin shifted the gut’s microbiome and the number of total bacteria.
Frequent use of antibiotics also spreads genes resistant to antibiotics. So future use of antibiotics disturbs gut health even more.
How can I restore gut health after using antibiotics?
Start with what you’re eating. Good bacteria thrive on fiber and nutrients in plant foods.
One helpful food you can eat after an illness is bone broth. Remember when you were sick, and you craved old fashion chicken noodle soup?
It’s not the chicken or the noodles that help you feel better. It is the broth, which is packed with amino acids, like glutamine, and rich in essential minerals. Studies have proven that the amino acid glutamine plays a major role in repairing the epithelial lining of the gut.
The Role of Fermented Food
We can’t 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.
Probiotic Supplementation to Support Gut Health
In a perfect world, we could all eat homemade, nutrient-rich food every single meal. In reality, it isn’t so easy. Sometimes the best way to recover good gut bacteria is with high-quality supplements.
Taking fermented cod liver oil and top-grade probiotic supplements can support your health.
How long does it take to increase good bacteria in the gut?
There isn’t a definite timeframe to how long it takes to repopulate the gut with good bacteria. It depends on how healthy your microbiome is, what you eat, medications you take, exercise, sleep, and more.
The good news is, the gut microbiome responds to lifestyle changes. As you make positive changes, you can restore your gut health.
How do I maintain good bacteria in the gut?
A balanced diet with plant-rich prebiotics and probiotics can help you maintain levels of good bacteria in the gut microbiome.
Are there any side effects of probiotics?
Probiotics are generally safe. They are especially helpful to take during and after antibiotics used to support the health of your gut.
Why is the gut microbiome important?
The gut microbiome is the most bacterially diverse part of your body, and it’s affected by what you eat, drink, your activity levels, and the medications you take.
Zhang, S., Chen, D. 2019. Monitoring Editor: Li-Min ChenFacing a new challenge: the adverse effects of antibiotics on gut microbiota and host immunity. Chin Med J. 1135–1138. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6511407/
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