Antibiotics are used by millions of people in the U.S every year as a preventative and treatment of bacterial infections.
Aside from the global concerns about antibiotic resistance, gut health is another area to feel the effects of these bacteria-killing medicines. Since the gut contains trillions of bacteria, we are looking at ways to replenish these naturally to restore your gut health after antibiotics.
How do antibiotics affect gut health?
Although antibiotics kill bacterial infections, they also wipe out the good bacteria in our gut. Just one course of antibiotics can be enough to destroy gut flora for around one-two years.
You may notice these side-effects from taking antibiotics:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloating and abdominal pain
- Indigestion and heart burn
- Less appetite
Our gut health effects our whole body from our brain, emotions, and sleep, to our immune system and nutrient absorption. The gut is the epicenter of our overall health, so it is important to keep it balanced with enough good bacteria.
This is where probiotics come in. The theory is that when our microbiome becomes depleted by antibiotics, we can repopulate it with probiotics. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as it sounds. This is because not all probiotic bacteria are strong enough to make it through the acidic conditions to reach the GI tract.
Furthermore, some types of probiotic bacteria can delay your recovery from taking antibiotics. This is because certain types of bacteria were not dominant in your gut before taking antibiotics. So, a sudden influx of new probiotic bacteria may influence new dominant strains, causing a delay in the return of your ‘normal’ dominant strains.
That is why it is extremely important to choose broad-spectrum probiotics that work effectively with your body and are found in the gut already.
5 Ways to replenish your gut health after antibiotics.
The human body is a clever vessel and is always looking for ways to heal. You can assist this process and speed up the gut flora recovery time with these five natural ways to restore good gut health after taking antibiotics:
1. Take probiotics
Probiotics are the best way to help repopulate the good bacteria in your gut after antibiotics. The key is to choose hardy bacteria that are already found in your gut and that can survive passing through the stomach. Probiotic 10 Billion is a good example of this. As a broad-spectrum probiotic it restores the gut flora after antibiotics, supports healthy immune function, and promotes healthy digestion.
2. Enjoy anti-inflammatory foods
Avoid foods and drinks that could cause inflammation such as processed sugars, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol. These types of foods and drinks can delay recovery of gut flora and overall health. Include more foods to promote healing of the intestinal walls such as those that include collagen like bone broth. Foods such as sauerkraut, garlic, kimchi, and pineapple also promote gut health.
3. Get quality sleep
Our sleeping patterns may seem unrelated to gut health after antibiotics, but it’s actually directly linked. A late night occasionally won’t do much harm to gut health, but when recovering from an infection and antibiotic use, the body needs all the rest it can get. If you are finding it hard to sleep at night, instead of reaching for sleeping pills that may contain ingredients which could further harm your gut, consider natural methods such as breathwork, binaural beats, or homeopathic remedies.
Our gut is directly connected to the brain via the gut-brain axis. When stress happens in the brain, the gut is the first place to feel it. Ever had a gut feeling, butterflies, or know something in the pit of your stomach? This is due to the gut-brain axis. Stress can weaken the intestinal walls, cause diarrhea or constipation, and inflammation. Since our gut health is particularly sensitive after taking antibiotics, it is wise to take measures to de-stress to avoid exaggerating the potential side effects.
Studies have shown that there are striking differences in the gut bacteria of those who exercise regularly, and those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Luckily, you don’t have to become an athlete to help improve your gut health. But the research does show that exercise increases the diversity of your gut bacteria, which is exactly to aim for after being wiped out by antibiotics.
When you incorporate each of these into your daily routine, your gut flora recovers faster and creates a positive ripple effect to your overall health and wellbeing.
Visit our blog to discover more about the health benefits of probiotics and learn other natural health tips.