Antibiotics and Gut Health

Imagine a vibrant and diverse community living in peace.  This healthy community of living organisms is in perfect balance and functioning perfectly. It contributes to the well being of those around it and life just doesn’t get any better than this.

But alas, it’s too good to last! For an enemy, without warning, swoops in and annihilates everything in it’s path without mercy. No prisoners taken. Just carnage left in its wake.

Who or What is this ruthless enemy?  Well, we are speaking of antibiotics of course.

While the above may be a bit dramatic for an example, most people don’t realize the damage antibiotics do to your digestive health. Now don’t get us wrong. There are times where an antibiotic may be absolutely necessary. But what most doctors fail to mention to the patient is the necessity of follow up care and supplementation after taking antibiotics.

Antibiotics kill bacteria, plain and simple. Problem is, they wipe out everything, including the good bacteria. Your digestive system is filled with microbes that are essential to your good health. There are hundreds of different species of bacteria that help you digest your food, create and synthesize vitamins, repel invading pathogens, create neurotransmitters, and more.  Antibiotics upset the delicate balance necessary for health and proper digestion.

So what are some things you can do to replenish beneficial gut flora after (even during) taking antibiotics?

  1. Diet: You need to feed and house good bacteria that still remain in your gut. Eat a lot of raw, preferably organic vegetables and fruits. Soluble fiber gives food and structure for good bacteria to multiply on.
  2. Sugar: Avoid all processed sugar as it feeds Candida and other “bad” bacteria. Even fruits with a higher sugar content should be limited at this time.
  3. Probiotics: Probiotics are foods (Kombucha tea, kefir, etc.) or supplements that contain beneficial bacteria. There is a plethora of probiotic supplementation out there and not all of them good and certainly not equal. Consult Dr. Sayed Shah for his recommendation.
  4. Fats: Many of the probiotics don’t make it past the stomach acid. It is important to eat some good fats when taking probiotics (think olive oil or coconut oil).
  5. Limit antibiotic use: As much as possible, limit your use of antibiotics. Seek alternative options if feasible.
  6. Consult an Integrative Medicine Doctor: When it comes to digestive health, it needs to be taken seriously. There are a whole host of diseases related to the digestive system and many develop slowly over time. Even something as mild as gas or bloating after meals is a sign that there is a problem. It isn’t normal!
    Sayed A. Shah, MD of Mandala Integrative Medicine is knowledgeable when it comes to digestive disorders and can provide the proper guidance you need to navigate this complex system of your body.