How To Recover From Antibiotics May 13 2016 by Simone Denny
Usually we talk about how we can recover from an illness or infection by using antibiotics but, today I want to talk to you about how we can recover from a dose of antibiotics.
Antibiotics play an important role in fighting pathogenic bacteria and play a key role in modern day health. However taking antibiotics comes at a cost. Antibiotics strip away the bad bacteria in the body but also eradicate the good bacteria, making them ineffective. This bacteria disruption in the body has been linked to digestive disorders, allergies, autism, depression, MS, colon cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and more recently obesity (source: Sally Bundell: Listener: January 2016).
Did you know that our microbiota (bacteria) makes up 90% of our living cells? These microbes are vital for our health. According to Alanna Collen (author of 10% Human: How Your Body's Mircobes Hold the the Key to Health and Happiness) our microbes synthesise vitamins, help us digest food, adjust sex pheromones, keep pathogenic bacteria in check, impact our sleep patterns and regulate blood pressure.
In our recent interview with Lee Holmes on her book How To Heal Your Gut, we spoke about the importance of good bacteria in the gut. The gut holds 70% of our immune function and is sometimes called the second brain. The gut sends messages to the brain and it is often the first place we experience emotions such as stress. When microbes in the gut are disrupted everything can be impacted from our weight to our mental health. Rob Knight, co-founder of the American Gut Project says that the connection between gut health and mental health is absolutely conclusive and the data is continuing to accumulate.
Although antibiotics have been responsible for the significant drop in infectious diseases there as been a surge of inflammatory diseases, which is often due to poor immune function caused by compromised gut bacteria. These inflammatory diseases may include auto-immune diseases, autism, diabetes, depression, asthma - the list goes on.
Yes, it does all sound a bit overwhelming but there are ways you can help rebuild the good bacteria. Author of the book 'Dirt Cure', Maya Shetreat-Klein says we should be exposing our children to a more diverse microbial community, meaning exposure to animals, farms, healthy soil - basically our lives have become to clean. This in turn will reduce inflammatory diseases in later life.
Lisa Guy, Sydney based naturopath from the Art of Healing shares some of her top tips with the Nourishing Hub for rebuilding our gut flora post antibiotics
- Yoghurt is a probiotic food containing live bacteria, namely acidophilus and bifidus. Eating yoghurt regularly will help promote the growth of ‘good’ intestinal bacteria which play a major role in our immune function, proper digestion and production of certain vitamins. Look for the ‘live & active cultures or bacteria’ seal, and watch out for ones that contain high levels of sugar.
- Try making smoothies or salad dressings from kefir, a fermented milk drink similar to that of drinking-yoghurt, but with a more tart taste. Kefir is also considered a probiotic food, containing more than 30 different beneficial bacteria. Including kefir in your diet will help to promote a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria.
- Taking a probiotic supplement daily is one of the best ways to help prevent the overgrowth of disease-causing organisms in your digestive tract and promote good health. Taking a probiotic will help establish a healthy balance of good bacteria, especially important after taking antibiotics. Probiotics are best taken in-between meals and most need to be refrigerated.
- Eat plenty of foods rich in soluble fibre, such as legumes, oats, brown rice and vegetables. Soluble fibre supports the health of the colon and immune system by maintaining healthy populations of ‘good’ intestinal bacteria. Acting as a ‘prebiotic’ they stimulate the growth and activity of these beneficial bacteria and discourage the growth of harmful organisms.
- Include foods such as bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, leek, and dandelion greens in the diet. These foods are called ‘prebiotics’, which contain non-digestible food fibres that feed the good bacteria in your intestines, helping them to stick to the bowel wall and ensure that they grow and thrive.
- Add garlic to meals were ever you can. Eating garlic regularly will help promote a healthy balance of good intestinal bacteria. Garlic contains a sulphur compound called allicin, which acts like a natural antibiotic, killing off harmful bacteria and organisms, but unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics it won’t harm the good bacteria.
- Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, and fermented sprouts and vegetables are highly nutritious and an important addition to the diet for good health. When foods are fermented they create beneficial bacteria such as lactobacilli, which enhances the proliferation of good intestinal bacteria. The fermenting process also improves a foods digestibility and increases its nutrient content.
Thank you to the lovely Lisa for sharing her tips. Be sure to check out Lisa's new beautiful naturopathic tea range at Bodhi Organic Tea.
Homeopathic medicine is an excellent way to recover from even chronic antibiotic use. Homeopaths can prescribe a simple Homeopathic medicine that will stimulate the body to eliminate any remaining ill effects from the use or over use of antibiotics and also at the same time assist your immune system to function optimally. For more information on homeopathy (how to learn to treat your family) connect with Sam Adkins The Homeopathic Coach.
Be sure to check our our top picks for keeping your gut health in order below. My personal favourites (and probably the customer favourite) is the Nattrition 2012 fermented probiotics made from fermented wholefoods. I have started using the Probiotic For Kids version of this for my girls (suitable for smoothies) and I really like this too.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Maya Shetreat-Klein: Dirt Cure - Growning Healthy Kids with Food Straight from the Soil
Alana Collen: 10% Human: How Your Body's Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness
Rob Knight and Brendan Buhlar: Follow Your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes
New Zealand Listener, Sally Bundell: January 2016