We just have to take antibiotics sometimes…
Antibiotic use has risen worldwide and will continue to rise every year.
People are prescribed antibiotics to treat many illnesses that do not actually require the use of antibiotics.
The result of widespread and growing antibiotic use affects our population by decreasing their effectiveness (humans become resistant to antibiotics) which means new antibiotics need to be created for treatment. This is an issue because newer, more powerful drugs must be created for use.
Antibiotics work by ‘bombing’ all bacteria in our bodies. They are not specific to, say the bad bugs that cause painful urinary tract infections. And as most of our bacteria are found in the gut, these (good and bad) bacteria are nuked.
The correlation between antibiotics and gut health is really important.
By clearing out the population of our gut bacteria, we experience a huge negative impact of antibiotics and gut bacteria levels.
Our microbiome is the collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that live inside our body – 90% living inside our gut.
Keeping a well balanced and healthy gut bacteria is essential to good health and a clear mind, and if you are reading this, you are likely working towards good gut health with a clean diet and good practices.
And while it is best not to take antibiotics, there are occasions that we simply must. Anyone who has experienced a debilitating urinary tract infection (UTI), ear infection, or bacterial infection knows that taking antibiotics is sometimes the only answer.
So if you must take the antibiotics, then there are steps you can take to ensure your quickest recovery from a clearing of your gut garden and antibiotic recovery. Being aware of what you need to do to prepare for this medication is essential in a quick antibiotic recovery.
We need to work on balancing the taking of antibiotics and gut health.
You will be armed to repair your digestive system and rebuilding your gut microbiome system if you take the following steps before, during and after your antibiotic treatment.
With a view to having antibiotics and your gut work better together, if you follow the below points you will experience a 3 days bounce back if you follow carefully. If you continue for 1 week, and then 1-2 months, you can restore your gut to optimum levels even after using the antibiotics.
If you have never tried a good supplement for everyday health, now is a great time to get into a simple daily routine with something like this awesome Ultimate Youth Super Green Food.
7 Steps to Antibiotic Recovery
Sugar is the enemy. Always the enemy of optimum health, but especially when we are exposed to antibiotics.
Why? Well in the case of a healthy gut, sugar is the main food preference for the bugs we do NOT want to flourish.
Sugar feeds the very common Candida yeast, which causes all sorts of issues. Some may be extreme like vaginal thrush and eczema skin disorder, but some may be ongoing smaller issues which just seem like not 100% perfect health such as tiredness, unexplained small rashes or irritations in the digestive system.
Fungi is another sugar eating member of the gut microbiome that can become overgrown in the delicate digestive system. Normally our good bacteria keep the fungi levels at bay, but when wiped out by antibiotics, the fungi can become overgrown and cause issues within the lining of the intestines that lead to leaky gut syndrome and general weakness in the gut.
By starving the body of sugar, these not so nice critters we live together with will be kept at in check and at their safest (minimum) levels.
Remember, sugar is in a lot more food and drinks than you first think. Soda drinks, alcohol, fruit juices, processed carbohydrates (that turn straight into sugar) and fast foods must all be avoided if you want to get back to great gut health following antibiotics.
Start your sugar strike as soon as you know you will be taking the antibiotics, and continue diligently for at least 1 week after the course is complete. 1-2 months is best to maintain the low sugar diet and will benefit your entire system including your immune system which has been compromised by the illness or infection.
If you continue to keep sugar to an absolute minimum, you will experience endless side effects such as weight loss, improved energy, better health, and better sleep just to name a few. Well worth a try, and now you have a reason to get started!
Load up on Probiotics
As we know, probiotics are actual live bacteria that you take orally to build up the colony of good guys in your microbiome. By increasing the good guys you will crowd out the bad guys and create the best ecosystem possible.
Probiotics can be taken as supplements but the best type is found in the foods you eat.
Think fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchee, and pickled vegetables. A wide variety of fresh, organic vegetables contain beneficial bacterial so increase your vegetable intake to get the widest possible range of new healthy bugs into your gut.
While you take the antibiotics, make sure you allow a 2-hour window either side of the antibiotic dosage to allow time for them to blast and do their job before repopulating the gut garden with the good guys.
I normally continue to supplement probiotics and eating everything fermented I can get my hands on for a good month after the antibiotic dose.
Collagen is the protein that keeps everything held together nicely in both your digestive system as well as the skeletal and muscular system.
It is well known that collagen is like a building block that helps to grow healthy strong nails, hair, and skin. Look at how many collagen facial products are available (oral and topical).
It works in the same way for your amazing digestive system. By keeping the gut walls (intestines) strong and healthy, a physical barrier is maintained between the action zone (inside the intestines) and the no-go zone (outside the intestines). If there are leaks or breaks in the lining, then molecules from the digestive process can pass through to the body and be harmful. Many bacteria and viruses are normally too small to pass through the lining of the gut walls, but once there is a break in the wall, they sneak in and can cause all sorts of issues.
Antibiotics cause the lining of the gut to take a hit through fungi and other weaknesses so keep this in mind as something you need to do when healing your gut after antibiotics.
The nicest way to get fantastic collagen is through a bone broth. Either beef or chicken is really good and contains collagen, gelatin and other nutrients that make a stronger gut wall perimeter. You can also drink gelatin granules dissolved in a glass of water with some lemon juice twice a day to get the good stuff into your body.
If you are vegan, look for marine collagen or supplements that contain collagen.
And, if you are getting your collagen by supplement make sure you go for something with Vitamin C because this “Ascorbic Acid” is the secret weapon that helps the collagen to be absorbed.
Eat Your Veggies
It is always a good time for vegetables, but especially good when you are recovering from an infection and when you are trying to rebuild your gut health after antibiotic use.
Eating a wide variety of fresh, organic vegetables will feed the good bacteria in your gut and help keep increasing the population of the good bacteria population. Also, by keeping your fiber intake high, your digestive system will be working at a more optimum level as you recover from your infection or illness.
Why a wide variety? Aside from providing different phytonutrients from different colors and a broader range of antioxidants and vitamins offering benefits from different vegetable types, keep in mind that different vegetables come from different geographic locations and will, therefore, offer you different microbes. This is a really good thing as you repopulate your gut garden after an antibiotic episode.
Great veggies for your gut include :
- Garlic, onions, artichokes
- Asparagus, burdock root, dark leafy greens, green beans
- Grapefruit, apples, raspberries, blueberries, bananas (green bananas are packed with higher fiber than ripe bananas)
- Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage
Check out my previous blog on adding fiber to your diet
Check out this awesome product that I like to drink every day – Ultimate Youth Super Green Food.
Support Your Liver
Your liver is a very hard working organ indeed. It is the organ that works to assist with the processing of foreign bodies, chemicals and substances are digested into the body.
When you take antibiotics, your body treats medicine as a foreign body and need to work harder to process them. Over the counter medicines, anti-inflammatories, pain killers, sleeping aids and medicinal syrups are all seen as chemical and foreign. They do their job (like antibiotics) when needed, but do put pressure on the digestive and elimination systems.
Give your liver some help by going easy on it – no alcohol, no processed foods, limit additional chemicals like caffeine. Keep things alkaline by sipping warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice a few times a day. Try Milk Thistle Seed as a supplement or tea – this is a great liver lover.
Hydrate, Hydrate. Hydrate
Hydration is the key to many health issues. When you are tired, simply drinking plenty of fresh water will flush the system, nourish all your cells and help plump you up.
Think about a plant – without water, it is wilted and soft. Water it, and it will stand up strong and be firm and beautifully colored. Your cells are the same as the pant – keep them hydrated and they will be stronger, work better, and be able to remove their cellular waste with more ease.
As part of the detoxification, or removal of cellular waste, it is essential to keep hydrated.
As part of a tactic to heal your gut after antibiotic use, hydration works by keeping the digestive system running smoothly, stools will be softer and more easily (evacuated). When you are getting rid of bad bacteria (which can actually make up to 60% of your stool content – WOW!) and other body waste, you want that stuff gone as fast as possible. If it lingers around in the lower intestine because you are slightly constipated from dehydration and the flow on effects of antibiotics or other chemicals, then you are more likely to re-absorb what should be eliminated quickly.
Water is the key to great health – it aids all bodily systems and you need to make sure you drink AT LEAST 1 liter of good quality water a day – more if you have been unwell and are in recovery, or if you are super active and live in a hot climate.
Get Less Stressed
The mind-gut axis is a connection between the brain and the digestive tract linked by the Vagus Nerve.
It has been proven that the brain and the gut are physically linked.
More serotonin is made in the gut than the brain.
A happy gut makes for a happy brain.
Likewise, keeping stress levels low, being mindful, self-care and relaxation are ESSENTIAL non-food nutrition items you need in both recovery after illness and recovery from antibiotic use if you want to build a happy gut garden.
Take time to breathe, meditate and be mindful of how your body works. Practice gratitude for the amazing creation our human bodies are, and their ability to heal. Listen to high vibrational frequencies that help to repair DNA on a cellular level. Exercise your body each day with a gentle walk, yoga, gardening. Smile more, laugh more.
Taking a mindful positive attitude will help you recover faster, and will make your happy gut bacteria sing.
Make the Commitment
I hope these strategies have helped you in your preparation for, and recovery from antibiotic use.
I hope that an understanding of how to repair the damage that is done from essential treatment when needed will ease your stress when taking antibiotics, and bring more mindfulness to your daily activities in the weeks afterward.
It may seem like a commitment, but it is well worth it, YOU are well worth it.
Stick to the plan for a minimum 3 days to feel a difference, continue for a month or so after treatment to REALLY feel a difference – perhaps you might even feel better than before you started!
Check out an awesome book by Dr. Robynne Chutkan, The Microbiome Solution, if you want to get into the nitty gritty of ‘Living Dirty, Eating Clean’ after you take antibiotics. I have written a review here that will explain more about the book to you – give it a go!