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Help Your Body Recover from Antibiotics Naturally

Help Your Body Recover from Antibiotics Naturally

The gut stuff

We are fortunate to live in an age where many infectious diseases that would have formerly been life-threatening can now be treated simply and effectively with a round of antibiotics.

When you’re up against something stronger than the common cold —pneumonia, sinusitis, strep throat— your doctor may prescribe an extremely valuable course of antibiotics.

We are however commonly hearing more about the potential consequences of the inappropriate use of antibiotics. From antibiotic resistance to the damage of our own friendly gut bacteria.

Antibiotics tend not to discriminate. So, when they go to work effectively wiping out the “bad” bacteria causing problems in your body, they also take out the beneficial bacteria as well.
This means that the good bacterial colonies in our guts can suffer some extreme damage, if not wiped out entirely, with a course of antibiotics.

The “good” bacteria, also known as your gut flora, are made up of thousands of different species of bacteria that live in your intestines.
They are a diverse community of bacteria that help you to:

  • break down food
  • synthesise various nutrients
  • keep harmful substances from entering your body
  • even strengthen your immune system

When this community is disturbed, it can quickly become unbalanced. This is also why digestive issues are a common side effect of taking antibiotics, as the delicate bacterial balance in your intestines is upset.

The extent of the effects to your gut flora will depend on the strength of the antibiotic and the length of time that you take it. Fortunately, there are ways you can support your body and heal your gut during and after taking antibiotics. These help to reduce the side effects and ultimately strengthen your immune system.

No. 1 – Don’t Quit!

If your doctor prescribes you antibiotics and believes you have a bacterial infection that may not clear on its own, take the antibiotic course prescribed completely.

It’s incredibly important that you finish your prescription, even if you feel better partway through. Failing to do so, you risk your infection returning or mutating into an antibiotic-resistant form. If it returns, you may even have to take another course of antibiotics, and that’s not fun for anyone, especially your gut.

No. 2 – Eat Real Food and Stay Hydrated

Diet has a major effect on your gut flora. The typical western diet is high in processed foods, added sugar and omega-6 fats. It’s also low in omega-3 fats, fibre and nutrient-dense veggies. This diet causes negative changes to many strains of gut bacteria. When your gut is already taking a hit from the antibiotics, you definitely don’t want to add a meagre diet into the mix.

Instead, opt for a low-glycaemic, whole-foods diet rich in:

  • fruit and vegetables
  • high-quality protein
  • good fats like avocado, coconut, hemp, flax and omega-3 oils
  • plenty of fibre.
  • And don’t forget to stay hydrated

Drink plenty of pure water and herbals teas as well as nutrient-dense fluids. These include fresh veggie juices and smoothies, miso broth or bone broth for meat-eaters.

To further support your healing, you can add in foods that will help combat infection. These include:

You can check out our fire cider recipe here for some super immune support.

No. 3 – Find a Quality Probiotic

Make sure to get your hands on a good quality probiotic like Super 8Bio Kult or Optibac. These can be taken whilst you’re taking antibiotics and afterwards. Just remember to take them at least 2 hours apart, if not longer. This will give the probiotics a better chance of settling in and not getting killed instantly by the antibiotics.

Studies have shown that taking probiotics along with antibiotics can be effective in both preventing and treating side effects, such as diarrhoea and candida.

Since the antibiotics will wipe out your good gut bacteria, look for a probiotic with a large variety of strains since you want to replenish as much of the bacteria as you can.

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No. 4 – Add Fermented Foods to Your Diet

To help restore your healthy gut bacteria, go for naturally fermented foods and drinks. These will help reintroduce live bacterial cultures to your digestive system.

Fermented foods like:

  • sauerkraut
  • lacto-fermented veggies
  • milk and water kefir
  • live yoghurt
  • greek yoghurt
  • kimchi
  • kombucha all naturally contain probiotics. The more probiotics you have in your diet the better!

Of course, a probiotic supplement will help replenish your gut bacteria during and after a bout of antibiotics, but the more sources and varieties you can get in, the better!

Check out our Nourish fridges for some of the products mentioned above, or why not try making your own? See our blog here on making your own sauerkraut. To learn a bit more about the importance of fermented foods, check out our previous blog here.

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No. 5 – Don’t Forget Your Prebiotics

Prebiotics are indigestible fibres that work their way through your digestive tract to the colon. Here they are fermented and broken down by the probiotic bacteria. Try thinking of prebiotics as the probiotics food source if you will.

You’re looking to re-populate your gut with plenty of happy probiotics. By eating prebiotic foods, you can help feed and support your gut bacteria and, as a result, your immune system.

Prebiotic-rich foods include artichoke, leafy greens, garlic, onion, chicory root, pears, green bananas, plantains, asparagus, dandelion greens, leeks, and jicama.

No. 6 – Focus on Gut Repair and Support with Glutamine

This becomes especially crucial after you’re finished using antibiotics.
Glutamine is an amino acid that helps to improve gut function and immunity. It also repairs and replenishes the cells that line your intestines, thereby keeping your intestinal barrier strong and keeping harmful things from being absorbed.

After a stressful period, disease or bout of antibiotics, glutamine may just be the ticket to enhancing your gut repair and supporting you from inside out.

Red cabbage is an uber-high plant source of L-glutamine, therefore eating cabbage in the form of fermented sauerkraut is one of the most bioavailable ways to get in L-glutamine – woo hoo!
Due to the fact that it is fermented, it also provides your gut with important probiotics that help your body absorb this nutrient.

If you require extra glutamine support in the form of L-glutamine supplements, we also stock those in-store and online.

We hope you feel better soon and rest up well!

Emily Nöth

Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare or contact ask@nourish.ie.  Follow (and chat with us) on Facebook and Instagram or subscribe to our weekly Nourish newsletter.

*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention. Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.

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