At some point in your lifetime, it’s likely you’re going to be prescribed antibiotics. Thanks to modern-day medicine, antibiotics are important to help to cure a variety of infections caused by bacteria.
However, although antibiotics kill the bad bacteria, they also unfortunately wipe out the good bacteria as well.
There are billions of bacteria that live in our bodies. These bacteria make up what is called our microbiome. Many of these bacteria live in our gut, which is why paying attention to the health of our gut microbiome is important, especially after a course of antibiotics.
There are a few important steps to take after completing antibiotics to help restore the balance of gut bacteria, which are outlined in this article. The goal here is to increase the population of healthy bacteria since many of these “good bugs” are depleted after antibiotics.
The more good bacteria we have in our guts, the healthier our digestive tract will be, which has direct positive effects on our digestion, immune system, energy levels, and mood.
Here are some steps you can take:
Probiotics are live, beneficial bacteria that improve the health of the microbiome, especially in our guts. Probiotics are found in foods and supplements. When people consume probiotic supplements and foods, the good bacteria help to encourage a healthy bacterial balance and increase the population of beneficial bacteria while reducing the “bad” bacteria. Consuming probiotics is always beneficial, but is especially helpful after being on antibiotics when our “good” bacteria count is low.
Some of the top probiotic-rich foods include:
It’s a good idea to incorporate some of these foods into your diet.
However, to ensure a regular intake of probiotics, a supplement might be your best bet. It’s best to look for probiotic supplements that contain both strains of lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, and bacillus subtilis (1, 2).
Our super greens powder contains probiotics along with anti-inflammatory organic greens. The probiotics in the blend encourage a healthy bacterial balance, while the anti-inflammatory broccoli, kale, spinach, and spirulina provide an added benefit of nutrients and antioxidants which can also positively modulate the gut bacteria.
Add a scoop of this superfood powder into a smoothie to add a boost of healthy bacteria and nutrients.
Increase your intake of prebiotics
In addition to probiotics, which are the live bacteria, prebiotics are another important addition to a post-antibiotic gut-healing regime. Prebiotics are the fuel for the probiotics.
They are the fibers that our gut bacteria use as fuel, and in turn, when the probiotics feed off of these fibers, they produce nutrients.
Some of these nutrients include something called short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs, such as butyrate, acetate, and propionate.
SCFAs promote a healthy intestinal wall and barrier and have anti-inflammatory effects. Plus, the more prebiotics we consume, the more the probiotics can feed and flourish (9).
Prebiotic-rich foods include:
- dandelion greens
Many health foods and supplements contain added prebiotic fibers supplements such as inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides (3).
In addition to containing probiotics, and anti-inflammatory greens, Naked Greens contains prebiotics as well – specifically inulin.
Add a collagen supplement
There is some research to suggest that collagen supplementation has therapeutic effects on the gut lining. This is largely due to the amino acid content in the collagen protein. Collagen contains the amino acids glycine, glutamine, and proline, which are largely beneficial to the intestines.
Glutamine for one, is the most abundant amino acid in the body and works to repair and maintain the integrity and function of the gut barrier – both of which are vital post-antibiotic treatment.
Soothing the gut with foods and supplements that help strengthen its barrier will help make it more resistant to damage and better equipped to heal after antibiotics. Incorporating a collagen supplement into your routine is a great way to provide your body with the amino acids it needs (6).
To ensure you are getting a high-quality collagen supplement it’s best to look for one sourced from grass-fed cows and without any added ingredients.
Our Naked Collagen is made exclusively from European pasture-raised and grass-fed bovines, it’s highly soluble, and tasteless, making it an easy addition to your morning coffee or smoothie.
Reduce added sugar
It’s a great idea to cut back on your added sugar intake, especially during and after taking antibiotics.
When good bacteria are diminished as a result of antibiotics, the environment in our gut is more opportune for the growth of yeast. Candida albicans, in particular, is a common yeast that tends to grow in a diminished bacterial environment (7).
Candida thrives on sugar, and the more sugar in our diets, the more candida will grow, which inhibits healthy bacteria from repopulating. Therefore, reducing sugars and even some carbohydrate-rich foods – such as white bread and pasta – during and after antibiotics is a good idea to reduce the growth of candida.
Eat whole foods
There is no better way to fuel your body with the nutrients in needs than to eat real, whole foods. While cutting sugar is a great way to begin to allow space for healthy gut flora, it will only get you so far if the rest of your diet is lacking in nutrients.
Choose fruits, vegetables, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, wild fish and seafood, eggs, organic dairy products, beans, nuts, and seeds to provide your body with healthy sources of carbohydrates, protein, fats, as well as vitamins and minerals.
One of the important nutrients for gut health is fiber. Eating whole foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains is a fantastic way to provide your body – and gut – with the fiber it needs to fuel a population of healthy gut bacteria (8).
Antibiotic use impairs the health of our gut microbiome. While frequent antibiotic use may wreak havoc on our gut health, taking occasional antibiotics is no reason to fret.
When you do find yourself needing to take antibiotics, try a few of the tips on this article to keep your gut health on point, and restore its microbial balance.