Did You Take An Antibiotic? Here's What To Eat To Repopulate Your Gut The Right Way
So, you took an antibiotic. You probably really need one and now you want to know how to help your body recover after taking them.
If you took an antibiotic and worry about what it does to your system? It gets so confusing. Can you repopulate your gut with yogurt? Do you need an expensive probiotic?
Let's take a little bit better look at what's going on and what you can do.
Antibiotics Try To Kill Everything – Especially In Your Gut
Antibiotics kill bacteria. And they're very good at it.
The problem comes when you take them orally. This is because the antibiotic has to work its way through your digestive system and be absorbed into your blood before it can actually work where you want it to work.
Doctors and pharmaceutical companies know they have to give very large doses of antibiotics just to make it through the digestive system. That's because much of the antibiotics go into killing your natural gut flora. And while an antibiotics can save your life, it can also cause problems after you stop taking it.
What Happens To Your Gut (And Body) After Antibiotics
When antibiotics go through and wipe out the majority of bacteria in your digestive system, it causes problems.
First, bacteria probiotics were not the only ones in your gut. Beneficial yeast (and some not so beneficial) coexist with the bacteria. Antibiotics don't remove these yeasts. But, it can allow them to run ramped, taking over areas they shouldn't or crowding out any healthy probiotics that might be left.
Then, you could be dealing with nutritional deficiencies. Many of the probiotic bacteria help break down our food to release vitamins and minerals. Without them, these vitamins and minerals passed through our system untouched.
Some probiotic bacteria actually produce vitamins, such as Vitamin K and folate. This vitamin is necessary for blood clotting. Other probiotics help encourage the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
And then there's the psychoneuroimmunology factor. This branch of science is fairly new and deals with how the gut, immune system, and brain are interconnected. Some exciting research found that the probiotics in our gut directly impact our immune system and can help or hinder our ability to feel happy or sad.
If the probiotics in your gut get hampered or destroyed by antibiotics, it could make your immune system weaker overall. Or, it could make you feel more depressed and lethargic.
Here's How To Restore Your Balance
Fortunately, you can fix the situation.
Repopulating your gut takes a little bit of time and work, but it can be restored to help again within a couple of weeks. Let's take a look at what your options are for helping your gut.
Up until about a hundred years ago, fermented food comprised anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 of a person's diet. Fermented foods contain tremendous amounts of probiotic bacteria in many different strains and quantities. People got a continuous dose of these probiotics every day and every meal.
Today, we have to go out of our way to eat fermented foods. But, we do have lots of options. Kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, natto, pickles, and so many more made their way onto the grocery store shelves and in farmer's markets.
What's great is that many of these foods are delicious, and a single spoonful has as many, if not more, probiotics than the leading supplement.
We recommend giving some of these a try. With the wide range of flavors you can get, we're sure you'll find something you enjoy.
Of course, supplements are also a viable option. Many different companies produce different varieties at different strengths.
You might be surprised by the quantity - hundreds of millions to billions of bacteria in a tiny little capsule. There needs to be enough so some of them can make it to your intestine, where they will make their home.
But, more is not always better. You're better off using a stabilized supplement or slow-release. That way, the probiotics are protected from your stomach acid so they can get to where they need to be.
Also, choose variety. Hundreds of different strains of probiotics exist in harmony in your gut. Although some are more beneficial than others, relying on just one doesn't give you much of a benefit. Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium are wonderful and very helpful. Some studies show that they help relieve constipation, diarrhea, IBS, and even depression, anxiety, and skin problems.
But, they need to work together with other probiotics, which is why you should mix it up. Choosing a supplement that has multiple different strains is best. And, if you combine a supplement with fermented food, you can get the best of both worlds.
There's one final way many people don't realize they get a tremendous amount of probiotic bacteria - the outdoors.
Dirt, leaves, trees, and animals all have different types of probiotics that coexist with them. Playing in the dirt, touching leaves, weeding the garden, or just sitting and enjoying nature helps populate your skin with the probiotics found in the dirt.
Some pediatricians and child psychologists recommend allowing children to play in the mud and the dirt to get these probiotics. Even eating the mud and dirt can prove beneficial, however filthy.
If you've taken some antibiotics, helping to repopulate your gut can help improve your health for the long term. Choosing fermented foods, a good supplement, and the outdoors can give you a boost that can get you back to where you should be quickly.