How to Build a Happier Gut after Antibiotics
Last winter, both of my girls had to go on antibiotics (one for strep throat and one for an ear infection). As much as I try to avoid antibiotics, it's sometimes impossible when your child is in pain or struggling to wipe out an illness.
Antibiotics have done a lot of good and quickly destroy the bad bacteria. However, antibiotics also wipe out all of the good bacteria.
The bad bacteria quickly grow back (thanks in large part to our diet) but we have to be proactive to restore the good bacteria strands. Overuse of antibiotics can contribute to candida or small intestinal bacteria overgrowth. A depleted gut results in poor immunity, putting us at risk for other illnesses and resulting in poor health.
The book “Missing Microbes” claims that the overuse of antibiotics is fueling our modern plagues- meaning it is connected to almost everything. Hippocrates is also known for saying “all disease begins in the gut.”
Besides antibiotics, the other major gut offenders are sugar, emotional stress, processed grains, GMO foods and other chemicals including birth control and other medications.
Knowing this, I actively try to build my family's gut flora with foods and supplements.
Getting probiotic-rich foods (sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kimchi, etc) or probiotic supplements will help with nutrient absorption, reduce cancer risks, improve metabolic function and even help you produce Vitamin B12, Butyrate and Vitamin K.
It's also important to eat lots of vegetables from a local farmer’s market grown in organic soil. The bacteria from high quality soil will also provide what you need to build good bacteria.
A happy gut also means a happier you!
Did you know that 90% of your serotonin is produced in the gut?! So probiotics are huge for hormones, depression and anxiety as well.
When looking for a high quality probiotic, here are a few tips:
1) High CFU count- the higher the better
2) Strain Diversity
3) Survivability – some probiotics never survive long enough to make it to the gut. Look for strains such as bacillus coagulans, saccharomyces boulardi, lactobacillus rhamnosus
4) Brand quality- Find a brand that has studies on their products, if possible!
The best one I've found is Shaklee, which uses a patented triple shell to ensure that the probiotic survives the stomach acid and is dissolved in the gut. Contact me if you'd like help sorting out what is best for you.
Do you eat fermented foods or use a probiotic?
Have you been on antibiotics in the past?