I realize antibiotics are a common thing and most who take them don't know how many issues they can cause for your gut health - put simply - they wipe out everything. The good guys, the bad guys - they all go and if you've been around awhile you know how awful it is to have an imbalance of bacteria within your gut. This is when all those fun, painful and annoying symptoms pop up like bloating, gas, difficulty sleeping, intense sugar cravings, heartburn, constipation, skin rashes... you name it.
Unfortunately, it can be quite the task to regain balance but don't worry I'll be sharing some tips below to help you bounce back ASAP.
<< If you're interested in learning more about how your gut is linked to your mental health check out this blog post HERE >>
First things first, I often hear, ‘antibiotics only make us better right?’
Unfortunately no, they're pretty harmful to our guts even though they can be saving us from whatever infection we may be having.
Like I said earlier, they nuke E V E R Y T H I NG & it usually takes 6 months for our gut to bounce back fully but below you’ll find some tips that will help speed up that process!
BUT the real issue? Antibiotics are often over-diagnosed or consumed inappropriately i.e. in our food
This has caused our bacteria to start becoming resistant to antibiotics which is actually pretty scary (this means you can't just pop a pill and get rid of your ear aches, sinus infections, UTIs and any other bacterial infection and instead likely need hospitalization).
Side note: If you're offered antibiotics for a cold, flu, sore throat you better be asking some serious questions (no matter the color of your mucus) because antibiotics don't help with these viruses and by "ask serious questions" I mean "find another doctor”
This is why it's so important to be sure they're necessary before taking them.
All this means is asking your doctor if there are possible alternative routes i.e. other medication that's less harmful or even natural ways of treating. Often your ear aches and sinus infections can be treated without antibiotics.
This is how you become an empowered patient. Doctors are literally SO, SO great and I don't want any confusion, I'm a big fan of Western medicine but medical school teaches how to prescribe medication that matches symptoms, which doesn't identify the root cause of the problem - so it the problem will just continue or fester. That method can also lead to some pretty nasty side effects e.g. misused antibiotics = serious gut health issues (C.Diff, antibiotic resistance, diarrhea, yeast infections etc.)
So first tip... ASK QUESTIONS & GET SECOND OPINIONS.
BUT let’s get into my top 3 tips if you HAVE to take them…
1. What to ADD in
Adding in antioxidants and probiotics is important when taking antibiotics. Even if you just add in one of these three things you'll be aiding your body in healing during and after treatment.
You knew it was coming! But I'm going to share the best kind for healing your gut up nice and quick... *Enter* SBO probiotics. Yep, bet you haven't heard about those before. They're a game changer! SBO stands for soil based organisms. Basically these little guys are known for being the most resilient, they can make it all the way through the gastrointestinal tract while most other probiotics get destroyed by stomach acid or other substances inside the GI system before ever making it to their intended destination. They're also specifically formulated for gut health needs so the side effects of antibiotics i.e. diarrhea, bloating and indigestion will be significantly lessened.
For best results, they should be taken during antibiotics & for at least 3 weeks after but ideally you will continue to take them to support your gut health always 🙃
This is also a great addition to an antibiotic treatment. New research studies have shown that consuming green tea (ideally non-bleached and organic) during antibiotic treatment reduces the resistance in bacteria and like we talked about earlier that's a huge deal!
Adding in kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and other fermented foods that are also packed with probiotics would be great natural additions while healing from antibiotics. *Important* Do not consume yogurt as a fermented food during or after antibiotics - we’ll talk more about this below.
<< Want more tips on what to ADD in and how to do this process with ease? Get The Ultimate Guide: Heal Your Gut & Anxiety - it gives you the exact step-by-step process for feeling better for only $10 !! >>
2. What to AVOID if possible
It's important not to dilute or inhibit the breakdown of your antibiotics because it can lead to bigger issues. This is one of the very few times I would recommend avoiding certain foods.
This is important because we want them to be as effective as possible so they do their job and you can start to re-heal your gut - we also don't want to be feeding certain bacteria their favorite foods because this will cause an even worse imbalance than the antibiotics already gave you.
Can you guess what bacterias favorite foods are...
Ugh. I know. This is also why after antibiotics you typically feel a little cravey.
Processed and added sugars in foods have been known to decrease the good bacteria in your gut so if you aren't watching your intake during your antibiotics and for a few weeks afterwards you may be contributing to the imbalance of good and bad bacteria (which by now we know is NOT a fun situation).
Sooooo, first thing to limit/avoid as much as possible, would be added and processed sugars.
Fruits are OKAY - I still to this day don't know why people think they're the same but HEAR IT HERE FIRST, fruit does not react the same in your body as simple processed sugars.
Fruit juice, however, does because it's stripped of all the benefits the whole fruit provides so best to steer clear of juice as well. I don't know what kind of monsters drink this but if you're one of them... grapefruit juice and some other citrus juices, are a big no-no on antibiotics as it interacts with the enzyme that breaks down the medication and it ends up in the bloodstream for significantly longer causing many issues.
You can read more HERE about how sugar affects your mental health!
Dairy is another one that interacts with antibiotics. This is why earlier I mentioned not to use yogurt as a probiotic food during antibiotics.
In this case, calcium is the main issue with the dairy. Put simply, they dampen the effectiveness of the antibiotics and can lead to increased risk of resistance. It's best to avoid dairy for at least 3 weeks after an antibiotic treatment, if possible.
Last thing to avoid doing is drinking a lot of water during your antibiotic treatment... I know... sounds contradicting but too much water can dilute the effectiveness of the medication as well.
Now what means “a lot”? That's a good question. You should still drink water, obviously.
My approach is to simply stick with the general 8 glasses a day when I'm on antibiotics. Typically recommended water intake would be different for everyone, but 8 glasses is a pretty safe bet on these meds.
3. The OTHER organ that needs some lovin’
What is this mysterious organ you ask.... It’s your liver!
Many antibiotics are metabolized through your liver like the most common one; amoxicillin.
I believe it's quite rare to get drug induced liver disease however, after any medication that is metabolized through the liver we want to take extra care of it... It does a lot for us.
That's why I like to start most mornings off with warm lemon water - this helps your gut and your liver! Win-Win.
Dandelion tea is another great addition to help "detox" the liver.
These should only be used after antibiotic treatment, not during because like we talked about yesterday acidic fruits can decrease the effectiveness of the treatment.
These tips may sound simple but that's by design. Who likes having to do difficult things amiright?!
Now if you're looking to get alllll the best tips for healing your gut make sure to snag the Ultimate Guide: Heal Your Gut & Anxiety that I've kept on sale for far too long 😂 but I want to make sure everyone has access to it!!
It's everything you need to DIY your gut healing! You can snag it still for only $10 buckarooonies [Get it right now - HERE]
I'm so glad you stuck around to learn from this antibiotic series blog, I know it was quite long, but it is such an important thing for you to know how to become an empowered patient and take care of your body after meds!
Recap of what to ADD in:
Recap of what to AVOID:
Have you ever felt worse after antibiotics? Share below!
If you ever need any help or aren't sure what to ask/do before or after treatment you can always shoot me an email [firstname.lastname@example.org] I'd be happy to help you get all the info out of your doc :)
Hey! My names Ashleen.