A healthy gut microbiome plays a crucial role in your health. The gut in your intestines can help regulate your immune system and hormones and reduce the risk of chronic illness.
When you take antibiotics, it wipes all your bacteria. Either good or bad.
So, now that you have a clean slate. It's the best time to include a probiotic. It can help replenish the gut microbiome with good bacteria.
In this article, we'll learn everything related to probiotics and antibiotics. In the end, you'll know how to restore gut health after taking antibiotics.
What Is The Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome is all your intestines' bacteria, viruses, and fungi. They can be either good or bad bacteria.
There are more than 1,000 bacteria in the intestines—each with a different role.
Everybody has a unique combination of intestinal bacteria. They are all unique, and no one is identical to the other. In fact, the gut microbiome is like fingerprints.
The gut microbiome has different roles in the body. Here are some of the functions it has on the body:
- Helps digest fiber.
- Helps control the immune system.
- Helps regulate certain hormones.
- It can control brain health.
- Improves digestion.
- It might aid in weight loss.
As you can see, there are different roles the gut microbiome has on the body. However, this happens when there are more good bacteria than harmful bacteria. When there is dysbiosis (more bad bacteria than good), it can lead to poor digestion and trouble losing weight.
How Do Antibiotics Affect Gut Health?
It is common for the doctor to give you antibiotics when you have an infection.
While this kills the bacteria causing you harm, it can also kill all the healthy bacteria in the body. This means it can open the gate for harmful bacteria to colonize the intestines.
So, since it kills most good and bad bacteria, it is time to repopulate the intestines with good bacteria.
Antibiotic misuse can lead to antibiotic resistance.
This means that when people are given antibiotics unnecessarily, it can make the bacteria resistant to the antibiotics. In other words, the bacteria can be harder to treat.
Make sure you only take antibiotics that are medically prescribed.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are good bacteria and yeast that are good for you. There are different types of probiotics, but the most popular ones come from the Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium family.
Research shows that supplementing with probiotics can have health benefits, such as reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
You can get probiotics naturally from fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh. If you can include these daily, it's perfect for helping restore. Gut microbiome, but if you are unable to add these foods, you can always opt for a probiotic supplement.
Should You Take Probiotics After Antibiotics?
Yes, after taking antibiotics, most of the good bacteria are killed. That said, it is time to repopulate your intestines with healthy bacteria.
So, taking a probiotic after an antibiotic can help improve digestive function and boost the immune system.
How long it takes to help reestablish the gut microbiome varies for each person. The quality of your nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle habits (like smoking) can all affect the quality of your microbiome.
Other Ways to Replenish Gut Health
Probiotics are only one of the many things you can do to help replenish your gut health. There are other things you also need to consider if you want to make your gut health stronger.
Here are some habits that can help boost your gut health.
1. Have a balanced diet
Make sure you have a diet high in natural rather than processed foods. Over 80% of your nutrition should come from natural sources and less than 20% from packaged foods.
Include high-fiber foods to help feed your gut microbiome. Foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes are all excellent options.
Finally, add different colored vegetables to ensure you are getting other nutrients. Have at least three different colored vegetables throughout the day.
2. Manage stress
Chronic stress can negatively affect your gut microbiome.
While you cannot eliminate stress, find ways that can make you cope better with the stress.
Try different techniques like meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, art therapy, walking, and spending time with family.
Leading a sedentary lifestyle can also affect gut health. Follow at least the World Health Organization (WHO) of at least 150 minutes of light to moderate exercise per week.
Additionally, make sure you are moving at least every hour. For every hour, you sit down, get up, stretch or walk around for at least one minute.
4. Stay hydrated
Research shows that increasing water can help increase the good bacteria in your intestines.
Consume at least half your body weight in pounds of water. So, if you weigh 180 lbs., you should have at least 90 oz of water.
If you have trouble reaching this intake, you can set up alarms, create small goals, or add some fruit to add flavor to the water.
Also Read: 7 Things To Boost Your Metabolism
The Bottom Line
While antibiotics can work to make us better, they don't only kill the bacteria that are causing harm. Antibiotics also kill the good bacteria in the body. This can lead to an unbalanced gut microbiome. With that said, you can have poor digestion, trouble losing weight, and an impaired immune system.
To prevent this, make sure you take some probiotics afterward every time you need to take antibiotics.
You can take probiotics through natural sources like kombucha or kefir, but you can also take a probiotic supplement.
Other lifestyle habits like good nutrition, exercise, stress management, and good sleep can promote good gut health.
Remember that antibiotics are only meant to be taken with a doctor's prescription. The misuse of antibiotics can lead to more dangerous diseases.