I guess I missed this when it came out in January...really good advice for using prebiotics and probiotics when you need to take antibiotics!
Antibiotics are not the end of the world for us if we have to take them. I think doctors are starting to get smart and not handing antibiotics out like candy, at least all of the scientific literature tells them they shouldn't be. Are they listening? Probably not.
Face it, antibiotics are here to stay. Take a round of antibiotics and your gut flora may be forever altered, but there are some steps you can take to lessen the impact. The worst way to take antibiotics is to treat them like a normal part of your life and just follow the directions on the bottle.
What I have been saying, and Chris Kresser agrees in this blog post he wrote earlier this year, is that we need to treat ourselves 'extra special' when we are taking antibiotics--and even if we aren't!
Chris Kresser's advice:
- Take probiotics, such as Elixa, alongside the antibiotics.
- Take prebiotics, such as Bob's Red Mill potato starch, alongside the antibiotics.
- Eat fermented foods and all the other paleo/WAPF foods you should already be eating.
I'd like to add to these:
- Take plenty of prebiotics and eat right ALWAYS. Be ready when disaster strikes. Populate your gut with beneficial bacteria and keep pathogens at bay. The better your gut at the start of the antibiotics, the better it will survive the assault.
- Keep this protocol up for months after the antibiotics are gone. You have no idea what happened, so hedge your bets...give your gut flora the best possible chance to recover.
- Test your gut flora at some point afterwards. American Gut and UBiome offers home test kits that are simple and you don't need a doctor. Both are under $100. If you end up with serious gut issues, don't mess around with these tests, go to a real doctor and get some real tests that can be professionally evaluated.
I'm living proof that a gut can heal. Back in 2003 I 'volunteered' to take a powerful antibiotic (ciprofloxacin) weekly for 5 months. During that time I developed severe gastritis, GERD, and later fell into the metabolic syndrome (aka 'Gulf War Syndrome') like most of us who did this little experiment. I plodded through life for 6 or 7 years, getting fatter and sicker...taking the baggy full of meds that fat, sick people take. I started a paleo/WAPF diet and within a year was lean, healthy and off all the meds. I didn't know about probiotics or prebiotics, I just followed my instincts...planted a garden, bought a flock of chickens, gave up all the modern foods that humans weren't designed to eat, went hungry frequently, and lifted heavy things (like myself).
Anyway, have a read through Chris Kresser's article of antibiotic use and recovery.