We all have been there, some more often that others - a bacterial infection hits us and we have to take antibiotics. Antibiotics eradicate pathogenic infections and save lives -- but in doing so, they also disrupt the integrity of the intestinal microbiome. As antibiotics kill off infection-causing microorganisms, they also non-selectively destroy communities of beneficial gut bacteria. If you are lucky to have a flourishing healthy gut microbiome and you took antibiotics only once or twice in your life, you probably won't have those unpleasant symptoms that go hand in hand with taking antibiotics, such us diarrhea, candida, recurrent UTI (urinary tract infection), bloating or stomachache. Alas, my life was full of antibiotics (shall I repeat that both my parents were conventional doctors? ) and I have to make sure to take measures that heal my gut on everyday basis and especially after taking antibiotics.
Food Is Medicine
My favorite autoimmune expert, Dr.Tom O’Bryan, speaks about the importance of avoiding wheat, dairy, sugar, unhealthy fats, and fried food. These foods should be absolutely avoided when you try to recover from an illness. A very interesting tip from him is stewing organic apples, cooked until soft. Cooking apples, he explains, releases pectin, a soluble fiber that provides fuel for beneficial bacteria. The pectin present in stewed apples can also help to heal a damaged intestinal lining and seal off the tears in a leaky gut, preventing large food molecules from slipping through.
Foods to eat:
Collagen in bone broth, prebiotic fruits and vegetables such as bananas, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes and other tubers (they provide insoluble fiber that feeds good bacteria), fermented, unpasteurized vegetables like sauerkraut, fermented beets or kimchi.
Supplements That Help
Probiotics are a very important strategy to restore gut flora after taking antibiotics. But probiotics come in many forms and some of them are really not helpful. You should buy products that contain many different species of beneficial microbes rather than those with only one or two single strains. Probiotics can be taken on the same day as taking antibiotics but make sure these are not taken together - simply said you can take antibiotics in the morning and probiotics in the evening.
Another interesting strategy is to take the so called Saccharomyces boulardii, an antibiotic-resistant, probiotic yeast originally isolated from lychee fruit in Indochina. There is a possibility that this yeast reduces the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra), which can be taken as tea or a supplement and L-glutamine supplements (amino acid, beneficial for your immune health and recovery) can also be helpful.