Decades of overprescribing antibiotics for non-life threatening conditions has decimated the diversity and abundance of our collective ancestral microbiome and intestinal flora.
Many of the chronic inflammatory diseases we suffer and die from today can be directly attributed to imbalances in the gut caused by antibiotics and other medications, unhealthy food and lifestyle choices, chemicals and toxins, poor sleep-wake cycle, and inadequate light exposure and movement.
Research has found it takes around six months for the gut to recover from a course of antibiotics, and even then it is likely not nearly as robust as it was before.
The most significant thing we can do to rebuild a healthy gut after antibiotics is to be discerning with the foods we choose to consume.
Focus on foods that will help feed and seed healthy bacteria in the gut, like fermented foods (kimchee, sauerkraut, kefir, fermented vegetables), fiber-rich vegetables (artichoke, Brussels sprouts, carrots, beets, kale, broccoli, spinach), and resistant starches (plantains, sweet potatoes, jicama, yucca, cashews, yams).
Cut out all the foods that feed pathogenic bacteria, like sugars, sweeteners, alcohol, gluten, grains, vegetable oils, conventional dairy, food chemicals and processed/packaged foods.
Probiotic and prebiotic supplements may also be incorporated, however, they should be in addition to––not instead of––a dietary approach, which is more effective and less expensive.
With around 80% of our immune system residing in the gut, a healthy microbiome is the most important organ we have for ensuring strong immunity and lasting health.
More and more research is concluding that our body’s collective bacteria––which accounts for a greater amount of us than our own human cells––have an impact on every aspect of our physiology.
A diverse and balanced microbiome can help protect against everything from the common cold, influenza, viruses, anxiety and depression to heart disease, diabetes, cancers, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and so much more.
If you’re offered antibiotics, consider first if they are absolutely necessary; perhaps there is a more natural alternative to be explored instead.
For serious infections and anything life threatening, antibiotics are truly life saving and should always be utilized.
Still, antibiotics remain wildly overprescribed for minor issues that do not warrant such a harsh treatment––and often even for symptoms they cannot help.
While antibiotics may (or very possibly may not) help with one problem in the short term, they will inevitably create new problems in the long term that will eventually need to be addressed.