Great Gut Blog

How to Restore Gut Health After Antibiotics

Posted by Brad Dennis, Ph.D. on

How to Restore Gut Health After Antibiotics

It’s perhaps a little ironic that you’d need to recover from taking antibiotics. But the human digestive tract is highly sensitive and its micro-environment needs to be properly balanced. That balance gets disturbed when you take antibiotics (which can kill off good bacteria with the bad), and you need to give it a little help to restore it to its natural state.

How Does Your Gut Get Damaged?

The human gut functions thanks to the hard work of over a thousand trillion bacteria. Antibiotics are subscribed to patients who need to get rid of foreign bacteria which are disturbing their immune systems, but unfortunately there is collateral damage.

Antibiotics can’t target particular bacteria – they just destroy everything in their path. This leads to a disturbance of your microbiota and epithelial tissue damage (the stuff your digestive tract walls are made of). That’s why it’s important for you to give your gut a little extra TLC after taking a course of antibiotic medicine.

Damaged Glycocalyx Needs Rebuilding

If you’ve needed to return to antibiotic therapy several times because of your illness, the erosion of the glycocalyx that protects and covers cell membranes is possible. Glycocalyx serves as an identifier in your organism and it differentiates foreign bodies from domestic ones.

Going through severe antibiotics therapy will damage this cell protection and your digestive tract won’t recognize invading organisms or dead cells and, because of that, your immune system won’t be able to properly respond to threats.

Introduce Glutamine to Your Nutrition

Glutamine is an amino acid that improves the functioning of your gut by encouraging intestinal cell development and strengthening your immune system. Getting a little more glutamine in your diet after antibiotics can speed up the process of gut healing.

You can find this amino acid in a lot of foods. Meat and poultry, fish and seafood, are all great sources of glutamine. But you can find it in eggs and dairy products as well, particularly cheese such as ricotta and cottage cheese. Glutamine is readily available in lots of legumes and vegetables, too: lentils, peas, and beans (including soybeans) are all rich in glutamine, as are cabbage, kale, spinach, and broccoli. Glutamine is also available as a supplement, and if your body was particularly hard hit by antibiotics, you may want to use a supplement for a short period of time to give your gut a boost.

Eat Fermented Foods

Fermented foods are natural probiotics and your post-antibiotics diet needs to include them in abundance. There are lots of options when it comes to fermented foods, so find the ones you like best, and chow down! Kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles all fall on the list of fermented foods, and many have additional health benefits aside from their probiotics.

The important thing about a period that follows right after being ill is to listen to your body – well, in this case, your gut. Give yourself time, let your digestive tract heal so that your gut microbiome can return to its natural state and reinstate the balance of bacteria necessary for it to function properly.



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