Impact of Antibiotics on your Gut
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a mammoth task given that our body is highly complex. We end up following ill fated advice for diet & consuming a lot of supplements which offer no or mediocre results. However, it is not as difficult as it sounds! There are a number of simple ways to improve your health & a lot it has to do with your gut. Our body relies on good bacteria to regulate our digestive system, support immunity, release of hormones, serotonin production, & much more. It is always important to fix & restore our gut flora & good bacteria rather than getting rid of bad bacteria.
Our gut microbiome houses in our large intestine & is home to the most diverse bacteria in our body. Our digestive tract is an open ecosystem which is more exposed to the external environment than any other part of our body. Gut microbiome is shaped by various factors such as age, geographies, diet & health conditions. It essentially means that every person’s gut microbiome would be different & impacted by distinctive factors.
However, when we hear the word “ Bacteria”, we perceive it as evil! Remember during childhood days when we used to suffer from fever doctors used to give us medicine telling it will kill the bacteria. So the question arises “ Is gut flora- bacteria, algae & other microorganisms are good for your body?” Most of the bacteria are actually harmless & in fact beneficial for our body. Only some of them are bad. Your gut microbiome is home to trillions of bacterial cells which does a lot of work for your health. During your infant days, your gut trains your immune system. During your adulthood, it produces important substances that keep your gut lining healthy & fights with microbes that can make you sick. Diversity of bacteria/microbiome plays an important role to keep you healthy. This means that there should be a lot of different types of microbes living together. However, if you do not have diverse gut flora, you may be suffering dysbiosis where you do not have bacteria/microbiome diversity & some bacterias can go out of control. This generally happens in case of people who are overweight &/or obese. When there is an imbalance between good & bad bacteria, your gut can become unhappy which will have an impact on inflammation, digestion, gut lining & brain health.
Bad bacteria can impact immunity exposing your body to infection, illness & diseases given that gut is the first line of connection between the external environment & immune system. Both the gut & immune system work in tandem to regulate our body’s reaction to harmful pathogens. Gut microbiomes that are filled with good bacteria can communicate to cells in the immune system that not every foreign/alien organism is harmful & needs to be attacked. However when your gut is imbalanced , it is not able to communicate effectively with the immune system which effectively results in the body attacking its own cells.
Antibiotics are prescribed by doctors & hospitals for most common conditions which include chest infections, ear infections, throat infections & bladder & kidney infections( to name a few). However, an important point here is antibiotics do not resort to bad bacteria alone , they kill good bacteria as well which is not good since good bacteria helps the body to fight against infection. Antibiotics also have mild side effects especially if your immune health is compromised. Some of the common side effects include gas, yeast infection, vomiting & constipation.
Although antibiotics do help in clearing /fighting bacterial infection, it is important to take precautions to upkeep your gut health since thriving good bacteria is as important as killing the bad one. So the question arises how you maintain good gut health?
Having a happy gut starts with a right diet/meal. A nutrition filled & fibre rich diet coming from plant food-prebiotics is beneficial for good gut health. Prebiotics convert these substances into nutrients that keep your gut balanced. Probiotics are live yeast & bacteria that are found in body naturally & can be supplemented through specific foods & beverages. Foods like kimchi & sauerkraut contains naturally occurring probiotics that help development of good bacteria in the gut
Repopulating your gut with good bacterias depends on the state of your microbiome, quality of your diet, intensity of your exercise & much more.Gut responds quickly to positive lifestyle choices. You should focus on having fibre rich whole foods in your diet along with some probiotic foods can speed up restoration of a healthy gut. Regular workout specifically cardio is associated with maintaining a healthy gut & higher bacteria diversity
A healthy diet with probiotics supplements can help your body replenish good bacteria killed off by antibiotics both during & after the full program of antibiotics.
Does leaky gut have a long term impact?
Having a leaky & unhappy gut on a long term basis can lead to inflammation, weak immunity, more susceptible to infection. Besides, this good bacteria-bad bacteria imbalance can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease & parkinson’s.
Gut microbiome is the most bacterial diverse part of the body & having a healthy nutrition filled diet along with regular exercise can help you keep dysbiosis & leaky gut off the shelf
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PS: Originally published on www.thesushantkumar.com