While antibiotics can cause a bit of havoc on gut bacteria, they are fortunately a life-saving invention and a necessity something all of us will take at some point in our lives.
The main issue with broad-spectrum antibiotics is they are unable to determine the type of bacteria (good or bad), so while they do a great job at preventing us from getting nasty infections, or clearing them up, unfortunately, they can also kill the good bacteria that are part of our natural defences.
After completing a course of antibiotics, our immune system can be somewhat compromised until the good bacteria has a chance to re-colonise and establish itself.
You see, a huge part of our immune system is actually in the gut – so a healthy gut is important not only for our lifestyle factors (no one likes “bowel issues”), a healthy gut is also important for a healthy body.
A healthy immune system means we are more equipped to combat viral infections and also powers the body’s response to injury via inflammation.
So how can we get our gut health, and immune system back to tip-top condition after a course of antibiotics?
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables contain a vast array of vitamins needed for all sorts of bodily functions, including powering a healthy immune system.
While you should aim to make these part of your regular diet, these are especially important to restore health and wellbeing.
A good fruit and vegetable inclusive diet will provide lots of fibre, but you may also want to supplement with extra fibre.
Think of fibre as food for the good bacteria, as that is exactly what it is.
A diet rich in fibre does such a good job at establishing a healthy gut, it has been shown to improve diabetes¹ by regulating blood sugar levels more effectively, too.
While pre-biotics are technically just a special form of dietary fibre, it can be beneficial in using an over-the-counter specialised pre-biotic supplement to ensure you get an extra boost of the best type of fibre to feed your good gut bacteria.
Something like a Nulax Daily Prebiotic powder for the first 2-4 weeks after a course of antibiotics will ensure your gut bacteria has the right food to thrive off while re-establishing its colony.
Last but not least, a good high strength pro-biotic can help boost the gut with various common strains of good bacteria.
Again, this is something you can take for the first 2-4 weeks along with the right type of foods to help get things moving in the right direction.
Probiotics can also aid in ensuring your bowel movements and any intestinal discomfort returns to normal as quickly as possible, as well.
While these methods are aimed at getting you feeling back to yourself as soon as possible, remember that nobody knows your body as well as you do.
If after some time you still aren’t feeling right, don’t hesitate to speak to your GP to see if there’s an undiagnosed underlying issue or secondary cause.
Our gut health and the immune system is part of a large ecosystem with a delicate balance, and if we are doing all the right things with regards to eating right and exercising then other issues can often be the sign of another problem.