The term gut health has become more popular, but most people don’t know exactly what it means. It’s all about the balance of microbes in the gut—the gut’s microbiome. Most people think of the stomach immediately when talking of gut health, but it’s more about the microbes in the small and large intestines. The microbiome is made up of fungi, yeast, viruses, and bacteria. Its size is estimated to be in the100s of trillions. A lot of things affect gut health. They include your overall health, certain medications, diet, and antibiotics. Not only can an unhealthy combination of microbes cause illness, but it can also affect your mental health.
Antibiotics can kill all types of bacteria, including beneficial types.
Antibiotics can cause an imbalance in the microbiome of the gut, indiscriminately killing all bacteria and leaving yeast to flourish. That can cause Candida and also lead to SIBO. A broad-spectrum antibiotic kills both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria, leaving an imbalance in the intestines. If there’s a void or imbalanced state, it provides the perfect opportunity for harmful bacteria to take over. That can lead to SIBO, an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestines.
Ironically, what causes the problem may help the problem.
If antibiotics caused SIBO, you might be surprised to find antibiotics are often the recommended cure. Unlike the original offender, these antibiotics specifically target the offending bacteria, allowing the beneficial bacteria to resume its place of power. Some symptoms of SIBO include nausea, gas, abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, diarrhea, and abdominal distension.
If you’re taking an antibiotic, prevent problems by making these changes.
Candidiasis—a yeast overgrowth—can be prevented if you’re taking antibiotics and treated if you already have a problem. One of the most significant ways is to add probiotics to your diet or take a probiotic supplement. Probiotic foods include kefir, yogurt, kimchi, miso, and sauerkraut. Consuming prebiotics—plant fiber—feeds beneficial bacteria and enhances the rebalancing of the microbiome. Cutting sugar from your diet, which encourages the growth of yeast, and highly processed food also helps.
- Stress can create an imbalance, so learning to manage stress can make a big difference in your microbiome health. Stress can be psychological, but environmental stress can also play a role.
- Being active and exercising regularly can also aid in maintaining gut health. Studies show that athletes have a wider diversity of gut flora than those who aren’t athletes.
- Don’t forget to get adequate sleep. Not only does a change in your sleep habits, like going to bed late or sleeping late, cause an imbalance, too little sleep also has an effect on your microbiome. If you’re taking antibiotics, make sure you stick with a sleep schedule.
- Antibiotics can play both a positive role and negative role in gut health. The best way to avoid damage to your gut microbiome is to carefully monitor antibiotic usage and understand they do nothing for viral infections. Living a healthy lifestyle can reverse the antibiotic effects when it’s necessary to take them.
For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness