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What should you do if you have to take antibiotics?

Hey, it happens. You have to take antibiotics. 

Now because you’re a member of the CG Tribe, you know that antibiotics come with their own issues: 

  1. Even a single course of antibiotics can permanently alter the gut flora.1
  2. Antibiotics are known to cause diarrhoea,2 in up to 30 percent of patients.3
  3. Antibiotics can create further infections by nasties including C. difficile, when they upset the balance of bacteria in your digestive system.4
  4. Prolonged antibiotic treatment may impact brain function, by stopping the growth of new brain cells.5

But even knowing all those things, sometimes antibiotics can be life savers, and you have to take them. 

It’s ok! Just be aware that after you do the damage to your microbiome, you need to repair the damage. 

You can do this with a SYNBIOTIC TREATMENT.6 That’s a combination of: 

  • probiotics – the good bugs in your gut – and 
  • prebiotics – the food to feed those good bugs. 

A quick and easy way to accomplish this is by drinking 170 ml of Chuckling Goat kefir daily, and blending up 10 g of Complete Prebiotic into it. You can find a recipe for the ultimate gut health smoothie here

Here’s a quick primer on antibiotic use:

Should I take kefir during my course of antibiotics? 
YES. There are quite a few randomized, placebo-controlled trials that have demonstrated the effectiveness of probiotic use during a course of antibiotics for reducing side effects and preventing gut infection. 

Antibiotics have given me diarrhoea. Will kefir help? 
YES. Research has found that taking probiotics like kefir can reduce the risk of developing the diarrhea that is a common side effect of taking antibiotics.7 In fact, studies recommend that GPs prescribe probiotics alongside antibiotics, since reducing the chances of diarrhoea means that more patients actually end up completing their course of antibiotics.8

Will the kefir stop the antibiotics from working? 
NO. Antibiotics trump probiotics. 

Do antibiotics kill off the good bugs in the kefir?
YES, MOSTLY. However the kefir will still buffer your system and protect it a bit, so it’s worth taking. 

When should I avoid taking antibiotics? 
Whenever you can. Make sure that you’re not taking them inappropriately. Antibiotics only work on bacteria, not on viruses.9 So if you have a virus, antibiotics don’t help, and they definitely harm your gut microbiome. Also, keep in mind that studies show that doctors give out more antibiotics as the day wears on, and they get tired. Sometimes, they’ll prescribe a pill just to quiet you and get you out of their office! Ask your GP if he or she would personally take antibiotics in your situation. This should get an honest response.

What about long-term antibiotics? 
This is like continually pouring bleach into a river. You’re going to kill off all the fish. And in this metaphor, the fish are your immune system! This is going to create a vicious cycle of infection, as your immune system is left depleted and vulnerable, with massive long-term health effects. Long term antibiotics will also create resistance over time, so they won’t work forever. Consider taking a Microbiome Test, to determine exactly what is going on inside your gut, and potentially find some natural alternatives that won’t harm you over time.

Questions about any of the things mentioned here? Our team of Nutritional Therapists are available 8 am to 8 pm on live chat to answer your questions. 

References

  1. PLoS Boilogy - "The pervasive effects of an antibiotic on the human gut microbiota, as revealed by deep 16S rRNA sequencing". Written by Les Dethlefsen, Sue Huse, Mitchell L Sogin, David A Relman on November 18, 2008
    link to articlehttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19018661/
  2. Mayo Clinic - "Antibiotic-associated diarrhea". May 15, 2019
    link to articlehttps://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/antibiotic-associated-diarrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352231
  3. RAND Corporation - "Probiotics can reduce risk of diarrhea caused by antibiotics, study finds". May 8, 2012
    link to articlehttps://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120508163328.htm
  4. Mayo Clinic - "Antibiotic-associated diarrhea". May 15, 2019
    link to articlehttps://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/antibiotic-associated-diarrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352231
  5. Cell Press - "Antibiotics that kill gut bacteria also stop growth of new brain cells". May 19, 2016
    link to articlehttps://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160519130105.htm
  6. Digestive diseases and sciences - "Probiotic/Synbiotic Therapy for Treating Critically Ill Patients from a Gut Microbiota Perspective". Written by Shimizu, K., Ogura, H., Asahara, T., Nomoto, K., Morotomi, M., Tasaki, O., Matsushima, A., Kuwagata, Y., Shimazu, T., & Sugimoto, H. on August 19, 2012
    link to articlehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3557374/
  7. RAND Corporation - "Probiotics can reduce risk of diarrhea caused by antibiotics, study finds". May 8, 2012
    link to articlehttps://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120508163328.htm
  8. The Journal of family practice - "Prescribing an antibiotic? Pair it with probiotics". Written by Rodgers, B., Kirley, K., & Mounsey, A. on March 21, 2013
    link to articlehttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3601687
  9. Drugs.com - "Why Don’t Antibiotics Kill Viruses?". Written by L. Anderson, PharmD on June 21, 2019
    link to articlehttps://www.drugs.com/article/antibiotics-and-viruses.html

2 thoughts on “What should you do if you have to take antibiotics?

  1. Morning Shann and team, I’ve had an infection on my toe for the last 3 weeks, I’ve had antibiotics, penicillin, It’s painful and I am feeling very nauseous, my stomach feels very unsettled, I do take my Kefir every morning!
    I am not wanting to take any more drugs.
    I would love your opinion Shann as I’m at the end of my tether, many thanks Julie.

    1. Hi Julie,

      I believe your query has been dealt with. 😊

      Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything further we can help with.

      Best wishes,
      Daisy.

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