Antibiotics kill bacteria. The problem is, our bodies are filled with bacteria, and those microbes are essential to our health. Our gut is home to 300-1000 different species of bacteria that help us digest our food, create and synthesize vitamins, repel invading pathogens, create neurotransmitters, and more. Antibiotics are indiscriminate killers. They do not just target the one pathogen that is causing an infection in our body; they kill off the good bacteria in our gut as well.
If we take an antibiotic, especially a broad spectrum antibiotic, we need to replenish the good bacteria in our gut as quickly as possible. Not only do we need it to do its daily work, we need to maintain the delicate balance between bacteria and fungi. Candida is opportunistic. Given a chance, it will quickly mass-produce, wreaking havoc in the digestive tract and, in time, the entire body.
So what can you do to repopulate the good bacteria that antibiotics have destroyed?
First, you feed and house the good bacteria that remain in your colon and encourage them to multiply. They need prebiotics–raw, preferably organic, vegetables and fruits. Insoluble fiber provides food for good bacteria while giving it a structure upon which to multiply. Eat at least one big salad a day with a large variety of vegetables. Raw vegetables and fruits (more vegetables than fruits) should always comprise 80% of your diet. After antibiotics, following this 80% rule (with mostly vegetables) is essential to regain the proper bacterial balance in your gut.
Avoid all processed sugar. Processed sugar feeds Candida and “bad” bacteria (including the pathogen you are trying to destroy with the antibiotic). Processed foods, heavy starches, and chemicals (sugar substitutes other than stevia, artificial colors, flavorings, and preservatives) should be completely avoided. This includes the healthier variety of sugars such as agave, brown rice syrup, fruit juice, etc. They should be avoided while trying to rebuild healthy flora as well. This is the time to eat a perfect diet. Even varieties of fruit with higher sugar content should be limited at this time.
A Note About Probiotics
Probiotics are the next step to help you repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain beneficial bacteria. But note, probiotics are not all equal. Don’t eat flavored, sugar-filled, commercial yogurt. It will do more harm to your gut than good.
There is a problem with probiotics. Getting the good bacteria past the stomach acid and into the gut is not easy. Stomach acid kills off a lot of the probiotics we ingest in any form. So eat a lot of them.
Fermented vegetables like homemade sauerkraut and kimchi, kombucha, coconut kefir, and other fermented foods do deliver live beneficial bacteria into the gut along with nutrition and enzymes. Supplements also help, though you must choose high-quality probiotic supplements that are specifically formulated to get past the stomach acid. While a store-bought probiotic supplement has only a fraction of the beneficial bacteria that a good homemade sauerkraut has, the truly high-quality probiotic supplements have bacteria strands much more able to bypass the stomach acid.
If you do not have your appendix, it’s a good idea to supplement your diet daily with a quality probiotic.
The beneficial bacteria in fermented foods is weakened and killed by stomach acid. There are lots of benefits to fermented foods, but they don’t make for a therapeutically powerful probiotic.
Most probiotics are worthless. Two that work very well are Floramend, available at Green Lifestyle Market, and Bio-K , which can be found at most health food stores including Whole Foods. There are other probiotics that are good, too; these aren’t the only good ones, but I am very familiar with the quality of Bio-k and Floramend. I use them regularly, and 98% of the other products are a waste of money. Bio-K is great for anytime you need a probiotic right now, provided you can find it locally. If you can order online, FloraMend is much cheaper in the long run.
But remember, prebiotics are the most important. Eat right, load up on healthy greens and others veggies and fermented foods. Your body will thank you. It is also good to note that 80% of our immune system is contained within our gut, and those bacteria your antibiotic killed off are the foundation of that immune response. Feed them right and they will help you avoid getting sick in the future.
Here’s My 10-Day Routine to Balance My Gut Flora, Step by Step:
Days 1-5 – or as long as symptoms last:
- 80% of the diet should be raw produce, mostly vegetables.
- Drink lots of cranberry lemonade (most should do a gallon) and eat a large salad every day (mine are 9-11 cup salads).
- Meals should all be made at home, from scratch, with no overly refined, processed ingredients such fruit juice, white rice, or any sweetener (stevia is the exception).
- Snack on produce.
- Eat stir-frys with lots of veggies, brown rice, quinoa, soaked and sprouted beans (be careful, may need to wait a week on these), add a little Braggs amino acids (it’s essentially a healthy soy sauce), and lots of turmeric and garlic and ginger.
- Shillington’s Intestinal Cleanse. Start with one a day. Build up as instructed. Take with meals.
- Take 15 SF722 a day, 5 per meal.
- Take 3 Undecyn, 1 each meal (if you are vegan, skip the SF722 and take 10 of these a day instead).
- Take 2 FloraMend upon waking up and 2 FloraMend when before sleep. Don’t take these at the same time as the other supplements; they can weaken each other’s effect.
Days 6-15, or once symptoms are under control:
- Take 3 Abzorb Vitamin & Nutrient Optimizer and 2 FloraMend with each meal.
- Take 5 Olive leaf extract upon waking and before sleep at night.
- Continue with the same diet.
Check out the lemonade and salad recipe in Detox Cheap and Easy Without Fasting – Recipes Included and see Gluten, Candida, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and Autoimmune Diseases for an in-depth look at gut health.
- Floramend – Prime by Thorne
- Formula SF722
- Shillington’s Intestinal Cleanse
- Undecyn by Thorne
- Olive Leaf Extract – Pure Encapsulations
- Abzorb Vitamin & Nutrient Optimizer – HCP Formulas
- The Fascinating Bacteria in our Gut, and How it Affects Our Whole Lives
- How to Cure Candida
- How to Kill Candida and Balance Your Inner Ecosystem
- After taking antibiotics, this is what you need to do to restore healthy intestinal flora
- Fermented Foods Optimize Your Health
- How to Kill Candida and Balance Your Inner Ecosystem