Undoubtedly antibiotics have made a huge contribution to our survival and quality of life, I will not dispute that. They do however have a dark side.
With the significant amount of existing and emerging research into our microbial mates (bowel flora) and our greater understanding of their crucial role in contributing to our well being, it's been suggested by some researchers we've been playing 'Russian roulette' with our use of antibiotics, without fully understanding the damage inflicted on our bowel flora and the subsequent impact on our health.
Yes, I absolutely believe in the power of natural medicines and inherently know that diet and lifestyle are the biggest contributors to health and disease. That being said, I am a complementary health care practitioner- that means my treatment plans complement many treatment plans- and absolutely there are situations where antibiotics (or other medications for that matter) are required and can even be lifesaving.
With this in mind I wanted to share a strategy I use when antibiotics have been prescribed, dispel some myths and reveal some well kept secrets along the way.
Myth No.1 Never take probiotics whilst on antibiotics!
This is quite untrue. Research shows it is best to take antibiotics with probiotics concurrently. You just need to be sure that you separate the dose by 2-4 hours. In doing so you reduce the number of probiotics damaged by the antibiotic.
A well kept secret!
There are strains of probiotics that are actually not affected by antibiotics and can be safely and effectively taken without having to worry about when you take them. Saccharomyces boulardi (actually a yeast) is such a strain. It will hold the fort, so to speak and reduce the likelihood of other species, such as Candida albicans and Clostridia difficile getting the upper hand and becoming pathogenic.
It is important to ensure you get the correct dose and strain of SB. What's more SB doesn't require refrigeration and is a great one to have on hand during international travels.
My Gut Flora Protection Plan
In essence the plan is to inoculate the colon with significant numbers of specific regulatory strains of probiotics and then feed them really well so they can colonise and out compete pathogenic microorganisms.
During Antibiotic treatment - 20 billon CFU's of LGG strain per day. Remember, 2 hours apart from medication.
After Antibiotics -10 billlion CFU's per day, always with food.
Additional - Add a fabulous fibre such as hydrolysed guar gum or psyllium seeds and a good dose of lactulose.
Think of these as nutritive and conditioning agents that generate favourable pH and provide fuel for our life giving bugs.
Myth 2- You shouldn't need probiotics if you're consuming lacto-fermented foods
Undoubtedly lacto-fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, miso & kombucha can and do play an important role in the maintenance of a healthy microbiome.
For some people, especially those with amine detoxification issues, dairy intolerance and inefficient sulphation pathways these may not be well tolerated.
Would you use a Chihuahua to pull a sled?
Also worth noting, the strains in most fermented products are usually 'wild' strains and differ from batch to batch...so yes, whilst definitely helping to support the diversity of bacteria in our gut which is ultimately a good thing, at certain times we need SPECIFIC strains to perform SPECIFIC functions.
It's be a bit like using a chihuahua on an Arctic expedition- maybe not the best choice for dragging a heavily laden sled through the snow, me thinks!
Not sure what strains best suit you? We can help.
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