Health
3/29/10 at 11:06 PM 0 Comments

Antibiotics Harmful to Your Digestion

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I ran across another one of those 'duh' studies....stating what has been known for a long time....which is that when you give someone antibiotics it is going to kill off the ‘good' gut bacteria that lines our intestines. This is important because that ‘good' gut bacteria provides over 50% of your immune system. The one good thing about the study was that it suggested you use a "probiotic" supplement to re-establish your gut flora (lining).

Our intestines are lined with trillions of cells that eat and poop-out (excrete) what we eat. The cells that poop-out or excrete things that are healthy and beneficial for our body are called "good" bacteria. The bacteria that poops-out things that are harmful for our body are classified as "bad" bacteria...which includes yeast, fungus and candida overgrowth. We should have an overwhelming supply of 'good' bacteria and only a small amount of the 'bad' bacteria.

What throws off this balance are:

  • Antibiotics
  • Birth control pills
  • Steroid hormones
  • A diet with lots of refined sugars and flour

These four culprits destroy the 'good' gut bacteria which are needed for proper digestion and assimilation of our nutrients. They are also needed for the production of our B vitamins and maintaining our immune system.

The use and over-use of these four substances can lead to digestive difficulties; including food allergies, indigestion, bloating, gas, reflux, as well as, the classic yeast, bladder, sinus infection, along with jock itch. Poor digestion if allowed to continue will exacerbate so many other problems such as; fatigue, headaches, allergies, arthritic joint pain. This domino effect and vicious cycle will only continue with the introduction of more antibiotics, which are commonly given to children for infections, as well as, to adults for sinus, bladder and yeast infections.

The goal should be to re-balance or as I like to call it re-fertilize your intestines with the good bacteria. This is easily done with a daily probiotic that has many of the different types of acidophilus and bifido bacterium as possible. They are easy to take and are equally easy to give to children in little sachets that dissolve in water for children.

Taking a good probiotic is only half of the equation. If you suspect that your problems could be a result of an overgrowth of the bad bacteria, it is equally important to quit feeding the ‘bad' bacteria. Two steps forward and two steps backwards, doesn't get us anywhere. That means staying away from a lot of the refined, processed foods. Basically you want to stay away from lots of carbohydrates. In a simple sentence...the carbohydrates are what feed the ‘bad' bacteria. Yes, we need carbs, but we need to be careful what kinds of carbs and how many we consume. Refined carbs are what we want to stay away from.

Lastly we want to begin to kill off a lot of the ‘bad' bacteria that have been allowed to over-populate our intestinal lining . There are certain nutrients such as garlic, grapefruit extract, oregano, goldenseal, black walnut etc....which help kill off the bad bacteria. The reason we stay away from the simple carbs is that the bad bacteria thrives on it...so you don't want to be feeding this raging army with all these carbs, while at the same time trying to wipe it out. You don't get very good results that way.

Most importantly realize that if you have a history of birth control pills, antibiotics, etc....its going to take more than a month to re-balance the good bacteria. So don't think one bottle of probiotics is all you need. How many rounds of antibiotics have you or your children used in the past several years? If you used birth control pills...how long did you use them? How long have you been struggling with these digestive or related issues?

The answers to those questions will determine how long you need to be using a good probiotic and yeast cleanse. Just because you stopped using one of the main culprits...doesn't mean it hasn't done its damage or that your body has magically rebalanced itself on its own without any intervention. You might have stopped taking birth control pills, but how much damage or imbalance have you already caused? How long is it going to take to re-balance your body? It may take a few months. You didn't fall into this place of poor health over night...it took time. Give your body some time and the nourishment it needs to overcome the challenges it faces.

What to do if...

If for whatever reason you need to take an antibiotic....you should follow up for at least a couple of months with a good "probiotic" that contains lactobacillus acidophillus, bifido bacterium, fructooligasaccharide (FOS) and inulin. I am also a big fan of saccomycees boulardii.

If your child has taken a round of antibiotics for ear infection or any other infection....they should be taking a good probiotic as well as, the saccomycees. Don't forget to get your child off of dairy and grains for a couple of weeks to further improve the results.

If yeast/bladder and sinus infections are continual....you probably need to do a good yeast cleanse, but you should first strengthen and nourish your adrenal glands with a good Adrenal Support Formula...because too often I have patients telling me they have been following a yeast cleanse program but can't get over the hump. The reason is that the immune system is activated by our adrenal glands....and if the adrenal glands are exhausted and fatigued, due to all the stress in your life, they wont' activate your immune system.  If you can't activate your immune system....how are you going to keep the 'bad' bacteria from re-invading?

FYI...prolonged stress and the over-production of cortisol will erode your intestinal lining, which further exacerbates and weakens your digestive system...can you see how this vicious cycle continues? Use the "online health quizzes" to determine how well your digestive system is functioning as well as test how stress is effecting your health.

In summary, healthy digestion is critical for overall health. If your digestive system is struggling...so is your health. Probiotics, Digestive Enzymes are steps in the right direction.  It's not "you are what you eat" its "you are what your body absorbs."  If you are struggling with your health what steps are you taking?  Are you moving forward or not?  Overcoming your health concerns are step-by-step process.

Dr. Len Lopez is a nutrition and fitness expert, as well as, author and developer of the new fitness product the Work Horse Trainer. His goal is to help people who are looking for answers on how to stay healthy and fit. To learn more or join his bi-weekly teleseminars visit www.DrLenLopez.com and follow his daily Blog or simply use the online health quizzes.

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