Most everybody has had to take antibiotics for infections or other. Antibiotics kill bacteria, that’s what they do. Unfortunately,  there are in your gut good, benign and beneficial bacteria as well as the noxious bacteria you took the antibiotics against. Usually the person’s digestive system will be resettled by the beneficial bacteria, but not always. sometimes the damage can be more serious. Take for example this study posted on Medscape  about infection from the nasty bacteria Clostridium Difficile [1]. The Medscape entry describes the Clostridium infection  as being sometimes caused by antibiotics destroying the normal checks and balances of the coexisting bacteria before their use. In the words of Medscape : “..Normal gut flora resists colonization and overgrowth with C Difficile. Antibiotic use, which suppresses the normal flora, allows proliferation of C Difficile…”

Clostridium Difficile Bacteria (Wikipedia Commons)

                                                                                      

I am not not sure why many in the scientific community put  bacteria in the category of “Flora” which is reserved for plants, and microbiota is more appropriate, but be it as it may, studies with a conclusion of nasty side antibiotics effects abound. Another example, more general is in [3] , which has found that antibiotics damage the host body ‘s defenses by ravaging the pre-existing microbiata. The sphere of influence of gut microbiata goes well beyond the gastro-intestinal tract. See the figure below extracted from [3]

 

Gut Microbiata's Sphere of Influence (Physiol. Review)

 

 

Then again, needless to say, sometimes the administration of antibiotics is not optional. So , can we repair the damage after the indiscriminate carpet bombing?

Livestrong [4] gives some guidelines as how to proceed:

  • Yogurt with active cultures, the more the better
  • Probiotic nutritional supplements
  • Miso Soup : “Miso is made from naturally fermented soybeans and the unpasteurized type contains plenty of helpful Lactobacillus bacteria that can help replenish good bacteria”

Hope this helps,

Talk to your Doctor

Sources:

[1] Medscape Reference   ; Clostridium Difficile Colitis

[2] Livestrong ; “How to Replace Good Bacteria After Antibiotics” ; 2011

[3] Physiological Review ; Gut Microbiata in health an Disease” “2010

[4] Livestrong ; “How to Replace Good Bacteria After Antibiotics” ; 2011

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