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Post Antibiotics: How To Get Your Gut Back To Balance

It has been a terrible winter in Australia. A lot of people have come down with the flu, gastro plus secondary bacterial infections and lingering coughs. I’ve had a stack of emails from existing patients and my social followers regarding restoring balance in their gut after taking antibiotics. I've put together this blog to help answer some of your questions and get you back on track ASAP.

Before I jump into what probiotics and gut healing nutrients are best to take, I’d like to get a few things straight.

  • Everyone’s intestinal microbiota is different

  • A healthy adult can usually handle 1-2 rounds of antibiotics a year without dramatically altering their micro biome

  • Every antibiotic is different and kill different types of bacteria

  • In a healthy person, the gut bacteria balance should return to normal after 2-4 weeks

  • There is no such thing as good and bad bacteria. It’s all about balance

Opportunistic bacteria such as Clostridium difficule (C.diff), parasites and yeast like Candida Albicans, can invade and multiple more quickly in the absence of other bacterial species to keep them in check. This an cause all sort of issues from diarrhoea to thrush and more chronic gastrointestinal issues. But, its not all bad news. If you are taking antibiotics, the best thing you can do is to take a strain of yeast, known as Saccharomyces boulardii (SB). It is protective of pathogenic microorganisms plus isn’t destroyed by the antibiotics themselves.

But not all bacteria is bad – in fact, 70-80 percent of your immune system is made up of healthy gut bacteria. These little guys are protecting you from bad bacteria that tries to inflame and destroy intestinal walls and trigger a variety of health problems, such as skin issues, constipation and even depression. You can boost the amount of healthy bacteria in your system by consuming probiotics, either in your foods (yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut) or in a supplement.

The best probiotic supplements contain at least one billion bacteria cultures and are certified by an independent lab for purity and potency. Even more, you want the bacteria to be guaranteed viable (basically, you want them to be alive). There’s no one best strain of bacteria, but strains like L. acidophilus or B. bacterium are known to have wide-reaching effects and often act as a starting point from which to add other strains with more specific effects.

Research suggests that probiotics work better as a team, or even in a pair, so you want to look for supplement that has more than one strain of bacteria. Selecting a multi-strain probiotic is also consistent with the theory that if you cram your gut with enough types of good bacteria, it will out-compete any bad bacteria that are attempting to take up the same space or resources. Some combinations of strains are aimed specifically at antibiotic recovery, boosting immune health, or IBS/IBD relief, among other things.

Learn more about different strain combinations and probiotic supplements at:

OK. So you've taken antibiotics and things are quite feeling right. Here’s a few simple things you can do.

  • Avoid sugar

  • Avoid alcohol

  • Reduce refined grains (flours, including wheat, rice and corn)

  • Drink 6 cups of bone broth daily

  • Eat lots of green leafy vegetables

  • Consume fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kim chi, yogurt etc

  • Eat legumes, if tolerated. Green split peas are one of the best

  • 1 teaspoon of slippery elm bark powder, twice daily in water.

And if things aren’t going so great, you might like to also consider;

  • A good multi strain (8-10 strain) probiotic. 10 billion + count.

  • Saccharomyces boulardii

  • Glutamine, to heal intestinal lining

  • Colostrum or lactoferrin, to help good bacteria “stick” as well as for its antimicrobial effect

  • Plus vitamin A and zinc for healing the gut lining

If you have any concerns or need more info on dosage or sourcing these supplements, please email me here.

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