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Top 5 Ways to Restore Gut Health After Antibiotics

Caption: Top 5 Ways to Restores Gut Health After Antibiotics over line-up of probiotic foods

Antibiotics are widely hailed as one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. In the past century, antibiotic use alone has extended the average human lifespan by 23 years. However, these powerful drugs are not without side effects and can cause serious damage to your gut’s microbiome. That’s why it’s important to help your gut bacteria recover after you complete your prescribed course. Here are five ways you can restore your gut health after antibiotics. 

Antibiotics and the Gut Microbiome

Why do antibiotics harm the microbiome?  When prescribing antibiotics, doctors try to choose a prescription that will target the type of bacteria that’s making us sick.

Unfortunately, some of the good bacteria in our microbiome may also be killed in the process. It’s a little like spraying your garden with weedkiller–the intent is to kill the weeds, but the mums and snapdragons might end up going with them. 

The diversity of our gut microbiome is critical to a number of functions: our gut bacteria shape our immune system, our inflammation response, and even our mood and mental health. Changes in the number, type, and function of the bacteria in our gut can have wide-ranging consequences far beyond our digestion. 

Common Signs of Microbiome Damage

How can you tell if antibiotics have damaged your gut? Here are a few common signs of an unhealthy gut

  • Gas and Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders
  • Poor concentration
  • Acne
  • Sugar cravings

Even if you aren’t experiencing these specific problems, it’s still encouraged to support your microbiome after antibiotic use. In many cases, it can take several months to restore gut health  after the average 5-10 day course of antibiotics.  

How to Restore Gut Health After Antibiotics 

How to Restore Gut Health After Antibiotics infographic. Eat fermented foods. Take probiotics. Eat prebiotic foods. Sleep well. Target microbiome-supporting nutrients

5. Eat fermented and probiotic foods

You’re probably familiar with probiotics: live microorganisms, yeasts, and bacteria that have a beneficial impact on your gut health and microbiome diversity. Most of the time, we think of probiotics as supplements–either pills, beverages, or capsules which contain starter populations of good bacteria.

However, one of the best ways to revive gut health after antibiotics and encourage the growth of good bacteria in the GI tract is to eat probiotic foods. 

Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut can be excellent sources of probiotic microorganisms. The secret is in the fermentation process itself, which actually requires the activity of beneficial bacteria. 

As foods undergo fermentation, these beneficial bacteria break down naturally-occuring sugars and starches. The chemical byproducts of this process, such as lactic acid, help preserve the food, enabling it to last longer on your shelf or in your fridge. 

When we eat fermented foods, not only do we get the nutritional benefit of the food itself, but the beneficial bacteria from the fermentation process are incorporated into our gut. Fermented foods also help support our gut health in other ways, such as aiding digestion, and making it easier to absorb nutrients. 

4. Take probiotic supplements

If you have trouble eating fermented foods because of taste or dietary restrictions, probiotic supplements can be an excellent way to restore gut health after antibiotics. 

The catch? Not all probiotics are created equal. Probiotic supplements are a dime a dozen, but only some are worth taking. 

How can you tell which probiotic supplements will get the job done? The best probiotic supplements contain multiple strains of beneficial bacteria, are derived from organic, fermented sources, and use spore-based strains for optimal survival and replication in the GI tract. 

Probiotics are notoriously fragile; beneficial bacteria are often sensitive to heat and light, so the wrong storage conditions can kill off a product’s colonies before the bottle even leaves the shelf.

Even worse: not all beneficial bacteria strains are able to withstand the acidic conditions of the stomach and upper GI tract. This means that even if you are ingesting live microorganisms, they may not reach your intestines with the ability to colonize and grow. 

 That’s why our top probiotic choice is Dr. Eric Snow’s Gut Restore. Formulated to contain over 18 different strains of microbiome-supporting gut bacteria, Gut Restore is the perfect way to revive microbiome diversity after a course of antibiotics. 

In addition to common probiotic bacteria strains such as Lactobacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., and Streptococcus thermophilus, Dr. Eric Snow’s Gut Restore also contains the uniquely potent, spore-forming B. subtilis DE111 strain.

DE111 is a powerful probiotic that can withstand the extreme temperatures and pH found in the stomach and upper intestine, allowing it to colonize and quickly restore beneficial bacteria numbers in the lower intestine. 

Unlike refrigerated probiotics which expire quickly and can experience bacterial die off in transit, Gut Restore can be stored at room temperature and lasts over 24 months. 

Bottle of Dr. Eric Snow's Gut Restore

3. Eat prebiotic foods

We hear a lot about probiotic foods, but are you familiar with prebiotic foods? Prebiotic foods are fiber-rich foods that feed our gut bacteria. In a recent interview with Dr. Robert Lustig, Andrew Huberman discussed the essential importance of fiber in keeping our gut microbiomes healthy and diverse.

 Essentially, our gut bacteria eat parts of our food that we can’t digest, and fiber is one of their favorite things to snack on. Part of helping our bodies restore gut health after antibiotics is feeding the remaining gut bacteria a healthy diet–and providing plenty of food for any new bacteria that come in through probiotic foods and supplements.

Top fiber-rich foods include: whole grains, passionfruit, artichokes, chickpeas, and flax seeds.

2. Get plenty of sleep

Although the connection might not seem obvious, sleep plays an essential role in our gut health. A 2019 study found that good sleep and a diverse microbiome are positively correlated.

Importantly, the relationship between a good night’s sleep and your gut health is bidirectional, meaning the better your sleep, the better your gut health and vice versa. So if you’re struggling to get to sleep after finishing a course of antibiotics, poor gut health might be to blame–but the good news is that healing your gut may also be an easy solution.  

1. Target microbiome-supporting nutrients

If you’re already taking a probiotic, getting plenty of rest, and eating a nutritious diet full of gut-healthy foods, you might consider giving your body an extra edge with these gut-supporting supplements: 

Glutamine: L-glutamine is an amino acid used by the intestines to repair gut lining, and a crucial part of healing antibiotic-induced leaky gut. We recommend Dr. Eric Snow’s Gut Revive as a 100% organic source of l-glutamine derived from beneficial bacteria. 

Bottle of Dr. Eric Snow's Gut Revive

Zinc: This essential mineral plays a key role in maintaining gut barrier function and reducing inflammation in the GI tract. It also helps support immune function. Looking for a Zinc supplement? We recommend Standard Process Zinc Chelate, an easily absorbed formulation that contains 91% of your recommended daily value. 

Zinc Chelate™, 180 Tablet

Turmeric: Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, is highly-regarded for its anti-inflammatory properties. Less well-known are its effects on the microbiome, where curcumin helps regulate bacteria populations and behavior. For additional microbiome support, check out Dr. Eric Snow’s Turmeric Power, which combines the regulating effects of curcumin with the probiotic benefits of fermentation.  

Container of Dr. Eric Snow's Turmeric Power

Need help restoring gut health after antibiotics?

If you’ve been on repeated cycles of antibiotics, or have long-standing issues with your gut health, you might need additional help to help restore your gut’s microbiome. To help you get back to feeling your best, we offer a complete 30-Day Gut Reset course, filled with recipes, shopping guides, and supplements to help you recover your gut health. 

The Gut Reset Program