Last week my hubby ended up at the dentist with an infection that required both pain killers and antibiotics. And while these things are needed on occasion, it's important to know that every medicine has a side effect. Some of those side effects are not as prevalent as others, as is generally the case with antibiotics and pain meds like Tylenol, T3, Advil, etc., otherwise known as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Both are silent disrupters that upset the delicate balance of our body's gut microbiome.
According to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, the microbiome is defined as, “a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body. Your body is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as your microbiome.” Within these trillions of bacteria are both good and bad bacteria. Antibiotics are bacteria-killing in nature which upsets the balance by obliterating most of the good bacteria, leaving more bad bacteria to take over. Not to mention those pain meds have been known to cause bleeding, inflammation and ulcers in the stomach and small intestine. Dr. Amy Meyers, MD, author of The Autoimmune Solution shared in an article about a study that showed users of ibuprofen and celecoxib were found to have more of the bacteria in their gut that includes E. Coli, shingella and salmonella, as well as other disease causing bacteria. Taking one of these causes a significant amount of disruption on its own. Together, they can wreak havoc in your gut.
You may have noticed over the past few years, more and more information available and attention paid to gut health. And for good reason. Scientists have started calling the gut our “second brain”. The enteric nervous system runs through our entire digestive system from esophagus clear to the anus and is made up of nerves, neurons and neurotransmitters that sends information and communicates with our brain. The one in your head. You may have heard or read recently that all health begins in the gut, and this is why. When things are balanced right, good bacteria has the upper hand, microbiome is healthy and functioning well, these messages get sent up and the brain send messages to the body to react positively. Digestion and elimination is working well therefore toxins are being eliminated, healthy bacteria have the upper hand which supports optimal immune function. Enter disrupters.
Think of a clear, fresh-water pond. Few fish swimming in there, some frogs, plants, etc. It's its own little balanced ecosystem. What happens to everything in the pond when something like oil or gas is accidentally spilled into the water? If it's a little bit, most of the living organisms survive, albeit the pond will likely take several months or years to fully recover and get back to its original state. A big spill could wipe out all the living organism, leaving basically a lifeless swamp. Your gut is like a pond.
Trillions of live organisms actively doing their thing to keep you healthy and thriving. Antibiotics, NSAIDS, as well as most other medications, all have an effect on the health of our gut flora (those microorganisms) which then negatively impact the microbiome, disrupting our health in some way. An article in PubMed showed infants who receive antibiotics can have their gut microbiome altered, resulting in a weaker immune system. Another 2016 PubMed study showed adults on antibiotics had a supressed microbiome that took anywhere from four weeks to six months to return to normal. And yet until recently, there has been very little, if any recommendations on what to do to restore our gut, and why.
Science Daily posted an article in October 2018 which said, “The trillions of bacteria in the human gut affect our health in multiple ways including effects on immune functions and metabolism. A rich and diverse gut microbiota is considered to promote health providing the human host with many competences to prevent chronic diseases. In contrast, poor diversity of the gut ecosystem is a characteristic feature of chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, asthma and gut inflammatory disorders.” Clearly, keeping our gut healthy, which for a great segment of the population means restoring gut health after rounds of medications, should be a priority.
Inflammation is the root cause of all disease. Anytime there is pain, discomfort, swelling, upset, redness, heat, etc., inflammation is present. Therefore a good first step in healing your gut would be to remove all inflammatory foods from your diet. Dr. Amy Meyer advocates removal of gluten, grains and legumes and replacing them with grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, a wide variety of organic fruits and veggies. Toxins from pesticides and meats that have been grain fed and given hormones are also disrupters. We are what we eat, but we are also what our food eats/absorbs. I would also remove dairy and soy for the same reasons.
Minimize stress. This is a huge factor for many people dealing with gut and health issues as the internal inflammation triggered by living in a constant state of stress, fear, uncertainty, etc., exacerbates the situation and makes it extremely difficult to repair stomach lining or restore a healthy gut balance.
Increase water consumption to help get things moving and flush toxins out of the body and supplement with digestive enzymes and probiotics to replace what's been eliminated. This should be done during a course of antibiotics/meds and continue afterwards for a few months to ensure balance is restored. Probiotics containing Lactobacillus casei as well as aloe vera have been shown to help repair stomach lining, something else often damaged when the microbiome is not happy. Although I haven't had the need for antibiotics or pain meds for many years, probiotics and digestive enzymes are part of my daily regimen for gut health.
If gut issues are keeping you from achieving your health and weight loss goals, book your assessment with Tania today [email protected]
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