As we head into winter and the coughing, sniffling, and sneezing begins, you might find yourself visiting your doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics, or even reaching for last year’s leftovers.You certainly wouldn’t be alone, right now antibiotics are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States.
Better safe than sorry?
According to a 2014 report published in BMC Medicine, broad-spectrum antibiotic prescription use has doubled from 2000 to 2010.The report goes on to say that nearly 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed for home use are unnecessary.Antibiotics are being commonly prescribed for conditions that aren’t even associated with a bacterial infection – like the common cold and flu, which are caused by viruses.On top of that, the animals we eat, unless certified organic, are typically given courses of antibiotics as well, to prevent disease in their crowded and dirty living conditions and to stimulate their growth.So what’s the harm in overexposing ourselves to antibiotics, aren’t we “better safe than sorry”? The answer is no, taking unnecessary antibiotics can actually do more harm than good. While antibiotics have saved millions of lives over the years, the excessive use and over-prescribing of these medications are wreaking havoc on your health because of their impact on your gut.In this article I’ll explain how antibiotics disrupt your gut microbiome, how that disruption affects your overall health, and how you can restore your gut’s balance if you do have to take antibiotics.
Your Gut’s Thriving Ecosystem
Your gut is its own ecosystem, providing a home to 100 trillion microorganisms, including 400 different species of bacteria.These microbes in your gut play crucial roles in digestion, immunity, metabolism, and mental health. Sixty to eighty percent of your immune system is located in your gut and ninety percent of your neurotransmitters – the chemical messengers that help regulate mood – are produced in your gut.In fact, the gut is often nicknamed the second brain because of how significantly it can affect your mood and mental state. Maintaining the proper balance of bacteria and other microorganisms in your gut is crucial, not just to your digestion, but to your overall health and wellbeing.
How Antibiotics Mess with Your Gut
Antibiotics work by blocking vital processes in bacteria that either kill the bacteria or stop them from multiplying.Unfortunately, antibiotics cannot differentiate between the “bad” bacteria that may be causing a bacterial infection and the “good” bacteria that belong in your gut. Instead, antibiotics come through like a tsunami, destroying everything in their path.When antibiotics kill the bacteria that belong in your gut, it disrupts the delicate ecosystem, creating a state of dysbiosis – or bacterial imbalance. When the number of good bacteria in your gut falls, it leaves you susceptible to the overgrowth of other organisms, like yeast, frequently referred to as Candida, because Candida Albicans is the most common strain of yeast.Yeast is opportunistic, which means that when given the chance, it will grow and multiply, especially when given its favorite food source – sugar. When yeast starts to multiply, it can damage the lining of your intestinal walls, leading to what’s known as leaky gut.
Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Disease
Technically, everything that’s in your small intestine is still considered to be outside of your body. It’s not until substances pass through the intestinal lining that they become a part of your bloodstream. A healthy small intestine keeps toxins and undigested food material out, while a small intestine that has become “leaky” allows microbes, toxins, partially digested food, and other particles to pass through.When foreign substances make it into your bloodstream, your immune system flags them as invaders and begins to attack.Over time, this causes your immune system, liver, and lymphatic system to become overwhelmed and overworked. When the immune system can no longer keep up with this demand, your immune response goes haywire, and you can develop autoimmune disease.This is why “Heal Your Gut” is the first pillar of The Myers Way® and is the first step towards preventing and reversing disease.
How to Heal Your Gut If You Do Take Antibiotics
So what if you have to take antibiotics or you’ve taken antibiotics in the past? Luckily, there are things you can do to help protect your gut and keep the bacteria in balance, using the Functional Medicine 4R approach.
Remove the Yeast Overgrowth
Antibiotics, as well as a diet high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol are key risk factors for developing yeast overgrowth. If you think you may have Candida overgrowth, take this quiz to find out. To get your yeast population back under control, you’ll need to follow a low-carbohydrate diet to starve the yeast, and take anti-fungal supplements to kill it. I offer a comprehensive 30-day protocol for beating Candida called The Myers Way® 30-Day Candida Control Program. (The program is currently out of stock but you can sign up here to be notified when it is available again)
Restore the Good
Add back in the essential ingredients for proper digestion and absorption that may have been depleted by your antibiotics. Including digestive enzymes is a key component of this step, because they help you digest your food properly, reducing the strain on your digestive system and ensuring that you receive the full nutritional benefit of the foods you eat.
Reinoculate Your Gut with Healthy Bacteria
Probiotics are live bacteria strains that help repopulate the gut and restore bacterial balance. I recommend taking a highly concentrated, multi-strain probiotic to make sure your gut’s microbiome has adequate diversity. If you do not have Candida overgrowth, you can add fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha into your diet to naturally boost diversity in your gut flora. If you do have yeast overgrowth, I recommend treating that first before adding in fermented foods, as they can feed the yeast as well as the good bacteria.Prebiotics come in the form of soluble fiber, and help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut by providing them with a food source that helps them grow and multiply. But, they feed yeast too, so you’ll want to take these after you’ve treated the yeast overgrowth. Prebiotics are available in supplemental form – or you can up your intake of soluble fiber-rich foods like chicory root, dandelion greens, garlic, leeks, onions, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Repair Your Gut Lining
GI Repair Powder provides the nutrients necessary to help the gut repair itself by combining l-glutamine, an amino acid that rebuilds the mucosal lining of the gut, with deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) and aloe vera, which also support the gut lining. As a convenient powder, it’s easy to toss into your blender to make a gut-healing smoothieCollagen, the raw form of gelatin, is rich in glycine and proline – two amino acids that most Americans don’t get enough of since they’re mainly found in the bones and organs of animals. Glycine and proline are not only good for your immune system, they help restore and repair the gut lining. You can take collagen in supplemental form (it’s always best to find a source from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals) or you can get a daily dose of gelatin through homemade bone broth.Bone broth, the kind you make on your own and let simmer for 12 to 24 hours, not the canned stuff – contains a wide variety of minerals and a specific amino acid called glutamine, which can help repair the lining of the gut and restore normal gut function. For more on the benefits of bone broth and a recipe for making your own, check out this article
Extra: Support Your Liver
Because antibiotics can tax the liver, as well as the gut, it’s also a good idea to take supplements that help support the liver’s detoxification process, such as the one I carry in my store that includes milk thistle, alpha-lipoic acid, and N-Acetyl Cysteine.If you want to learn more about how to heal your gut, and yourself, read my article on The Myers Way® Pillar I: Heal Your Gut, and for more information on the link between gut health and autoimmunity, read my book The Autoimmune Solution.
Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation
Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.
In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!
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Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…
What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...
Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody
...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!
Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?
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To your health!
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I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.
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Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
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5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.