Updated: Jul 14
Medication, including antibiotics, is life-saving and can be beneficial in the right place.
However, how often have you caught a cold or sore throat, and after five minutes of the doctor's office, you've walked out with an antibiotic and maybe even a steroid pack? You were given a quick solution, and perhaps you felt better that your problem was solved.
The question is, is that the best solution?
Did you have an infection? Or were the symptoms just viral? And how deep was that tested? Again, this is a quick fix, but is it causing more harm than good?
In today's busy medical system, antibiotics are handed out very often as a quick solution. While, in some cases, this is essential, it is not always the answer. Overuse has created a whole new set of issues for many people.
You may think, what if I take an antibiotic that I didn't need? Is it hurting me?
The issue with antibiotics today is that they're widely overprescribed. They're often given as the first line of defense when they should be that last.
Many times cases of the flu, colds, sore throat, or even a sinus infection could be fixed on their own or with some help of some natural remedies. However, instead of waiting, they treat it right away.
There is mounting evidence antibiotic usage can lead to more severe health problems.
First, we have antibiotic resistance, which is being studied even in the conventional medical community. This is when bad bugs develop the ability to fight the drugs we used to kill them. The weaker bacteria die off, but the stronger ones stay alive and are resistant. We then need more potent antibiotics to kill them. Unfortunately, the cycle can continue so that the bacteria become resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics.
Another problem we see with antibiotics is that it affects your gut health. Your gut contains approximately a trillion microbes and other species like yeast, fungi, and viruses. Some of these are beneficial to your health, while others are not.
When we take an antibiotic, it kills up harmful bugs and wipes out all your good bugs. At the same time, we need healthy bacteria to maintain a robust immune system in our bodies. The good bacteria in our stomachs play a vital role in energy immunity, digestion, and even the absorption of optimal vitamins and nutrients. It wipes out the whole ecosystem; antibiotic use can lead to microbial imbalance. When all the bacteria are wiped out, it leaves space for the more harmful bacteria to over.
I like to explain this like a lawn. When you have good strong grass, the weeds can't grow through. However, when good grass is wiped out, it leaves more opportunity for the harmful weeds to break through and take over.
This can lead to anything from diarrhea, bloating, constipation, IBS, reflux, other stomach discomforts to more severe conditions, like autoimmunity, hormone imbalances, food allergies, asthma, and obesity.
You may be suffering symptoms now from symptoms of dysbiosis that came from an antibiotic taken even a few years ago.
An unfortunate cycle can happen for people with acne because the antibiotics you are being treated with wipe out the microbiome to produce more overgrowth and less beneficial bacteria perpetuating this cycle. We know that low levels of beneficial bacteria, especially Akkremansia M., are associated with increased acne.
When the time comes that you do need an antibiotic, it is always essential to make sure that you're taking a probiotic with your antibiotic. This is because probiotics help restore the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Another important component you can add to your diet is prebiotic. Prebiotics are the soluble fiber that helps guide the growth of beneficial bacteria. You can find prebiotics naturally in food sources, including garlic, onions, bananas, onions, sweet potatoes, and squash, as well as fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kombucha. When starting with prebiotics, it is essential to go slow and work your way up. If you increase too fast, you can experience gas or bloating as your body adjusts.
Before starting that next antibiotic, ask yourself if it is necessary. It absolutely may be required, but if you are just starting with your cold, you may try some natural remedies such as vitamin increasing Vitamin C and Vitamin D or Zinc before jumping right in. One of my favorite homeopathic remedies is essential oils such as oregano or thyme.
If you do need the antibiotic, help yourself by using support while you're taking it!