Many people these days have been on antibiotics for long periods of time. Some have been on antibiotics for short courses of time but have done this many, many times. Some people are on preventative antibiotics and never stop taking them. Antibiotics can save your life if a bacterial infection is severe enough. Unfortunately, antibiotics are not without side-effects.
Many people are allergic to certain antibiotics. Many bacteria are becoming antibiotic resistant. A real concern for me as a doctor is that antibiotics kill most or all of the bacteria in the intestines. A large portion of our intestines is home for friendly bacteria. These friendly bacteria help make certain vitamins for us, produce waste products that are usable by us, and by the fact of their large numbers crowd out undesirable micro-organisms. These healthy bacteria keep our intestinal lining healthy, promote natural antibiotics, help keep our pH levels normal, and assist in digestion.
When we take broad spectrum antibiotics we kill these bacteria in our intestines. Since parasites, fungus, yeasts, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria are not affected by these medicines they are left with no competition for living space in the intestines. Parasites, yeasts, fungus, and the wrong bacteria make us very sick. They can lead to autoimmune problems in the future. They can lead to leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome leads to an increase in food allergies. The wrong types of microbes in our intestines do not produce vitamins for us to use. They do not give us waste products that we can use such as L(+) lactic acid for the intestines. In fact, an overgrowth of the wrong type of microbes can eat holes in our intestines, poison us with their waste products, and promote uptake of toxic metals from our environment that would otherwise be unabsorbed.
Because of these problems associated with having antibiotics kill our friendly bacteria we screen for this problem on all patients that come into our office. If deemed necessary we may need to treat certain patients with herbal medicines to kill a fungal or parasitic infection. It may also be necessary to give patients the right type of bacteria in pill form! Thorne Research makes a high quality bacteria product, or probiotic, that helps to replace our lost bacteria. These bacteria are a type called Lactobacillus sporogenes. Lactobacillus sporogenes do not need to be refrigerated and are shown to easily survive stomach acid. Other types of probiotics need to be refrigerated and can be killed by stomach acid. This means that often you may be wasting time and money trying to replenish the correct bacteria in the intestines.
Bacteria, both good and bad, are vital part of our health picture and can affect the way we feel. A healthy intestinal environment contains a mixture of many types of organisms. Patients that are healthy have a dominance of friendly bacteria in their intestines and these bacteria promote health and wellness. I check all patients with serious health problems for an imbalance in bacteria types and correct the problem naturally and quickly. I also encourage most patients to avoid antibiotics if at all possible due to the destructive effects they have on the body. If someone must take antibiotics it is beneficial to follow antibiotic therapy with probiotics and be screened for a yeast or fungal infection afterwards. Please feel free to call with questions.