• Emma Winter

Recovering from Antibiotics

Scientists have warned that taking just a single course of antibiotics can damage the healthy bacteria in the gut for at least a year and possibly permanently.

 ...Microbiome being the term given to the precious microorganisms living symbiotically with us as human beings.  A relationship that is CRITICAL for a strong, healthy immune system and our optimum wellbeing. 

After having antibiotics it's critical to start repopulating the good bugs asap, helping to safeguard against opportunistic, pathogenic bacteria taking up residence in the vulnerable digestive tract.


Here's a simplified 3 step process; 

1.  Feed 

Feed the good bugs that still remain and encourage them to multiply with prebiotics i.e. food for the probiotic (good bugs) e.g. raw, preferably organic, vegetables and fruits, psyllium, garlic, onion.  Ideally directly from the source or the veggie patch, with a healthy dose of living microbes (probiotics) right there in your home environment perfectly adapted to your microbiome.  Dandelion (weed) is an especially good prebiotic!  Don't spray or pull it out, save a patch for your green smoothie or salad!

This insoluble fibre provides food for good bacteria while giving it a structure upon which to multiply.  How to add these foods in;

A range of different coloured Veggie sticks and salads are a great option. Add extra to the kids lunch boxes or if they have 'crunch and sip' in the class. Encourage them to take veggies before fruit. Green smoothies are a perfect way to enjoy some of the prebiotic foods listed below.

Other wonderful prebiotics are dandelion greens, cabbage, leeks, garlic, onion, ginger, artichoke.

2.  Weed

Avoid all processed sugars & highly refined / processed foods. Processed sugar & foods feed more of the “bad” bacteria (including the pathogen you are trying to destroy with the antibiotic).   Rather build the population of good bugs with healthy food and weed out (starve) the pathogenic bugs.

Processed foods, including highly refined breakfast cereals and the 'healthier' variety of sugars such as agave, brown rice syrup, fruit juice, etc.  should be avoided (weeded out).  Even varieties of fruit with higher sugar content e.g. banana's should be limited during this time e.g. a week or so.  Fruit lower in sugar such as berries or apples stewed or grated are a great alternative sweetener.  

3.  Seed

Or repopulate.  Add in fermented foods, home grown herbs and veggies and/or Probiotics to help repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Probiotics are foods or supplements that contain beneficial bacteria. Go to home grown food, fermented foods first that are high in good bacteria, enzymes and nutrients.  Easy fermented food recipes to try include; milk kefir, a basic kimchi, or sauerkraut - if you haven't already, give one or all of them a go! Fermented Foods and/or Probiotics.

Consider taking good quality probiotics during the antibiotic period and for several weeks (to months) following the completion of the antibiotic course to minimise damage and restore the gut microbiome. There are many quality probiotics out there and some that are not so good...generally those found in the supermarket or popular high street health store - you know where I mean, tend be be the latter. So contact me for more probiotic options Please note, probiotics are not all equal. Avoid flavoured, commercial yogurt with sugar added - Y@*ul!.  It will do as much harm to our gut flora than good.  

There are SO many different strains of bacteria that we need it's important to 'mix it up' and not rely on any one for an extended period of time.

Most importantly enjoy vegetables from the garden, including the microscopic bacteria that come along for the ride.

Feed.  Weed.  Seed.

Other steps to add in and support the process 

* Bone stock and gelatin can help the body heal and restore the mucosal lining in our digestive system (which can be damaged during antibiotic use, damaging lifestyle choices or poor diet).

* Minimal amount of screen time and LOTS of playing outside.  Many of our good bacteria thrive on our bodies movement and exercise.  Even if the weather isn't conducive, get the family outside, experiencing the elements and all the goodness the great outdoors offer us.


While these are steps to rebuild after having to use antibiotics they are equally applicable to use to help build a strong microbiome and overall wellbeing.

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