Written by Melbourne Naturopath Bree Jenner
Have you ever been prescribed antibiotics for an infection, and whilst the infection itself has cleared up, you’re left with a case of thrush, maybe bloating, diarrhoea or constipation, or just a feeling of “never-been-quite-right-since”?
Antibiotics are an important course of action to treat serious bacterial infection and in some cases, they can be life-saving. The role of antibiotics is to neutralise bacteria, and in doing so, can often affect our beneficial bacteria, whose role it is to boost our immune function. If antibiotics have led to an imbalance of the balance of bacteria, this can lead to opportunistic infections such as yeasts (like the Candida strains that lead to thrush) to take advantage of the situation and leave you with uncomfortable symptoms.
After a course of antibiotics, it is a good idea to rebuild the population of good bacteria with specific strains of probiotics to optimise your gut environment again, and prevent further infection.
“The impact of the gut microbiome on immune function”
Probiotics have been studied in great depth to help us understand the synergistic relationship we have with them. Probiotics may work to displace unhelpful bacteria by competing against them, or adhering to cell walls. They are able to help modulate immune responses by secreting supportive substances or stimulating the bodies own immune system to produce its own protective responses. A balanced microbiome also helps to manage the inflammatory response within the body.
Some strains are effective in the management of gastrointestinal conditions such as diarrhoea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis. Some strains can help to prevent and manage atopic conditions such as asthma, eczema or allergic rhinitis (hayfever). Some strains can help boost our ability to better absorb nutrients from food, or can actually produce nutrients themselves (such as vitamin K and B12). Others can help relieve symptoms such as traveller’s diarrhoea or coughs and colds. Helping find balance within our various microbiomes can also help to prevent symptoms arising in other areas of our body such as acne, mastitis, thrush, even bad breath.
If you’re experiencing any digestive symptoms, have recently taken one or many courses of antibiotics, have noticed mood changes, or are regularly unwell, head to the Book an Appointment page and book in for a Complimentary Chat with a Naturopathic Practitioner, or an Initial Consultation, and we can chat with you about how we can help you investigate the underlying cause of your symptoms and find your balance.
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Swidsinski A, et al. Functional anatomy of the colonic bioreactor: Impact of antibiotics and Saccharomyces boulardii on bacterial composition in human faecal cylinders. Syst Appl Microbiol 2016 Feb;39(1):67-75.
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Hill, C., et al., Expert consensus document: The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2014. 11(8): p. 506-514.
Collins, M.D. and G.R. Gibson, Probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics: approaches for modulating the microbial ecology of the gut. American Journal of Clinical Nutriton, 1999. 69((suppl)): p. 1052S-1057S.
For more information or for a tailored personalized plan chat to one of our Naturopaths
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