We already know the damage antibiotics can do to gut flora.
These wonder drugs save lives every day. But they kill willy-nilly, destroying the good bacteria in your system right along with the bad.
And with a big part of your body’s natural defense system knocked off balance, you’re left vulnerable to attacks. But it gets worse.
Your “good” bacteria do more than just simply ward off “bad” bugs. They play a critical role in everything from digestion to hormone regulation. They even influence how we absorb and use the nutrients we take in.
In other words, they’re critical for your continued good health.
Now I realize I might be preaching to the choir here. You likely already know about the dangers of antibiotic overuse. You’ve probably even taken steps to cut back on using them.
But it turns out antibiotics are just the tip of the iceberg.
Non-antibiotic drugs destroy good bacteria
New research has revealed that literally dozens of other common medications are messing with our gut microbiome, mowing down our good bacteria.
Researchers tested the effect of over 1,000 popular drugs on over 40 common bacteria found in our guts. And they were shocked when ONE in FOUR killed off at least one of the good bugs.
You see, unlike antibiotics many of the drugs tested target human cells, NOT bacteria. So they “shouldn’t” haven’t killed the good bugs. Yet they left death in their wake.
The stunned scientists concluded the good bacteria were the unfortunate victims of ‘collateral damage.” Even referring to the deaths as antibiotic-like side effects.
Popular meds promote antibiotic resistance
If you’re taking any kind of medications there’s a good chance it was on the list. The drugs including popular heartburn drugs such as Prilosec and diabetes drugs such as metformin.
While most of the human cell targeting drugs killed at least one strain of “good” bacteria, a stunning 40 of them destroyed at least 10 strains. Among those were calcium channel blockers which are used to treat high blood pressure, chemotherapy drugs, psychiatric drugs and more.
Strangely, even some drugs designed to kill off viruses ended up taking out bacteria.
But it gets even weirder.
According to the German researchers, many of the drugs also appear to promote antibiotic resistance too. Which means when you actually do need an antibiotic the drug may not even work.
3 ways you can give your good bacteria a boost
But you can give your belly bugs a fighting chance.
1. Change your diet:
Our gut flora is under constant attack from mistakes we make in our diet. Switch to organic foods to reduce your exposure to pesticides and antibiotics.
Ban artificial sweeteners, which can kill off “good” bacteria. And while you are at it drop the high fructose corn syrup and other added sugars which experts say encourage the growth of “bad bugs.”
Your gut bacteria thrive on prebiotic foods. So eat more of them including garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, apples, green bananas, whole oats and barley.
And add more (live) fermented foods to the menu too. Greek yogurt with active cultures, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, miso, and raw sauerkraut are all packed with natural probiotics.
2. Sleep more and stress less:
When you don’t get enough sleep, it puts your gut bug balance in jeopardy. Stop burning the candle at both ends. Commit to at least seven hours of quality sleep a night.
And look for ways to eliminate stress in your life. Experts say chronic stress can throw our gut bacteria out of balance. Regular exercise and stress relieving activities such as meditation, praying and yoga can help.
Taking a probiotic supplement can help restore your microbiome balance. Plus it can supply you with plenty of good soldiers to fight off attacks by chemicals, toxins, meds and more.
Shop around for a quality blend from a maker you trust. And look for human tested strains in the mix such as B. longum and L. plantarum.