Antibiotics can be miraculous. They’ve saved countless lives. They’ve made once-deadly diseases manageable…
But they’ve also made millions of people sick and unhealthy.
Antibiotic misuse is a problem I’ve brought up before. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reports a third of antibiotic prescriptions are useless. They’re written for viral infections… that antibiotics can’t help.
Such a waste of money is bad enough. But these pointless prescriptions also add to antibiotic resistance. They help breed bacteria that don’t respond to drugs.
But that’s just the most obvious issue. Antibiotic overuse also creates another problem. One that could affect your health in many ways…
More Than Just a “Bathroom” Problem
If you’ve taken antibiotics, you’ve probably experienced an unpleasant side effect… Diarrhea.
Doctors often suggest eating yogurt to help ease the problem. That’s good advice. But it only restores a very limited range of healthy gut flora.
You see, antibiotics kill a wide range of bacteria. And the bacteria in your gut do much more than you might realize.
Your “gut flora” promotes health in remarkable ways. At least they do when you have a healthy mix of bacteria in your intestines. Here’s how your gut flora can boost your health… when your gut flora itself healthy.
The Benefits of Healthy Gut Flora
Vitamin K helps control blood clotting and is a key element in building strong, healthy bones. Getting enough vitamin K can be a challenge.
But when you have a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut, your vitamin K status improves. Because these bacteria make vitamin K – in a form your body can absorb.
A healthy balance of bacteria in your gut can also help you slim down.
In a 2010 Japanese study, men taking a probiotic mix began losing abdominal fat. A similar group of men taking a placebo didn’t have the same results.
The probiotic group lost 4.6% of their abdominal fat in 12 weeks. Their body mass index dropped… as did their body weight and waist circumference.
The placebo group didn’t see these improvements.
A healthy bacterial “garden” provides other benefits, too. Friendly bacteria…
- Support insulin sensitivity (fights blood sugar problems)
- Fight systemic inflammation – a condition that can lead to arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and more
- Help prevent – or ease – depression
When your gut flora is in good shape it also supports tight junctions. That is, they help keep your intestinal barrier strong – so germs and toxins can’t pass into your body and spread to vital organs.
And these are just a few reasons tending the garden in your gut is so important.
Grow It… Don’t Blow It
Every course of antibiotics wipes out billions of bacteria in your gut. That’s why it’s so important to only take an antibiotic when you really need to. And why I’ve urged you to confirm with your doctor that prescription is necessary.
Eating yogurt is a good stopgap. But it won’t restore the variety of bacteria antibiotics kill. Even a good probiotic supplement can’t do that. But short of a fecal transplant, a supplement is your best defense.
Here’s what to look for in a quality probiotic…
- A variety of bacterial strains. Find a quality brand that offers at least 6 – 8 strains. And preferably not just Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
- Billions of CFUs (Colony Forming Units). Recent research estimates your body plays host to some 39 trillion bacteria. Any supplement with less than billions of CFUs is just a drop in the bucket.
- A guaranteed “live” count based on the expiration date; not the packaging date. A supplement with 5 billion live CFUs when it’s packaged will have far fewer at its expiration date.
Your Bottom Line for Building Optimal Health
There’s no question antibiotics are wonder drugs. They’ve saved millions of lives. But excessive and careless use has led to unintended consequences. And it’s not just because they help build drug-resistant “superbugs.”
As the CDC points out, 1 of every 3 antibiotic prescriptions is pointless. Which means a third of antibiotic use lays waste to your immune defenses. For no good reason at all.
Your goal should be to build and maintain a healthy colony of friendly bacteria in your gut. Which means taking antibiotics only when absolutely necessary.
That means avoiding antibiotics when you have a virus – such as with colds and flus. Eating as though you’re feeding your best friends – plenty of fiber and minimal sugar and starches. And taking a potent probiotic supplement every day.
These simple steps can make all the difference. They’ll help you build a powerful immune system… and a relationship with your body’s best friends that can see you through the worst times ahead.
About the Author: Jason Kennedy is a celebrated investigative health writer and the author of The X-Factor Revolution and Beyond the Blue Zone. With over 10 years of experience working with today’s leading alternative and anti-aging doctors, Jason shares his insider status and access to the latest breakthroughs with thousands of readers from around world.
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