Why is it important to have a good population of healthy gut bacteria?
Think of your gut like a garden, when it is well tended and its full of many different plants, there is no place for opportunistic weeds to take hold. If your gut has a healthy, diverse population of bacteria, opportunistic pathogens are less likely to find a foothold and cause trouble. However, we sometimes cannot avoid problems and when they are caused by food poisoning bacteria, we need to take an antibiotic.
Antibiotics can cure a range of bacterial infections, however, with our growing knowledge of the benefits of good gut bacteria researchers have asked the question, “what is the impact of antibiotics on our gut bacteria population?”
A research study from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, has looked at this!
12 subjects were given three common antibiotics, and stool samples were taken and tested prior to treatment and then for six months after treatment. Testing showed that before treatment the subjects had a wide variety of gut bacteria species, but after treatment, almost all the gut bacteria were eliminated. It took about 50 days for the gut bacteria population to return, but, even after six months, not all the species of gut bacteria returned.
At 6 months researchers discovered that nine common species of bacteria had still not reappeared. Although the study could not make any conclusions on the health effects of these missing species, study lead, Dr. Oluf Pedersen, said: “this suggests that recurrent antibiotic use may confer permanent gut bacteria alterations over a person's lifetime.”
Dr. Pedersen explained “It is good that we can regenerate our gut microbiota which is important for our general health," but "The concern, however, relates to the potentially permanent loss of beneficial bacteria after multiple exposures to antibiotics during our lifetime.”
To reap the benefits of antibiotics and counteract the negative GI effects, physicians recommend taking a probiotic, like SuperBio, with antibiotics. This may be the best way, for now, to help you and your gut bacteria recover fully.