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Gut Bacteria Recover From Antibiotics, but They May Take Six Months

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Research shows that our gut microbiome is heavily impacted and altered by antibiotics, and we do know that reseeding your gut with good probiotics and foods can nourish your microbiome. But, as Ars Technica reports, as we learn more about how this process works, scientists are finding that it can take as much as six months for your gut to recover — and sometimes, certain microorganisms are lost forever — after a round of antibiotics.

The mysteries and wonders of the gut microbiome are fascinating to me, and it’s exciting to share ways to keep your gut healthy — or to reseed it if you do need an antibiotic. This is especially important, as dozens of health conditions have been traced back to the influence of the gut microbiome, including obesity, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s, allergies and cancer, just to name a few.

Recent research shows gut microbes control antitumor immune responses in your liver, and that antibiotics can alter the immune cells in your liver, triggering tumor growth. And that’s just one thing we’ve learned about the composition of microbes in your gut and how they play such an enormous role in health and disease prevention.

To that end, we have only now come to realize the bacteria in your gut must be properly balanced and nourished to maintain good physical and mental health. So far, we also know that one way to reseed our gut is with healthy probiotics such as those found in fermented foods and healthy fibers.

These include vegetables, chutneys, condiments, cultured dairy products such as yogurt, kefir and sour cream, as well as fermented fish such as mackerel and Swedish gravlax. One of the reasons fermented foods are so beneficial is they contain a wide variety of beneficial bacteria. Foods containing fiber, such as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables also help promote better digestive health by feeding your beneficial bacteria.

Additionally, high-quality probiotics supplement may be useful in maintaining a well-functioning digestive system if you occasionally stray from your healthy diet or have to take antibiotics. Gut microbes specializing in fermenting soluble fiber play an important role in preventing inflammatory disorders as they help to calibrate your immune system and nourish the cells lining your colon.

Although fiber dietary guidelines call for 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day, I believe the ideal amount is much higher, likely twice as high. Eating whole foods, especially vegetables, also naturally provides you with soluble and insoluble fiber to feed the living microorganisms in your gut.

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