Recently, I came down with a raging fever and a very sore throat. After a trip to Urgent Care, I received a diagnosis of tonsillitis (a tonsil infection) and given a prescription for antibiotics.
I held off on taking the antibiotics for a couple days, knowing that my body was doing important work and fighting off an infection with the fever. I took vitamin C, got acupuncture, and rested.
But when symptoms didn’t improve, I decided to take the antibiotics. (Remember, it’s ultimately your choice, not your doctor’s choice, to take any medication).
After frustrating and fruitless years spent trying to address my autoimmune disease in doctors offices, I knew Western Medicine hands out antibiotics like candy. The frequency and duration of antibiotic usage in our culture does more harm than good, but that doesn’t mean they are never a viable solution. Instead, we need to be vastly more conscious of alternatives and judicial antibiotic use.
I decided antibiotics were the best route for me in this situation. But I also knew, when the round of antibiotics was over, I would have repair work to repopulate my gut with healthy flora.
Here are the steps I took to re-inoculate my body with healthy gut flora and recover from antibiotics:
I used the following supplements to restore the healthy gut bacteria that was wiped out by the antibiotics.
Sacchromyces Boulardii is a beneficial yeast that supports balanced gut flora and can help address candida overgrowth. Because it’s a yeast, not a bacteria, it’s not killed with antibiotic treatment. So, I took this during the course of the antibiotics (2 per day) and finished the bottle after the treatment. I recommend this brand of Sacchromyces Boulardii, but you can find it from various supplement brands.
VSL-3 Probiotics are heavy-duty probiotics, specifically formulated to help those with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Even if you don’t struggle with those autoimmune issues, I recommend this high-quality probiotic after antibiotic usage. I took 1 capsule, 3 times per day, until I finished the bottle. You can find this supplement in the refrigerated section of well-stocked health co-ops, and I was also told by a reader that it’s available at Costco.
UPDATE: This informative comment was shared on my facebook page and I wanted to pass it on to you.
Hi Lauren, excellent article! I have been following your blog since its very beginning. I LOVE your blog and all the wonderful and inspiring information you consistently give.
I am the manager at a small apothecary at an integrative medical clinic in Boulder Co. We used to carry VSL3 and it was a HUGE seller. However, VSL3 is no longer on the market due to a lawsuit from the founder/creator (DeSimone) of the formula. VSL3 was discredited due to changing the formula and fraudulent claims.
Claudio DeSimone is now producing his original formula via his own company ExeGi its called Visbiome…which is a fantastic and trust-worthy medical food probiotic. 8 strains and 112.5 billion beneficial bacteria per 1 capsule serving. It is very similar to VSL3, but better. It is still gluten free and dairy-free. There is a ton of information online about both the VSL/AlfaSigma 2017-18 lawsuit and Visbiome. Check into it! — Jesse Alban
Garden of Life Probiotics are more easily accessible, and while not as potent, still very helpful. You can find them at Whole Foods, most health food stores, and online here. I took 1 capsule, 3 times per day, until I finished the bottle.
Biokult is another potent probiotic, developed for use with the GAPS Diet. If I couldn’t find the VSL-3, I would take Biokult instead. It’s available here.
Fermented foods like lacto-fermented sauerkraut, kombucha, and kefir pack a wallop of probiotics. The month following my antibiotics, I enjoyed fermented foods with at least one meal per day.
Restore, a soil-derived supplement, is made from — brace yourself — “decomposed prehistoric matter.” The decomposition process, with the pressure and atmosphere, creates lignite extract.
When destroyed by stressors, toxins, or antibiotics, our gut flora becomes imbalanced and pathogenic bacteria move in. These pathogens, along with chemicals and certain foods, loosen the junctions between the cells of the small intestine.
As a result, toxins and undigested food molecules escape into the bloodstream and cause immune dysfunction. This is referred to as “leaky gut.” While antibiotics will not necessarily cause leaky gut, they can contribute to this condition or exacerbate it.
When balanced, our gut flora communicates widely via carbon molecules called redox molecules. Restore introduces these carbon-based messenger molecules into the digestive tract, promoting essential communication of our gut flora. When our gut flora communicates, they can re-establish balance and intestinal healing.
Restore is shown in a controlled study to restore the tight junctions between small intestinal cells — in other words, it promotes the reversal of leaky gut.
I supplemented with a bottle of Restore post-antibiotics, taking 1 tsp. Three times per day. You can get Restore here on Amazon.
Colostrum is one of the most potent health elixirs, produced by mammals the first few days after giving birth. This pre-milk contains nutrients that prepare the gut for lifelong healthy digestion.
The immune-supporting “active ingredients” include:
- Immunoglobulins — these antibodies are your body’s first line of defense, and fight invading bacteria and viruses
- Proline-rich polypeptides — these polypeptides can support reduced inflammation
- Growth factors — these hormones make colostrum helpful for leaky gut, as they support tight junctions between intestinal cells
Colostrum can help restore the gut lining, foster a healthy immune response, and support recovery from leaky gut. (Source and source). It’s not a supplement I use on a regular basis, but I took it after my antibiotics to care for my digestive and immune system.
I don’t digest cow dairy well, but I have no problems with colostrum. That’s likely because it contains enzymes that help break down the casein (the milk protein) and the lactose (the milk sugar) responsible for digestive distress.
I recommend this Liposomal Colostrum. It comes from pasture-raised cows, and the colostrum is taken after the calves have had enough.
Take colostrum on an empty stomach. I take it first thing in the morning and before bed, 1 tsp. per serving in water.
How do you determine when it’s appropriate to take antibiotics? Do you use other steps to recover after?
I’ve been trying to get VSL#3 for awhile now. Was able to get at Costco, Albertsons for awhile, but since the company is going through litigation in the courts, the Pharmacies are not selling it right now. It’s the only probiotic that works for me as I have Hashimotos. Do you know where I can purchase it? Was doing so well with taking it, now I’m back to square one with bloating etc.
I know a shop in Phoenix that carries it, otherwise I don’t know. I also heard it was available at Costco, so I’m bummed to hear that it’s not available there currently. I wish I could help further!
VSL#3 is being sold as Visbiome now.
It’s available on Amazon, and can also be purchased direct at http://www.visbiome.com.
They have more details regarding the litigation between VSL and Dr. Claudio De Simone if anyone is interested.
Thanks for sharing that resource!
You can order directly from the company and they quick ship with a freezer pack to keep it cool.
Do you recommend doing implants with the probiotics?
That’s not something I’ve done research on, so I don’t have insight for you.
Thank you so much for this! About 9 years ago or so I kept getting these upper respiratory infections and took round after round after round……of antibiotics. I haven’t had antibiotics in maybe 8 years except for by IV for C-section; but here lately, I’ve been thinking I should probably take some probiotics or something to help restore my gut, but it only got as far as a thought because…life and not really knowing where to start. And I wasn’t aware of all this back then when I was taking all those rounds of antibiotics. And now, lol and behold, you come out with this! What timing!! Thank you for sharing! Now I have somewhere to start.
Thank you for this Lauren! My husband just started antibiotics for an ear infection. Also, have you ever heard of Ortho’s 225? Not as potent as VSL #3, but at least its available. When you take the probiotics, how far away from your antibiotics should it be taken? Thank you!
I don’t take probiotics when I’m taking antibiotics, because the meds kill off the good bugs. I wait until I’m finished with the round of antibiotics. I haven’t heard of Ortho’s 225, thanks for bringing it to my attention.
i had left a message for you and haven’t heard back from you?
I would like to know if we are supposed to take all of the products
you recommened —
The Restore, VSL#3, Colostrum, Sacchromyces Boulardii, and Raw Probiotics
at the same time? Or do we take some of them and then go to some of them later?
Are you recommending that we take everything at once to recover from antibiotics?
Hi Jordana — I just replied to your other comment here (yes you can take them all at once if your budget allows, but you can also pick-and-choose). I’m unable to reply to all the emails I get requesting personal health and supplemental advice, thanks for understanding that.
I understand and thank you!
If you cannot get the VSL#3, what about Ortho’s 225 probiotics? Have you ever heard of this? Also, when is the best time to take the probiotics if you are on antibiotics? Can you take them at the same time?
Sorry for reposting my comment! I just saw your reply. Thank you very much
I found these to website for the VSL#3
i still would like to know if Lauren recommends taking everything at once or if one could take a few of the supplements and then take a few later?
Hi Jordana! You can take all at once if desired. It’s based on personal preference and budget.
sorry, but please read the book from Robert Morse N.D.! there is no so called disease it’s just acids in your body, lymphatic stagnation! your body was just hardly trying to detox, like it is doing for you 24/7! your tonsils were working hard for you and you just stopped it with medication! the tonsils are part of the lymphatic system, the sewer system! probiotics and the like destroy even more! supplements change the body’s chemistry, they don’t work because they’re isolates! please do yourself and others a favor and take a closer look at what you’re recommending and even doing to your body! (youtube, facebook – search for Hilde Larsen, robertmorsend, Kim Whitaker, OrangeHelia,…)
Step back from this treatment based thinking, get out of your mind, observe and look at the truth! Did nature really made a mistake or is it just us, thinking that we’re smarter than nature? Why are we human (and animals fed by human) the only species suffering from so-called diseases? …
yes, maybe your way might have helped you because you left out many things here and there, but in the long term your body will show you again and again with symptoms, that there’s more you need to know…
all the best, Andrea.
Tim Noonan, M.D.
The evidence suggests that probiotics (lacto/bifido) may significantly delay the return of a more normal gut microbiome if taken with/after antibiotics. Read more here: https://www.lucymailing.com/taking-probiotics-with-antibiotics-revisited/