How Long Does It Take For Your Gut Bacteria To Recover After Antibiotics
As we rapidly discover the importance a rich and diverse gut microbiome has on our overall health, some researchers are beginning to ask what the impact of widespread antibiotic use has been on our gut bacteria. A new study has closely examined the regrowth in gut bacteria after major antibiotic interventions, revealing that while much of our microbiome does recover, some species could be permanently eradicated.
The research focused on 12 healthy male subjects, each of who was initially subjected to a four-day treatment comprising three strong antibiotics designed to almost completely eliminate most bacterial species living in their gut. The participants were then monitored for six months to analyze how the microbial flora in their gut recovered.
The initial results were somewhat positive, with most bacterial species reappearing after around one and half months, but not everything returned to normal. At the six-month point the researchers discovered that nine common species of bacteria had still not reappeared in most of the subjects. No conclusions have been made by the researchers to link the missing gut bacteria to specific health effects, but Oluf Pedersen, lead on the study, does suggest recurrent antibiotic use may confer permanent gut bacteria alterations over a person’s lifetime.
The new study was published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
Stop Cleaning So Much
Our hatred of bacteria is big business. Were offered a never-ending supply of antibacterial cleaning substances to drench ourselves and our houses in. While its not sensible to eat your dinner off your dirty kitchen floor, its not necessary to disinfect your hands or your work surface every five minutes either.
Get Some Exercise But Not Too Much
The science on this has really sped up over the last decade. We now know that exercise has a direct effect on our gut bacteria, who in turn improve our tissue metabolism, cardiorespiratory fitness, and insulin resistance . However, our bodies perceive too much heavy exercise as a threat, which invokes the stress response, thus reducing our gut flora diversity .
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Current Diet Assessment Practices And Their Limitations In Diet
The advent and increasing availability and affordability of sequencing technology has resulted in an explosion of diet-microbiome literature. This is easily illustrated with a PubMed search of âdietâand âmicrobiome.â In 2009 there were 100 papers published and in 2019 there were 2,204 papers published that were identified using these search terms. As of January 2020, there are 9,544 papers that are returned on PubMed using these terms, and of those over half were published in the last 3 years. This increase in publications has been accompanied by a growing awareness of the limitations we face while attempting to measure and analyze the highly complex interactions between microbes, dietary exposures, and host phenotypes.
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One Man’s Battle With Anorexia
Our microbiomes dictate more about our bodies and our lives than we may like to admit. The influences range from the obvious, such as intestinal health, to the surprising, such as our moods. When microbiome-augmentation coincided with Joness child going from nearly non-verbal to conversational, it hinted at the astounding authority microbes can wield over human wellness.
The science is anything but settled, though. After years of connecting the dots between microbes and human health, scientists have begun using microbes for medicinebut is it precise enough, and at what cost? And can we use that knowledge to alter our own microbiomes for the better, even if we arent sick?
It wasnt up until the late 1990s that microbial ecologists turned their attention to people and unearthed a microbial symphony within.
Research efforts accelerated in 2008 when technology developed by the Human Genome Project made it easier to identify microbes by rapidly sequencing their genetic material. The diversity those tests revealed was startling: Scientists now estimate that roughly 1,000 distinct microbe species have evolved specifically for living in the human body, and a healthy persons microbiome contains combinations of hundreds of different speciesmaking your microbiome unique like your fingerprint.
Still, a general trend has stood outhealthy people harbor more diversity in their guts.
One option for enhancing your health via the microbiome is adjusting your diet.
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Find Out If You Have Any Infections Or Imbalances And Address Them
There are many types of worms, parasites and single-celled pathogens that can infect our guts. Sometimes they cause no symptoms, but other times they can cause no end of trouble. For instance, a protozoa called Giardia has been found to have a dramatic effect on our gut flora . You can find out more about parasitic infection here.
SIBO is an overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine , which can affect the balance of bacteria in your large intestine. If you suspect you have SIBO, you can read more about the symptoms, testing and treatment here.
How Do You Repopulate The Gut With Good Bacteria
The best way to repopulate your gut with good bacteria is to feed the ones that are there already.
We all have somewhere around 1000 types of bacteria in our guts, making up a community of about 100 trillion microbes. The more types of bacteria you have down there, the lower your risk of disease and allergies. We know this from many animal tests and human studies comparing the microbes of people with and without particular diseases.
Recent examples include:
Modern life does a number on your gut bacteria. Scientists who have lived and worked with traditional hunter gatherer cultures around the world and tested their microbiomes have found that they have a far higher diversity of bacteria than people in developed countries.
The Hadza people of Tanzania have a gut microbiome diversity about 40 per cent higher than the average American and about 30 per cent higher than the average Brit .
While probiotics can certainly play a role in restoring a dwindling microbiome, the latest research tells us that their long-term effects are minimal if we dont eat the right diet to keep them alive. Find out more about probiotics on our blog How long does it take for probiotics to start working?
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What To Eat Today
Ditch the Western diet
A diet thats high in animal protein, sugar, and fat, and low in fiber like the diets full of processed foods that are popular in the United States have been shown to , especially of beneficial Bifidobacterium and Eubacterium species.
The Western diet has also been linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and even certain cancers.
A recent review found that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains with a lower intake of red meat, processed foods and meats, and dairy increased the amount of total bacteria in the gut and supported beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. So why not try the Mediterranean diet, which follows these recommendations?
Stick to one glass of red wine or dark chocolate
Other types of alcohol
found that when people stopped smoking, they had more microbial diversity in their gut. To be on the safe side, halt vaping activities too.
Go for a 30-minute run or workout
Add gut health to the list of reasons you should hit the gym. While the gut-exercise connection isnt yet clear, many researchers believe that exercise reduces stress hormones, which affect the microbes in your gut.
Ways To Optimize Your Gut Bacteria For Optimal Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight, most diets focus on calorie reduction and exercise. While eating less and exercising more will usually result in weight-loss, Dr. Kellman says that if you get your microbiome healthy, you will lose weight. Its all about correcting the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria, which is making you crave the wrong foods and triggering inflammation. This makes sense because when you change your gut bacteria, you change how your body produces and metabolizes energy.
This also explains why so many people lose weight only to gain it right back because the bad bacteria are still present in your gut. The bad bacteria remember when you were fat, and they want to continue to live, so they trigger cravings for the foods that feed them.
In addition to the steps I outline above, here are 15 more ways to set up your gut for weight loss:
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How Long Does It Take To Improve Gut Health
So if you begin on what many refer to as a gut healing journey, how soon can you expect results? Some studies, mostly on animals but also a few on humans, show that you can see differences within a couple of days. However, if the new healthy habits are ceased, then the microbiome reverts back to its original composition.
Another thing to consider here is that microbes can be opportunistic whereby they can stay dormant and when the right environment is presented , they thrive. A good example to explain this is re-bound weight gain.
So imagine me as the body size I am now , I have a particular composition of gut bacteria that is reflective of that size. Then picture me if I had an extra 20kg on my body, I would have a different composition of gut bacteria that was reflective of me at that larger size. Now if the overweight me, did an 8 week challenge and lost a heap of weight, my bacteria composition would start to shift to be more reflective of a lean body shape. However, the bacteria doesnt just die off that quickly, so in the meantime it can sit there dormant. Now that dormant bacteria likely thrived off refined and junk food that was the culprit of the extra body weight in the first place, so if after my 8 week challenge I go back to eating those foods, the bacteria are still there just waiting patiently until they can thrive on it again and hence the weight can be put back on, and very likely even more weight, which is what we refer to as re-bound weight gain.
Collecting Multiple Days Of Dietary History Prior To Each Microbiome Sample
For observational studies where dietary intake is considered as a confounder for the microbiome outcome of interest, the decision to collect dietary data is driven by different factors than when dietary intake is the exposure of interest. We do not think that all microbiome studies need to collect dietary data. In many well-designed microbiome studies it may not be necessary to collect dietary data and the decision to collect dietary data should be weighed carefully with the researchers hypotheses and planned analyses. In observational studies where diet will be a clear confounder that cannot be controlled for through other study design parameters, investigators should collect detailed information about diet.
Ban Added Sugar From Your Life
Added sugar is like rocket fuel for your microbiome. That sounds like a good thing, but unfortunately it appears to encourage specific families of bacteria to take over, crowd others out and tip a balanced gut into dysbiosis. In one study, mice fed high-sugar diets lost gut microbial diversity, and developed leakier guts: the tight junctions in their gut walls actually opened wider due to inflammation caused by high sugar intake .
When To Wake Up
Let your body wake up naturally
Sleeping in line with your bodys natural circadian rhythm is important for good sleep and a healthy gut.
The gut microbiota has a circadian rhythm like we do, said Azcárate-Peril. Our gut microbiota will fluctuate in terms of composition and abundance based on our rhythm of when we eat and sleep. If that circadian rhythm is disrupted, we are going to have issues. We dont want to interrupt that cycle.
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How Long Does It Take To Restore Gut Bacteria After Leaky Gut
How long it takes for your leaky gut to get better depends on a few factors. Its worth saying here that while we know that leaky gutor intestinal permeability, as scientists call itdefinitely exists, and is a potential cause of many diseases , it hasnt been researched very much as a condition in itself.
So while we cant give you a timescale, we know from experience that people tend to feel better faster if they follow these suggestions:
- Eat a whole-food, fibre-rich diet
Who Needs Probiotic Supplements
For healthy people, over-the-counter supplements may not be worth the cost, experts say.
âBuying probiotic supplements is not necessary for most healthy people, and can be expensive,â says Mark Swain, MD, of the Immunology and Gastrointestinal Research Group at the University of Calgary in Canada.
Experts also point out that probiotics, like other supplements, are not regulated by the FDA.
Not much is known about the safety of commercial probiotics, and there have been no long-term studies. So far, they show few side effects — usually gas.
But because they contain live bacteria, they can cause dangerous infections in people with weakened immune systems, chemotherapy and organ transplant patients, as well as those who have had much of their gastrointestinal tract removed.
Purna C. Kashyap, MD, a gastroenterologist and researcher at the Mayo Clinicâs Center for Individualized Medicine, says he wonât prescribe probiotic supplements to his patients with digestive complaints.
âI canât tell people to go out and spend money on probiotics without actually having the clinical data to back it up,â he says. âBut if they are already taking them and perceive benefits I tell them itâs fine.â
Kashyap says there are plenty of good probiotic foods like yogurt, kombucha, and the pickled Korean dish kimchi that provide the same benefits.
Jack Gilbert, MD, faculty director at the Microbiome Center at the University of Chicago, says more testing is needed.
What Is The Microbiome
The microbiome is made up of many trillions of bacteria living in and on your body. Everyone has a unique microbiome. Your geography, health status, stress level, age, gender and everything you eat can affect the composition of your microbiome and the types of bacteria found in your body.
While some bacteria are harmful and can lead to infection, the bacteria found in your microbiome are crucial for regulating key bodily functions. These helpful bacteria can be found in your mouth, lungs, nasal passages, skin and brain, but your large intestine contains the highest concentration, with more than 100 trillion microbes calling your gut home.
Until recently, researchers were aware of the microbiome but didnt fully understand the role it plays in regulating aspects of our health. Now we know our diets have a large impact on the types and abundance of bacteria found in the gut. By changing the foods you eat, you can influence your microbiomes balance.
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Your Diet Changes Your Microbiome Fast
Whether youre a lover of dairy and meats or swear by a vegan diet, new research suggests that your gut microbiome changes rapidly in response to your meal choices.
A new study by microbiologist and professor Lawrence David of the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy sought to discover the answer to the question: what exactly is the relationship between the food that we eat and our gut bacteria?
Although weve always known that our health changes based on the food we eat, Davids study proves that when we consume certain foods, our microbiome changes incredibly quickly – beginning just hours after a meal.1
The near immediate effect of diet on the microbes in our body is an important finding in the scientific community. Up until now, many scientists assumed it could take months or even years to shift microbial composition, but now we’re learning that significant changes can occur within just a 24-hour period!
This expedient shift in the microbiome is exciting news as we learn about the indispensable role that our microbes play in almost every aspect of our health and wellness.
How exactly does our food interact with our microbes?
Davids study involved observing the apparent changes in microbiota that fluctuated based on the type of diet consumed by the study group.
The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet
How Probiotics Can Help Keep You Feeling Great
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Ditch The Standard Western Diet
The evidence for the devastating effect of a processed, high-sugar, low-fibre modern diet on our health continues to mount up. A recent study described our 21st-century diets as an evolutionarily unique selection ground for microbes that can promote diverse forms of inflammatory disease . This means that the bad bacteria in our guts appear to love our deficient diets, while the all-important good ones arent so keen.
Your Genes Dont Matter But Your Gut Microbiomes Genes Do
As a society, we have been quick to place the blame for everything from our weight to our moods on our genes. We say things like She can drink wine and eat chocolate every day and not gain weight because she is French. The truth is human beings all have similar DNA. So why is it that some people are healthy when they consume chocolate every day while others maintain a strict Paleo diet and struggle with digestive symptoms or worse? Its because, unlike our genes, our microbiomes genes are vastly different.
The good news is that you can change your gut microbiome. You see, the average lifespan of a bacterium in your microbiome is 20 minutes! So, you have the opportunity every time you eat to begin to change the population of your gut microbiome. This is good news because it means that rather than having to subscribe to theories such as the Paleo diet, which assumes our genes evolve so slowly that we all need to eat like cavemen, we can begin to change our gut microbiome one meal at a time and even achieve a healthy gut very quickly.
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