Antibiotics were one of the great discoveries of the 20th century, but the latest research confirms that taking them does come with a significant cost. Besides the well-known side effects associated with antibiotics (digestive problems, diarrhea, etc.), they may also have a detrimental long-term effect on your immune system.
This is why you should always make sure that your doctor is prescribing antibiotics for a good reason. Are they really necessary? Taking antibiotics can lead to a weakened immune system and Candida overgrowth. Sometimes, a period of rest and a healthy diet will work just as well.
The problem is that many antibiotics are broad acting, meaning that they will kill off many of the bacteria in your body. You might think that this sounds like a good thing, but in truth many of those bacteria are vital to your long term health.
While antibiotics will certainly kill various pathogens and disease-causing bacteria, they will also destroy the ‘good bacteria’ in your gut that form an indispensable part of your immune system. These bacteria, known as the microbiome, form one of your first lines of defense against disease. When antibiotics change the composition of your gut flora, you lose an important part of your immunity. You should try to keep them if you can!
Antibiotics kill the very microorganisms that are preventing a Candida overgrowth. Ordinarily, Candida albicans has to fight with other bacteria for space and nutrients in your gut. When you destroy those other bacteria, the Candida yeast cells have all the nutrients they need to multiply and expand their colonies quickly. Indeed, antibiotics are probably the most common cause of a Candida overgrowth.
So remember to ask your doctor whether that prescription of antibiotics is really necessary. Often a period of rest at home and some vitamin C will help you to recover just as fast, without taking a wrecking ball to your immune system. The long term benefits are more than worth it.
There are some natural alternatives to prescription antibiotics too. Oregano oil has shown a lot of promise in trials on animals, and at least one laboratory study has shown it to be as effective as regular antibiotics.
However, sometimes you or your child really do have to take antibiotics (for example as a result of serious illness or surgery), and there is a way that you can reduce the effect that they have on your gut flora. A 2012 analysis showed that taking probiotics during a course of antibiotics significantly reduces the side effects.
In other words, if your antibiotics are causing digestive problems or diarrhea, a course of good probiotics can reduce those symptoms. Why is this? The probiotics actively replenish your gut flora even as the antibiotics are destroying it. By doing this they maintain the balance in your gut and allow those ‘good bacteria’ to perform their usual functions, like digesting food for example.
Once you have completed your course of antibiotics, continue to take probiotics for as long as possible. In our Ultimate Candida Diet treatment program, Dr. Eric Wood and I describe in detail five different criteria for choosing a good probiotic. You might be surprised to learn that some of the most popular probiotics used for treating Candida are actually not suitable at all!