Taking Chronic Medications Damages Your Gut Health
The community of microbes living in your gut is collectively known as the gut microbiome. They are affected by many substances you place in your mouth like the food you eat, the things you drink and the prescription medications you take on a daily basis. A new study has found that many common drugs, including medicines that treat diabetes, infections, and even mental health could actually affect and damage the balance of your gut microbiome. Let’s have a look at what medications affect the gut and how to achieve real gut health…
MEDICATIONS THAT DAMAGE YOUR GUT HEALTH
Antibiotic use can have several negative effects on the gut microbiota, including reduced species diversity, altered metabolic activity, and the selection of antibiotic-resistant organisms, which in turn can lead to antibiotic-associated diarrhea and recurrent colon infections.
Antibiotics are designed to kill pathogenic bacteria and other organisms but consequently, kill the good bugs as well. Antibiotics affect balance and composition of the gut microbiome, even after one stops taking antibiotics, that’s why it is important that you are supporting your microbiome during and many months after the use of antibiotics to restore diversity and function.
Serotonin and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac can have a major effect on gut bacteria. SSRIs are associated with increased levels of Eubacterium ramulus - a potentially harmful gut bacterium and decreased levels of the bacterial strains such as Christensenella - a keystone and highly beneficial gut bacteria. This shows that antidepressants affect the composition and richness of the gut microbiota. A chronic disruption in the composition of your gut bacteria causes digestive issues, like bloating, pain, constipation or diarrhea and even more serious, chronic issues like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Common Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen - to name a few - are known to have serious adverse effects, including severe gastrointestinal damage. Opioid (narcotic) pain medications are also known to tighten up the digestive tract muscles while they are at rest. This has the effect of making the muscle less efficient at pushing and moving the gut contents through the digestive process, or on the flip side, reducing the flow of digestive fluids into the gut and speeding up their removal from the gut. Other pain medications like corticosteroids reduce inflammation but also promote the growth of yeasts like candida leading to dysbiosis.
The use of birth control or other oral estrogen may alter gut permeability and certain immune inflammatory responses by altering the gut microbiome and impacting gut flora in negative ways. You might experience bloating or gas and despite efforts to eliminate foods like dairy or gluten. Acne can also get worse even though everyone said it would get better once you start taking the pill. These are all signs that birth control throws your gut out of whack. Gas and bloating, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, acne and more can all be signs of a microbial imbalance in the digestive tract.
Blood Pressure Medications
Can blood pressure medicine cause Celiac Disease? The simple answer is, yes. People suffering with hypertension (high blood pressure) already have a reduction in the diversity of their gut bacteria. On top of that, commonly prescribed blood pressure medications can cause gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and electrolyte abnormalities - these are common symptoms amongst those with Celiac Disease, which is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that can damage your small intestine.
HOW TO HEAL YOUR GUT MICROBIOME
Stop Taking Antacids
Antacids don’t destroy your microbiome, but they do decrease your stomach acid which allows the ‘bad’ bacteria to flourish. Your stomach acid is designed to help you break down the food you eat, and also keep the bacteria in your gut balanced. Antacids, especially when used long term, prevent both of these functions from occurring and what you end up with is poorly digested food with an overgrowth of bad bacteria.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating for your gut is one important way to promote digestive health and prevent symptoms. Making better food choices involves eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. These foods provide the fiber needed to build good bacteria and guard gut health. Different bacteria species feed off of different nutrients and so eating a variety of foods will allow multiple species to get what they need from your diet.
Avoid Certain Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners can potentially turn healthy bacteria in the gut microbiome into harmful microbes. They can also cause an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, it can potentially worsen or bring about symptoms in those who live with IBD, IBS, or any sort of gut dysbiosis or digestive issues. When there are alterations in the microbiome, you may also have more of an inflammatory potential.
Avoid High Sugar Containing Foods
Sugar is a food source for all microorganisms and the introduction of excessive amounts into your diet, not only heavily effects your body in multiple different ways (including disrupted sleep patterns, mood swings, fluctuating energy levels and fatigue, weigh gain, etc...). An excessive amount of sugar in your diet creates a feeding ground for all types of microbes in your body which allows for the proliferation (growth) of bad bacteria.
Probiotics are a key approach to healing damage done to the gut. They help rebalance your gut flora, restore your intestinal wall, and decrease intestinal inflammation. These healthy bacteria can work in just a few weeks to give relief for gut dysbiosis symptoms like abdominal pain, brain fog, and stool changes. If you are taking a high quality, multispecies and multistrain supplement, you can expect to notice improvements and health benefits of probiotics in your digestion in as little as a few days!
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It is crucial to understand which are the consequences of medication use in the gut microbiome. We are starting to realise, more and more, that imbalances in your gut can be the root cause of major dis-ease in the body. It’s never too late to give your gut what it needs. Shop The Olio Store’s Probiotics today!