Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Antibiotics are a type of medication used to treat bacterial infections. They work by stopping the infection or preventing it from spreading. Certain natural substances have antibacterial properties, too.
Scientists have long known that overuse of antibiotics can do more harm than good. Of course, antibiotics are still needed for life threatening infections. However, needless overuse of antibiotics is not helpful.
Results From Overuse
Taking antibiotics for colds and other viral illnesses not only won't work - but also have dangerous side effects:
It Can Teach Good Bacteria To Go Bad
The overuse of antibiotics can lead to bacteria developing resistance to a drug by either learning to protect itself from the drug, or neutralizing the drug. As a result, drugs that are used as a treatment for bacterial infections are now less effective or won't work at all!
It Can Wipe Out The Body’s Good Bacteria
Your intestines contain around 100 trillion bacteria of various strains.. Good bacteria in the gut, known as gut flora, helps people in many ways - including helping make vitamins, boosting immunity and supporting proper digestion. Aggressive antibiotics can wipe out many good gut bacteria from your body.
It Can Cause Fatal Diarrhea In Children
Because the majority of common colds are viral, overusing antibiotics to treat them can be harmful, especially for children. Children who are given antibiotics for such infections are more vulnerable to aggressive antibiotic-resistant strains of a bacteria that can cause severe diarrhea. This is responsible for 250,000 infections in hospitalized patients, and 14,000 deaths every year among children and adults.
How They Affect Our Liver
Certain antibiotics (such as isoniazid, nitrofurantoin, and augmentin) can cause damage to the liver. However, if you take your antibiotics as prescribed and avoid overuse, your liver should be fine.
What To Eat During And After Your Antibiotics Course
Probiotics can be taken during and after a course of antibiotics in order to restore some of the healthy bacteria in the intestines that may have been killed. However, since probiotics are usually bacteria themselves, it is important to take antibiotics and probiotics a few hours apart.
Certain fermented foods can help restore the gut microbiota after damage caused by antibiotics. Fermented foods are produced by microbes and include:
Fiber can’t be digested by your body, but it can be digested by your gut bacteria, which helps stimulate their growth. As a result, fiber may help restore healthy gut bacteria after a course of antibiotics.
High-fiber foods include:
Whole grains (porridge, whole grain bread, brown rice)