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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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November 17 2011

The Problems with Antibiotics: They Kill the Good Guys and Make You Fat

By Mark Sisson
122 Comments

Whenever I think about antibiotics, I stymie my inner Star Wars fan and admit that it’s a good thing the Force isn’t real and Art Ayers is not actually a wizened microbiologist version of Ben Kenobi. Otherwise, he’d be internally wincing every few seconds as another round of antibiotics commences somewhere in the world and a few billion flora cry out in terror and are suddenly silenced, never to be heard from again.

I jest, sort of, but this much is true: every time you take antibiotics, billions of domesticated gut flora die. As I mentioned last week, antibiotics are designed not to target human cells, but the same cannot be said for the commensal bacteria living in our guts. See, most antibiotics don’t discriminate between “good” and “bad” bacteria. They target bacteria. They aren’t us, they are foreign entities, but we wouldn’t be us without them. We need them to function properly. It’s a bit like bringing in an exterminator to kill the bugs infesting your house, and the guy ends up killing your dog and making your cat act funny, along with killing the insects. The job is done, and he technically did what you requested, but now you have to tell your kid that Buddy moved to a farm upstate to go be a sheepdog and figure out how to deal with your cat peeing on the sofa and scratching up your stomach (leaky gut, get it?). Not very fun, and not what you bargained for.

The results of a 2010 study on the lasting effects of antibiotics on one’s gut flora are rather scary. Over a 10 month period, three individuals – humans – each went on two courses of ciprofloxacin, an extremely commonly prescribed antibiotic often used to treat bone and joint infections, respiratory tract infections, gastroenteritis, endocarditis, urinary tract infections, cellulitis, infectious diarrhea, anthrax infection, typhoid fever, and skin infections to name more than a few. In other words, it’s regarded as a trusty all-purpose antibiotic, effective across all species (vets often prescribe cipro). So, what happened to the patients’ gut flora populations after taking cipro?

Three to four days into the treatment schedule, gut diversity was lost and composition was altered. What flora remained became more homogenized, and the various ratios of the more than 400 species of bacteria that live in the gut became lopsided. One week after the conclusion of each treatment, gut flora had recovered, but only slightly. It was a shade of its former self. Diversity improved, but not to original levels. Composition began to normalize, but it was incomplete. Things were stable and the diversity/composition protected from further change, but the state of flora being protected was not the same pre-cipro state.

The authors admit that these are uncharted waters. They don’t know, nor do they pretend to know, the lasting effects of hosting an altered microbiome. They don’t use the words “good” or “bad” to describe bacteria. They just know that it’s altered, and – as much as a ten month trial can tell us – perhaps for good.

I dunno – I have an inkling of an idea that maybe, just maybe, forever altering our gut flora isn’t such a hot idea. I think the researchers would agree, but they can’t say anything without knowing for sure, of course. But my inkling isn’t exactly unfounded. We do have some evidence that altered gut flora are associated with weight gain. We even have evidence that antibiotics cause weight gain. Let’s take a closer look.

Foremost, of course, is the widespread usage of antibiotics to “increase the growth” of livestock. I use quotes because what they’re really doing is making the livestock fat by disrupting the microbiome of their guts. One study even determined that eliminating routine administration of antibiotics to livestock for the purposes of increasing weight gain wouldn’t affect dietary protein availability in developing nations. My guess as to why? Antibiotics are increasing body fat accumulation on these animals, rather than purely inducing sheer hypertrophy of muscle meat – unless you know of any bodybuilders who cycle penicillin and cipro – and the resulting weight gain is coming more from fat than protein.

Other animals offer more avenues of understanding the obesity-promoting effects of altered gut flora. Like, say, mice:

A team of researchers transplanted gut bacteria from obese mice into lean mice. The lean mice enjoyed a 60% increase in body fat and a rapid, 14-day descent into insulin resistance following the gut flora alteration.

In a later study, members of that same team induced obesity in mice through diet. As they fattened, a specific type of Firmicutes bacteria bloomed – it began to overgrow in the gut. Transplanting this Firmicute into lean mice made the lean mice fat. Lean mice who received transplants from lean donors did not get fat.

Oh, and there’s also some cool evidence in humans. Those same researchers who showed that lean mice have different gut flora than fat mice and that transferring fat mice flora to lean mice made the lean mice fat studied whether this was true in humans. It is. Just like the mice, lean human guts contain more flora from the bacterial phylum of Bacteroidetes and less from the Firmicutes phylum, whereas obese human guts contain flora more heavily weighted toward Firmicutes. Furthermore, both mice and humans with “obese” gut flora (high in Firmicutes) derive more energy from food and have an increased ability to “harvest energy.”

Okay. So it seems pretty clear that gut bacteria plays a role in obesity, and there’s strong evidence that it’s a causal role. But the studies up until now have only shown that altering gut bacteria by adding flora from obese animals to the guts of lean animals makes them gain weight. The question, then, becomes whether altering gut flora via antibiotic usage can have similar effects on weight.

One Martin Blaser, an NYU microbiome researcher, believes he has the answer. Citing the 2010 study mentioned earlier and another that he authored himself, he speculates that not only does antibiotic usage permanently change our gut flora, it also promotes obesity. Blaser examined the effect of antibiotics on Helicobacter pylori, a common member of the human gut biome. While there’s evidence that H. pylori increases the risk for ulcers and gastric cancer, making it a popular target for physicians (even in asymptomatic patients) wielding a hammer made of antibiotics, it’s also been living in human guts for at least 58,000 years. You might imagine that casually flouting such an extended co-history together could have some unintended consequences. You’d be right.

Blaser used US veterans who were scheduled for upper GI endoscopies (close examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract). Of the 92 vets, 38 had no H. pylori, 44 tested positive for H. pylori, and 10 were indeterminate. 23 of the H. pylori positive were given antibiotics, and all but two had total eradication of H. pylori. So, what happened to the 21 subjects who were initially replete in H. pylori but who eradicated them through antibiotics?

They gained the most weight. Their BMIs increased by 5%, give or take 2%. The other vets had no weight change.

Leptin levels increased by 20%.

Postprandial ghrelin increased sixfold.

The ghrelin increase is the most interesting effect to me. It does a number of things, the foremost of which is to increase hunger. High levels also increase abdominal fat. So, after taking antibiotics and losing all their H. pylori, patients weren’t as satisfied after meals, they gained more weight, and the weight they gained was likely concentrated in the abdomen. Bad stuff all around. I’ve written about the dangers of belly fat before; it’s not just a matter of LGN.

Man, antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock really make sense when you put it all together. They give you all sorts of awesome stuff:

More efficient conversion of feed into energy. Lower food costs.

Higher ghrelin levels that promote greater accumulation of visceral fat. More marbling.

Now I’m kinda wishing that Art Ayers actually was a Jedi master and he could use Force Debugging to remove specific strains of bacteria from the gut (Force Choke wouldn’t work because most gut flora are anaerobes and thus don’t require oxygen; also, they have no necks).

More problems next week, plus some solutions. Thanks for reading.

TAGS:  prevention

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122 thoughts on “The Problems with Antibiotics: They Kill the Good Guys and Make You Fat”

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  1. Antibiotics clearly have a dark side (more star wars there…). To be honest though, I don’t know what I would have done last winter when I got strep throat without them. I was almost completely immobilized and hallucinogenic, and it just got worse for 3 days until I started the antibiotics. Within 2 days I was fine. Finished the 10 day treatment, took a bunch of probiotics (and ate yogurt), and I’ve been fine ever since. Hmmm…..

    1. Sometimes antibiotics are the only tool for the job. They still do save lives. Over use is the problem. I personally think that a course of probiotics should be prescribed with a course of antibiotics.

      1. And the probiotic course should probably be much longer (ending a week or more after the antibiotics do) to elbow out the uglies that tend to crowd in in the absence of the good commensals.

      2. Absolutely – the amount of antibiotics prescribed to patients with viral infections (against which antibiotics are useless) is appalling. Instead of unnecessarily sacrificing healthy gut flora, what if they prescribed probiotics to heal the gut to increase health instead?

        1. Someone else mentioned it down thread, but I can’t reply there. I can’t believe how prescription happy dermatologists are! I’ve seen two in the last 10 years, and both were very quick to give me pills.

          I took one for a few years… yes… years… with no results. Tried another from another derm, along with medicated soap, that dried my skin out. I got off of that one much quicker.

          NONE of them asked about my diet. I had expected them to test me for allergies, ask about what I ate. They only spent five seconds looking at my skin before they pulled out the scrip pad.

      3. I think that’d probably be a waste of money. Every time you took the antibiotic you’d kill the probiotic you took that day. Wait till the abt course if complete then take the probiotices for a good six weeks on an empty stomach every morning and night. Drink real kefir (not the grocery store syrup with same name). Eat kimchi and sauerkraut,yogurt, etc…

      4. I totally agree. I hate when people go about bashing antibiotics and complain but if needed to save their lives, they will happily grab millions and shove them down their throats. It’s a simple matter of using probiotics after using antibiotics. Just encourage persons to do that instead of making antibiotics out to be monsters when they very often save lives on the contrary.

      5. In Europe they do that — prescribe probiotics w/ antibiotics I mean.

    2. In your case, and in millions of others, antibiotics have there place.

      But, MOST of the time, maybe 80% or more, they have absolutely not place.

      Accutane, minocycline and tetracycline are all used to try and “cure” acne. It’s all bullsh!#. I know because I had severe acne for 6 years. Going primal gave me clear skin.

      1. Seriously, derms need to stop prescribing antibiotics to treat acne. Acne is ugly, but it’s not dangerous – no one needs to go as far as taking antibiotics for it.

        Acne was especially uncomfortable for me because of my dermatitis, so it would itch like hell too. Yes, I used to take antibiotics for it – not only did it do diddly squat, but I actually felt my health deteriorating. Nothing helped more than switching to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle 🙂

        1. In extreme cases, acne can be dangerous. When I was about 20 I had severe acne, which I ignored until it got painful from the pressure it transmitted to inflamed regions whenever I opened and closed my mouth, or even moved it a little. I then sought treatment; that involved antibiotics, mostly to head off any secondary opportunistic infections that were aggravating the underlying condition and diverting my body’s natural defences from healing the acne proper. I gather that, if I had not sought treatment, there was a chance that some of the acne could have opened up into facial ulcers that would have had trouble healing from the continual movement of my mouth and from any further secondary opportunistic infections – which would have been genuinely dangerous (think possible sepsis).

          Incidentally, the thinking behind treating viral infections with antibiotics is partly to prevent – head off in advance – secondary opportunistic infections and partly in case there is an unrelated chronic, low level bacterial infection which is tying up the natural defences, i.e. to free those up to fight the virus. One official theory behind giving antibiotics to cattle isn’t to give them bacteria that are directly more fattening, but the idea that their “natural” bacteria are giving them a chronic, low level bacterial infection that shows up as a drain on their energy resources and so cuts down on their weight gain. That would still affect fat rather than protein if they were not burdened very much, as their bodies wouldn’t have to compromise on gaining protein – but that’s what “low level” means.

        2. You have never had 17 painful and bleeding welts from the infection an adult gets called rosacea. This is NOT ACNE. Calling everything acne in relation to antibiotic use just betrays complete cluelessness on this issue.

          I have a ZERO inflammation lifestyle, and still get dozens of enormous welts an scars without doxycycline. Topicals and diet do not work. The sores bleed and are painful and deep. They are NOT clogged oil glands, they are infections. Preaching that it is something you are doing, just increases the stigma for people who suffer from rosacea….

          Thank god we have antibiotics for this.

      2. Going primal certainly is not going to save you from sepsis or severe pneumonia. In many instances they have their place. In fact more than 20 % of the time they have their place.

    3. I agree. I got a UTI a month ago and holy cow, so glad the cipro made that pain go away! Living with it was not an option. I only had a 2.5 day course of antibiotics and followed with lots of yogurt, etc when I was done. While I understand the point of articles like this, I worry that the more extreme among us will use it as reason to shun antibiotics completely. Sometimes they are life-saving, literally. They just need to be used judiciously in humans and animals both, for real bacteria-related illnesses.

    4. For treating strep throat take a look at the benefits of 2.5pH Kangen water. To learn more go to http://www.kangendemo.com. 2.5pH Kangen water will kill strep without altering the bacterial balance in your gut.

    5. In case anyone else comes across this like I did: this post is out of date and its actually been determined that antibiotics can help people LOSE weight too. I have NEVER gained weight on antibiotics and I was on them for years for my acne. When I finally quit taking them my heinous acne came back but I got put on accutane. i decided to take probiotics as a precaution. What do you know? Soon as I started those stupid probiotics (under the direction of stupid internet gurus like this) I gained like 10lbs in a month and continued to gain until I finally realized it was them and quit taking them. Unbelievable, considering that over those three months i watched what I ate really closely (even made a food log) and i was exercising everyday–yet I continued to grow an enormous gut! I can only assume all that “healthy” bacteria was sucking every last calorie out of everything I ate. It works both ways people: just like antibiotics you are altering your gut flora with probiotics and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

  2. Mark,

    This was my exact takeaway message from the Weston A. Price conference this past weekend in Dallas (Specifically the all day talk about the GAPS diet).

    The main idea was to use something like GAPS or the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or maybe even a restrictive version of primal or paleo for a short period of time to let the gut and gut flora heal from all the damage that has been done via antibiotics.

  3. The US FDA released an estimate on the amount of antibiotics given to farm animals in the United States. The grand total is over 29 MILLION pounds in 2009!

    That means FAR more antibiotics are used for farm animals (mostly cattle) than for humans.

    And they wonder why we have antibiotic resistant bacteria…

    I went grassfed about three years ago. I’ll never go back to store bought CAFO.

  4. Cipro and the family of quinolones is particularly problematic. A single dose taken by a friend resulted in an inability to walk for several months. Another friend had ruptured achilles tendons. And a friend’s mother had severe crippling effects. I’m thankful for antibiotics in the past when nothing else seemed to kick an illness, but I’m definitely wary of medications in general.

    1. Interesting side note: I haven’t needed meds since I changed my eating habits to a paleo/primal style. I even eliminated a former daily medication.

  5. If you transplant gut bacteria from lean mice to obese mice do they lose weight?

    1. That’s what I wanted to know too. Why the hell wouldn’t they do both? They already had the experiment set up!

      1. Yes, I think that’s in the same study. I’ve definitely read a review of that article somewhere – Hyperlipid, maybe? Check the link, it might be in the abstract.

  6. Great post Mark! I want to preface all of this by saying I’m a PhD level microbiologist and have read all of these papers rather recently just because I’m a true super microbiology nerd. I just have a few comments.

    Commensals are a really hot topic now in microbiology which is good. As microbiologists we’re just starting to spend more time studying bacteria in a more “natural environment”, i.e. not suspended in a mega nutrient rich broth in a totally homogeneous mixture. While studying them that way can be important, I think there’s much more to be gained as it relates to understanding their roles in both human health and disease. My specialty is antibiotic resistance and so on a daily basis I’m looking at the results of overusage of antibiotics not just in people, but in food animals (most people probably wouldn’t voluntarily want to play with bacteria resistant to almost everything, but I think its kinda cool).

    I think the most important distinction here is RESPONSIBLE usage of antibiotics. Getting Strep throat and taking your Cipro, while not the best for your gut flora is going to stop the S. pyogenes from causing your sore throat to get worse and causing some rather nasty secondary illnesses. I think its important to remember that like the authors emphasize, the gut microbiota are a dyamic community and the composition is always changing. That’s influenced by oh so many factors. What happens after those 10 months to a year though? That’s a big black box.

    All in all, I just think people should be responsible with their use. If you’re going to take them, be aware you’re going to change the composition of your gut flora, but I don’t think that should deter anyone from using them if they have a serious infection. I think more work needs to be done to outline which “changes” are good and which are bad. Intrinsically changing your gut flora might not be a bad thing. It just depends on which species are there to occupy a niche.

    Just my two cents. Thanks for posting this.

  7. The way this is written, it sounds as if people with ulcers should just live with the pain and stomach upset, because they might — god forbid — gain a few pounds. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t your intent.

    If I were the scientist, I would have extended that H. Pylori study. For example: Let’s take those 21 vets who took antibiotics and gained weight. Now put half on primal diet and keep the other half on SAD. Measure them every week or so. Do the gut flora recover? Does the leptin re-adjust? Do they lose the pounds?

    1. “Allow me to preface this post series with a wholehearted acknowledgment of the beneficial role antibiotics have played, and continue to play, in fighting infections that might otherwise take limbs or lives. Before formal antibiotics, ancient and traditional cultures employed antibacterial herbs, tinctures, and even moldy bread, but regardless of the various methods’ efficacies, they were largely operating in the dark. They knew what worked, but not why it worked. When we use antibiotics today, we (mostly) understand what they are doing on a micro level, and we aren’t (ideally) just relying on hearsay, anecdote, and experimentation. This is a good thing.”

      https://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-problems-with-antibiotics-antibiotic-resistance/

    2. I should have mentioned, too, that eradicating the H. pylori didn’t even improve their stomach pain symptoms:

      “At baseline, the 38 H. pylori-negative and 44 H. pylori-positive subjects did not differ significantly in median pain, non-pain, and satisfaction scores (data not shown). Among the 21 patients from whom H. pylori was eradicated, there were no significant differences between baseline and follow-up pain scores [Median (IQR) 9 (2-23) vs. 6 (2-15); p = 0.86], non-pain scores [13 (12-16) vs. 10 (10-18); p = 0.28], or satisfaction scores [13 (10-23) vs. 19 (12-20); p = 0.29].”

      So it made them gain weight without even solving the problem it was supposed to solve.

      1. I’m sorry Mark, I didn’t mean to anger you. I had forgotten about the original series preface.

        Pylori doesn’t cause pain, the resulting ulcer does. If the subjects had pylori and pain from ulcer, then antibiotics would have been effective. If the patients had pylori but the pain was caused by something else, the antibiotics will eradicate the pylori but won’t solve the pain. The doctors should have waited for a definitive ulcer diagnosis before handing out the pills.

        I’m looking forward to the next post in this series. I’ve had antis for everything from pulled wisdom teeth to infected bug bites, and I certainly hope my gut flora are not permanently altered.

      2. NPR’s On Point just did an episode on bacteria and probiotics and how important they are to our health.

        Great stuff in the episode, including 1) how important gut flora is to babies, 2)how the birth process is intricately involved in our gut flora and 3) h. pylori and how it’s not pure evil, it’s actually a vital component of our gut-flora and overall health, and without it you’re more likely to get fat.

        Here’s a link to the episode: http://onpoint.wbur.org/2012/06/20/bacteria-2

      3. I had H. Pylori – and suffered terrible heartburn, allergic reactions to wheat and weighed 300 lbs. Constant heart arrhythmiam daily and was red and sweaty. I took PrevPack for 2 weeks and certified that it was clear with an upper GI.

        The next month, ALL of this stopped. I lost 45 lbs immediately.

        Please do not cloud that research with third factor noise and agendas. I suffered unnecessarily for 19 years because of skeptics and noise.

        1. Thank you for this comment.

          I have an overwhelming amount of symptoms of h pylori which I didn’t realise until recently. I don’t like to feel like a hypochondriac and waste the taxpayers money in the nhs so I self tested for h pylori. It came out positive so I’m making a doctors appointment.

          From symptoms of reynauds disease, huge bloating stomach for the past ten or so years, really bad gerd (paleo low carb is about the only thing that keeps it under some control), intermittent symptoms of elevated cortisol and adrenal fatigue, I find it really hard to lose weight where I know others won’t.

          I’ve recently read all of these things can be related to h pylori, then tested positive and it’s like a big relief to realise I’m not imagining these symptoms.

          I was then doubting myself after reading this article, I don’t want to put more weight on! But if you had such a positive response to the antibiotic treatment then that’s very reassuring.

          Thank you

  8. Good post Mark. So what can we do to restore the diversity? Is a bacteria transplant done by a doctor the only option?

  9. Does taking pro & prebiotics during and after an antibiotics course preserve/restore gut flora?

    1. It’s supposed to help. From my experience, though, it’s not a cure-all. A couple of years ago, I was in a car accident, and ended up taking prophylactic antibiotics that were prescribed to prevent infections of my accident wounds. Terrible mistake! I have a degenerative neuromuscular condition (muscular dystrophy), and after 1 week of taking the antibiotics, I had lost about half of my strength. It was a very traumatic debilitation. Since then, I have tried to flood my system with pre- and probiotics, as well as drinking bone broth, but none of it has helped — my weakness resulting from the antibiotic use has remained permanent. I’m considering going on the GAPS or other restrictive and restorative diet, if there is a chance that a more aggressive protocol might help.

      1. Thank you for your answer, Karen, and I hope you get better! The Primal diet should help, plenty of protein & fat for muscular regeneration! So many people with stories of how it helped them overcome debilating illnesses. Don’t give up the bone broth, and eat marrow! You might also look into creatine/protein supplementation, as well as Co-Q 10 and hyaluronic acid, maybe collagen also? Good luck!

        1. Thanks, Milla! I do supplement with creatine & other amino acids, sometimes hydrolyzed protein, and take ubiquinol (potent version of Q10) on a daily basis. Thanks for your suggestions.

  10. So…. Let’s say that you were ill for a bit and had to be on antibiotics. What’s the best way to normalize your gut flora again?

    I’ve noted after having antibiotics that it takes me between a week and a month and a half to get back to the point where hot curry doesn’t tear up my stomach. I presumed this was due to bacterial death in my gut. However, since it does eventually seem to recover, is it possible that our regular gut flora can do so as well (or can be coerced into doing so)?

  11. When I was 18 (and before I became health-conscious), I began to get moderate acne and was put on low-dose antibiotics for over a year (which is horrifying to me now)! Not only did they not help AT ALL, but I soon developed really bad allergies for the first time in my life, with allergy tests showing that I had miraculously become allergic to almost every tree, shrub, and weed on the list, as well as multiple foods (corn, soy, peanuts, and lima beans… yeah, shocker).

    The allergist actually asked me if I’d ever tried living somewhere where it was frozen for most of the year! Even though my nose was chronically congested at this point, I refused to go on allergy meds. Instead of accepting that I was merely allergic to these things, I knew there had to be REASON that my body was reacting this way. Well, after some self-education, I determined that my damaged gut flora from all of that time on the antibiotics might be the root cause, so I really put my back into restoring the health of their population. I’m happy to report that at this time, all of my allergy symptoms are GONE! Even when everyone else is stuffed up by oak pollen, I’m breathing clearly… and this is after suffering severe inflammation of my nasal passages for almost 2 years.

    It still makes my stomach drop to wonder what irreversible damage I’ve done to my flora, even if everything seems back to normal.

    1. Elizabeth, I also was on low-dose antibiotics for over a year as a method to treat my acne.

      To be honest, it completely cleared up my skin… but it also really messed up my digestive system… which makes a lot of sense after reading this article.

      Since going off the meds (about 8 months ago) my acne has returned and I can tell all my non-Primal friends think I’m crazy. But a little acne is a lot less scary to me than all the internal damage this medicine is doing to us!

      1. Have you noticed a difference in your skin since going primal? I’ve been on birth control now for awhile that has seemed to clear it up… but I went on it before going primal. I’d like to get off of it because, as you said, it’s scary knowing that it’s having all of these other effects on my body. I’m hoping that eating clean and primal will be enough to help keep it off for the most part.

        1. I have been on antibiotics for my skin on several occasions, including just recently. And I also recently really committed to the Paleo/Primal diet (before I was half a$$ing it) and went off the antibiotics.
          1. The antibiotics didn’t really help my skin.
          2. I found the regimen at acne.org and it seems to be working WONDERS, following it very carefully. All topical, sounds crazy if you’ve ever tried benz. peroxide before but … try it. Don’t skimp on moisturizer!
          3. I feel so much better since stopping the meds and smoothing out my diet. Less hungry, less cravings, more energy, sleeping better.
          4. I can’t believe the DERMS just put people on these meds like they are candy as a cure-all for acne. It seems close to a crime.

        2. OCPs have effects on gut flora VERY similar to antibiotics (I think it was the Primal Parent who wrote about this not too long ago). I’m not sure why.

      2. My cream for the Rosacia has helped my son’s girlfriend with her acne a lot. It is a prescription medicine Metrogel 1%. She is better when eats gluten-free, but unfortunately can’t do it consistently.

  12. This just means we need to get research out there on the effects of the PB/Paleo diet on gut flora as well as general health, risk of heart disease etc.

    We just need to figure out a way to get the research funded.

  13. Sounds like the in diseased guts the anaerobic food chain is breaking down. Same thing happens happens when they feed cows Monensin (a Na+ decoupling agend), which preferentially inhibits metahnogens.
    Firmicutes (like Clostridia) are typically acetogenic and get a big boost in population when there are fewer methanogens eating up all their H2 & CO2 produced from secondary fermenters. Acetate is a short fat that we can absorb and digest – hence the higher energy yield from fermentable foods.
    Interestingly, Scanlan et al. already published a paper showing something similar in people with IBS, Crohn’s, etc. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2180/8/79

  14. Hmm, I just remembered the time I had strep throat when I was a kid. I wonder if I actually have gotten oral antibiotics – I always thought I have never had any internal antibiotics and was lucky that way, but now that I think about it – hmm. Thanks for the unspleasant discovery! None of the rest of my siblings have had oral antibiotics and they are all thin, dammit. Well, I am having really good results eating this way, so here’s hoping I can change my gut flora quite thoroughly!

    1. I’ve has asthma/allergies since I was 5. I would bet money that I was on who knows what antibiotics early on knowing my mother. And now, over 40 years later, still suffer the consequences although I have improved immensely after dropping 60 pounds and eating basically primal for 4 years (high fat/high protein/no/very low carbs/nothing processed). A month ago I was hospitalized for dehydration following a half marathon (we still don’t know why, it’s a long story) and they found a UTI that they even said was probably brought on by the dehydration and made me take anti-biotics even after I told them I would rather do it naturally (grapefruit juice, anyone?) because they cause weight gain but they wouldn’t listen. No I am taking pro-biotics (which I always did anyway) and hope 3 days hasn’t screwed up all the good I have done. BTW eating this way I am now off prescriptions for allergies (try butterbur, it’s wonderful) and only use my inhaler and generic zyrtec anymore. 🙂

      1. Just an FYI… Grapefruit juice, coffee and other acidic foods and drinks will actually make a UTI worse. Unsweetened cranberry juice can help but you’d have to drink large quantities. An active ingredient in cranberry is d-mannose, a type of sugar that is not absorbed by the body to any significant extent. You can buy d-mannose as a supplement. It will prevent UTIs caused by e-coli but not staph. It works by preventing bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder. Drink lots of water and avoid acidic foods.

        BTW, forgive my ignorance but it sounds like the Paleo/Primal diet is another variation on Atkins. Atkins was the trailblazer for the low carb diet, and took criticism for decades because saturated fats were perceived to be unhealthy for the heart. But it turns out it is processed sugars that allow for cholesterol and inflammation levels (that are bad for the heart) to skyrocket. I know Paleo is all the rage, but I think credit is due to Dr. Atkins for carrying the torch years ago.

  15. Just a question for someone who would know better than I would: doesn’t coconut oil kill heliobacter? I just find it curious because coconut seems to help keep people or animals that eat it trim. Thanks for any help.

  16. So…. is taking a probiotic altering our gut flora and bacteria for perhaps the worse? Perhaps just eating a healthy diet getting lean and letting our guts/ digestive system work it’s own magic or gene expression?

    I started taking a Probiotic that has 13 Billion Organisms….. perhaps not a good idea. my stomach seems to rumble more often not, not sure if related.

  17. Looking forward to the solutions! Do you take some probiotic blend, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut… All of the above? What’s the best way to a) test if you can improve the gut environment, and b) improve it.

    Also, is frequent burping and farting caused by bad gut environment, possibly by antibotics? Can you reduce it by fixing the environment?

    I’ve seen a bunch of random observations on the topic, but not a good set of steps for diagnosis and fixing the problem.

  18. Please remember that the reason why antibiotics are used in CAFO’s is not because the antibiotics make them fatter faster.

    Cows stuck in feedlots are fattened on corn and soy feed.

    But Cows are designed to thrive on grass, not grains and legumes.

    Once the cows begin eating corn and soy feed, they start to get fat…and their immune systems no longer work properly. Combine that with crowded conditions and literally wallowing in their own shit, and you get Cows who start to get sick and die before they reach their prime, fattened slaughter weight.

    But mix antibiotics into their feed, and they survive long enough to reach maximum weight just before slaughter.

    1. Wow. You just described what’s happening to most people almost perfectly. Except we’re designed to eat meats and veggies. Great ananlogy!

    2. Cows on feedlots need antibiotics becuase when fed grains thier e-coli count shoots up VERY dramatically. I used to have the numbers but I just recall it being staggering.
      Grass fed cows don’t need antibiotics because of their natural diet. Grains make the gut e-coli friendly.

  19. Looking forward to the upcoming solutions. I’m currently in the midst of a six week course of 24/7 IV Ampicillin, for a deep infection in a broken tibia. I think I’ll take a bit of imbalance over losing my leg – but I’ve never really felt comfortable taking antibiotics in minor cases.

  20. Last took them for a burn wound that appeared infected … good news is I still have that leg.

  21. antibiotics are wonderful drugs when used in an appropriate way but I’ve been fed between 8 and 15 of these treatments a year for the last 5 years and it does huge damages to your health used that way… Now I take charge of my health and I know that it was wrong to prescribe me these more than half of the time, it was just in case… who cared then that I would feel like shit and get sick so often… because of another drug that had been prescribed… drugs, drugs, drugs… living primal gets you out of this nonsensical way of pretending to cure… when the only thing done is alleviate the symptoms then alleviate the symptoms from the former treatment and so on

  22. After struggling to lose 100 pounds, I quickly regained it after three courses of antibiotics in one year. Worse, the final antibiotic was one to which I had no previously been exposed and I had a very rare reaction resulting in permanent heart damage.

    What would I have done differently? In each case I was not in pain or immediate danger of death, but I was given a new-fangled antibiotic for the condition. This is done as a matter of course if more than 5% of bacteria causing that illness have been found to be resistant to the old stuff. Demand a culture and sensitivity test! Don’t expose yourself to new chemicals unless it is medically necessary.

    I have read of a case where someone with severe digestive problems went to a developing country and exposed himself to human feces on purpose to regain normal gut microbes (he also wanted a particular paracite for his condition). I wonder if more people are going to start doing this, or is western medicine going to start working on gut normalization protocols? It’s infuriating that the best chance of getting well right now is to literally go eat sh**.

  23. I had a sneaking suspicion this was true when I was put on antibiotics my entire jr yr of high school (recurrent ear/tonsil infections and lazy drs who didn’t want to do surgery), and promptly started gaining weight despite a continued healthy diet and exercise plan once I was off of them…

    Not only did it screw up my digestive tract, but I’d bet money that it’s what triggered my endormetriosis, endometriomas and all the issues I’ve had since… since that year, my health has been nothing short of just f**ked.

    I’m now basically antibiotic resistant, continue to eat probiotics constantly. Though, somehow intuitively, I think it’s never going to be right again.

  24. Makes me feel good about the long term Tobramycin I’m starting in a few weeks.

  25. Very interesting. I just finished a round of antibiotics (for cellulitis) and I noticed that my stomach was extra wonky. I was never hungry but when I did ate, I had no ‘full’ cues. I ended up gaining 5 pounds.

  26. I’m thinking about the possibility of a “poop bank.” Like a blood bank, it would store a resource for administration to humans in need, but instead of blood, the Poop bank would have fecal matter to transplant into people who have had their gut biomes trashed by the antibiotics. Fecal transplants are becoming more accepted for treatment of things like C.diff, so perhaps it’s just a matter of time. I bet a person could auto-transfuse, just like with blood, by collecting and storing a sample before antibiotic intervention, and then having it administered after the antibiotics were done.

    Gives a whole new meaning to “Savings and Loan”…

  27. Two years ago I had foot surgery.
    A few days later I had a MRSA/Staph infection.
    I then recieved two weeks of daily Cubicin antbiotic IV’s, followed by two months of antibiotic tablets.
    Last winter I started to get strange symptoms.
    UTI’s Prostatitis, some weight loss.
    I went to a Urologist who prescribed—antibiotics.
    It all got better then worse.
    A friend tipped me off that I probably had a Yeast Infection from all the antibiotics….she was right.
    I went natural this time and still take a half dozen herbal treatments along with various probiotics daily.
    That along with the anti-yeast diet has dropped a few more pounds off of me.
    All I can say is I’m blessed that I was healthy before this all.
    It really takes a physical, emotional and mental toll.
    Had I had any medical issues before hand the outcome could have been dire.
    Thanks for sites like this one.
    Now…to make you laugh…one of the surgical screws used to set the bone has migrated loose and out.
    I can feel it…and it has cut back my running….I use the elliptical now.
    There’s no pain, but I know it’s there.
    And they want me to go back to the same med facility to have it removed.
    I’ll live with it as long as I can. lol

  28. When I was younger I took antibiotics for my acne but they made my face so red that I stopped. I’m glad for that now.

    I used to get recurrent tonsillitis for which I was always getting prescribed antibiotics but I’ve worked out that strangely enough ibuprofen makes the tonsillitis remediate just as fast as the antibiotics (and is fabulous for symptomatic relief) if I take it early. I theorize that getting rid of the inflammation is reducing the indentations on my tonsils where the bacteria like to hang out because within 2-3 days I’m usually off the ibuprofen and healthy again.

  29. Hi Mark,

    So if you had H. pylori what would you do? You wouldn’t take antibiotics?

    Thanks for the reply,

    Nuno

  30. Mark: I really don’t know what the world would do without you around to do all this awesome research and lay all this stuff out for us so we all can know about it. Never before have I given so much thought to things like gut flora, and life’s just better this way. Susan 🙂

  31. Mark,

    Interesting information. I generally try to avoid taking antibiotics when I am sick and just let my body heal itself naturally. It seems like this may not be a terrible approach.

    Alykhan

  32. I’ve heard it said that raw garlic/raw onions given to the same obese mice will return their gut flora to that of lean mice, and they lose weight. Is that the case, or just wishful thinking?

  33. All meds have secondary effects on the body.
    It depends on the person how they will manifest.
    You might need here and there some pills in case of emergency, but over the long haul, you can enjoy a healthy lifestyle through proper nutrition and great fitness,

  34. Wow! I find the ghrelin increase the most interesting as well. It all makes sense. People with bad nutrition tend to get sick more often, resulting in antibiotic use. Through the combo of poor nutrition and antibiotics, no wonder why we Americans have huge guts. Or should I say…marbling.

    1. People are even more obsessed with antibiotics here in the UK. I have a friend who takes them for every single little ouch. He also gets sick if someone sneezes within a mile radius…
      And the ‘marbling’ thing made me LOL – thats genius 😀

  35. Mark,

    I’ll be curious to hear your solutions post because I’ve been off/on antibiotics for literally years — on it for as long as 10 months at a time (skin issues).

    I hate it, yes. I realize it’s bad. Now I’m on a low-dose antibiotics that supposedly is only anti-inflammatory, NOT anti-microbial in nature. Your thoughts on this? (I know it’s not ideal, but do I at least have a shot at restoring my flora if there’s no antimicrobial activity?)

    Thanks for your research and blog,
    Alana

  36. My husband had spontaneous rupture of a bicep while on Levaquin. And Cipro (and other fluoride meds) are being heavily implicated in the development of fibromyalgia. I just had a cold (virus) go bacterial (green and yellow mucus) and cleared up the bacteria in less than 24 hours using chopped raw garlic on the bottom of my feet (no garlic breath 🙂 – cover with plastic wrap, socks, another layer of plastic wrap, and another pair of socks to keep the garlic from breaking through and stinking up everything – and be sure to put out the trash after you remove it and wash up in the morning – may need to repeat at least once).

    1. wow. I’m with you on the garlic, its helped me through plenty, but I just stick to concentrated garlic capsules from the health store 🙂

  37. As a dentist I deal with infections all the time. 300 people a year die of tooth infections in the USA. I agree that many doctors overprescribe antibiotics. Personally I have to see systemic signs of infection before prescribing antibiotics. I always recommend probiotics along with any antibiotic prescription. Looking forward to Mark’d solutions post. Hopefully I can improve my recommendations!

  38. Ok..am now concerned! I have been on long term, low-dose Doxycycline for Rosacea/acne for about 2 years.
    The antibiotics cleared up my skin a treat, but I have also radically altered my diet since starting them. And co-incidently I have been thinking about giving them up.
    I now am ‘almost’ primal (NO wheat/grains but still eat dairy) and before I changed my diet I was wheat/grains biggest fan!
    And the only thing holding me back from stopping them is my skin flaring up again.
    Oh, what to do??

    1. Dairy can be a huge contributing factor to skin issues. If I have a drink of milk I’m sure to have a few new zits pop up the next day. No dairy = flawless skin for me 🙂 Might be worth a try cutting it out and cutting out the antibiotics if acne is the only reason you take them!

      1. Switching from commercial to local-market dairy helped me. I tolerate dairy quite well, grew up on a farm with goats and cows, but commercial dairy – except well-aged cheese – isn’t very good. I buy local, unpasteurised, and it doesn’t give me a single problem.

    2. You could try eliminating dairy for a while to see, but it is easier said than done…try switching, at least, to fermented dairy, heavy cream & butter and cheese, preferably raw/unpasteurised.

      As for the antibiotics, rather than going cold-turkey, try missing a dose, and see how you do. Then miss another one. Get off slowly, and up your anti-inflammatory food intake (oily fish, berries, etc). And try calendula. Its a very potent anti inflammatory. I don’t have rosacea, but my skin used to be very problematic and sensitive and calendula compresses worked very well. Also try burdock/nettle/dandelion teas, a few cups, well-steeped, a day. Sorts out my flare-ups though you’ll find yourself in the toilet all day – nettle is rather diuretic!!!

    3. if it is 20 mg doxicylcine 2/day it is the same as Periostat (20mg bid) used in dentistry to treat periodontal (gum) disease. it is a submicrobial dose and will not kill bacteria and therefore will not cause bacterial resistance. it is used for its side effect as an anticollagenase to turn of MMP’s.

      1. Thanks Pale0 Dentist,
        It is in fact 50mg/day. Is that still ok?

  39. I had to take Cipro when I was away trekking in Africa due to very bad diarrhoea a few weeks ago. I was extremely weak in a very remote area and I took what the doctor gave me. I knew the damage I was doing to my gut so I stopped after 3 days and I’ve been knocking back raw milk kefir every day since to try and boost my gut back up again but I’m very interested in any other solutions.

  40. I was always the tough guy and gut most anything out. Including walking pneumonia. Funny thing now is I am not so tough. It devastated my lungs, I can’t run 100 yards now. When you need antibiotics take them.

    Having said that I think in the future they will find interesting interactions between bacteria and auto-immune disease. Could certain chronic disease be cured with certain bacteria?

    This is not a new idea. Phage Therapy has been around since the 1920’s and is gaining renewed interest in the light of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. You may wet your appetite for phage therapy starting with wiki.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phage_therapy

  41. This is depressing. I was given round after round of antibiotics as a small child until they decided what I actually had was asthma. I’m looking forward to the solutions.

  42. This scares me.
    I unfortunatly have a skin condition and I have to take antibiotics daily to keep it in check. There are some problems that going primal won’t fix. Sigh.

    1. With you on this one…..to take or not to take..that is the question!

  43. I have been doing ‘all the right stuff’ for a few years….but this past year I was hit with sudden joint pain/fatigue (while continuing with exercise & avoiding grains), next comes anti-inflammatory meds…then stronger pain meds- while waiting for a slew of Doctors to rule out Lupus, arthritis….finally an Infectous Disease Doc has given me my second course of doxycycline- wow- start dropping pain meds and feeling like my old self! So as I am being treated for the bacteria left by a TICK 3 years ago….and praying that this will put an end to it….what I’m reading here is worrisome….after doing my part to be a healthy person- I need antibiotics, lots of it!!
    Though I hate it and cringe with each dose- I cannot deny that this is my only proven chance at recover- really.
    So damned if I do…damned if I don’t ?

  44. I took Cipro for 3 days for a UTI and woke up screaming at night with massive shooting-pain headaches. I talked to a researcher who said one of the side effects of Cipro can be permanent brain damage. In fact his daughter is in her 30’s and had that side effect. She will never be able to live on her own. Thank God for the warning pain–Cipro’s on my allergy list.

    About the acne cures–I’m an esthetician who deals with it everyday. Many of my customers are on antibiotics from dermatologists and they don’t work consistently. But if you read the derm textbooks, they suggest antibiotics as the standard of care.

    Benzoyl peroxide, while effective and cheap, is a potential carcinogen. EPA changed in classification in the 1990s with no fanfare. But if you work in a manufacturing plant with it, you must use a respirator. Not a good idea to use it long term.

    Check out BionResearch.com. Their products use cinnamon, zinc, green tea, clay and more natural products. I’ve had good results with their products.

  45. I was recently amazed to hear a doctor tell my friend after surgery, that because she was taking antibiotics that she would need to be conscious of rebuilding the beneficial bacteria in her gut. He suggested not only yogurt, but probiotic supplements and true fermented items like kombucha and real sauerkraut. Go doc!

  46. I had two rounds of Cipro, two winters ago (long story, but it was preventative usage). Didn’t notice a thing. No eating or digestion or weight changes at all. Maybe the way you eat determines the flora population that re-grows?

  47. Do you know if Doxycycline will have the same negative effects as the antibiotic tested? The reason I asked is I am about to be deploying to Afghanistan and I was just issued a bottle of 400 Doxycycline and we are to take one every day for the entire year, which I can imagine according to this story will be quite detrimental to my weight loss/keeping it off.

  48. Too lazy to read through the comments to see if anyone’s said this yet, but not all antibiotics harm every bacteria in your body.

    For example: the antibiotic prescribed for UTI is fairly specific, and doesn’t harm your gut flora (or so my doctor tells me).

    Of course, even the specific antibiotics have side effects, so there’s still good reason to cringe when your doctor prescribes you an antibiotic regimen. I don’t know about you, but I’m generally not in the mood for vomiting, fever, and stomach bleeding.

    I only take antibiotics if I really think I need to. I’ve gotten two UTIs in the past, and I’ve gotten rid of them both without antibiotics. They’re still pretty terrible, but they’re not evil. You can keep them at bay with enough vitamin C (or cranberry juice). If you do get one, you can get rid of it in less than a week by drinking enough water and consuming tons of vitamin C 😉

  49. How can you reinstate the ‘good’ bugs? Last year I had a major ear infection with 100% hearing loss – and they were worried I would have mastitis leaking back into the brain – so antibiotics were essential.
    But 2 weeks of augmentin (and nexium) wrecked havoc with a coeliac gut, and seriously reduced the amount of HCl I was making.
    The HCl levels are now OK, but I can’t loose the excess weight I gained. I reckon it’s ‘the bugs’. I use probiotics all the time, and have lots of organic yoghurt, but still not good enough.

  50. 3 years ago I had a near death experience. I was given a course of Augmentin which was followed by a horrible antibiotic induced colitis. So sick I though I was going to die. Didn’t go to the emergency room only because I could not get out of bed to get there.

    A week later I was strong enough to go back to the doctor, and they then gave me a new course of cipro. The horrible colitis subsided, but I was left with a giant rock in my gut. I did a 3 day fast/salt water flush and felt a million times better. I was SO careful of what went into my body after that. I adopted the PBP way of eating, quit everything else cold turkey. I was taking a probiotic for about a year after the incident. My GI problems came an went in spells, I lost my appendix 2 years after the incident (RIP little buddy).

    Since the appendectomy, things took a turn for the worse. I was in school at the time and couldn’t afford high quality probiotics. For the year following, I had not experienced a solid stool. Frequently had blood and mucus pass. It was horrible. I always needed to be near a bathroom. As a grown woman, I pooped myself in public on two different occasions. It got REALLY bad a couple months ago (blood, mucus and diarrhea all day every day). I finally went to see a doctor (I’m uninsured).

    Of course the Dr. wanted to do a colonoscopy ($5000-7000 procedure). They did all sorts of tests and stool cultures, decided I probably had ulcerative colitis. Wanted to put me on Rx where the side effects could make me violently ill. I said no thanks.

    I got back on a super high quality probiotic, drank 16oz of kombucha each day, and it only took 2 weeks to have a normal stool again. I can not tell you how liberating it was.

    3 years of abnormal GI symptoms, a hellish last year… Probiotics may have just saved my life.

  51. I had an infection in my “bad” knee last year, which made my knee swell up like a football. Needless to say the pain was unbearable. I was immediately hospitalized, had a tube placed in my knee to drain it, and, of course, I was on IV antibiotics. No weight-bearing on that leg and no movement of the knee was allowed for 1 month. THEN I had to take antibiotics orally for 1 year. I didn’t want to, but the Doc said that the infection would return if I didn’t. I didn’t want that infection ever again, so I was a good patient. Now I suffer from constipation and weight gain that is hard to lose. Boohoo!!!

  52. I haven’t had to take antibiotics in a number of years….. but every single time I did take them my gut and the rest of my body would explode with yeast. Blech! The probiotics sound like a good idea.

  53. First post here. I’m 44 and I weigh 115 lbs after giving birth to 5 kids. Yay primal!
    I see all these people who were prescribed antibiotics for acne. Fortunately/unfortunately that was never an option for me. I cannot take antibiotics. I have had a bad reaction to every single one used so far (my medic-alert bracelet says,”see medical records”) the list is so long. Basically first use- rash, second use hives and breathing problems (emergency room time).
    Any way, back to my point, I had severe acne well into my 30’s. My dermatologist stymied by her inability to use standard treatments on me, suggested avoiding all products with sodium laurel sulfate–which is in most shampoos and body washes. Within a week my acne cleared up and never returned. Turns out, the SLS was irritating my skin causing it to produce too much oil and the overabundance of oil was causing the acne. I wash my hair with just conditioner. You need to use a lot but it works just fine.

  54. Mark, Just curious if this issue goes back to my earlier email to you from my China experience. Re: Their pasta laden diet and mostly thin bodies?

    I am not sure if the beef they eat is free of antibiotics (as well as hormones)but that could be a possibility.

  55. Mark, perhaps you can answer this in your next post…

    Regarding the lower Bacteroidetes/higher Firmicutes in obese individuals, I was surprised to learn than many of the probiotics we tend to look for are actually firmicutes, including the bacillus and lactobacillus groups present in yogurt, kefir, etc.

    How does this balance with the study results? Do fermented foods actually exacerbate this imbalance? Are there ways to selectively increase bacteriodetes organisms?

    Thanks!

  56. This article makes me wonder something. Clearly antibiotics are a mixed bag I agree. They should be used only when needed. But boy when they are needed they sure are a help. After an illness, should we take a pro-biotic to restore what the anti-biotic has depleted? Is the answer to this problem as simple as that?

  57. D-Mannose has worked for me for a UTI that 3 rounds of antibiotics wouldn’t kill.

    The antibiotics killed my stomach! But I am feeling better now after taking probiotics for a month.

  58. I know that this is an old post but I saw that Mark was going to follow up with a solutions post. I did a search on the site to see if I could find it to no avail. Can anyone direct me towards the post? Thank you!

    1. Probiotics only ever made me gain weight so if you’re still on those maybe you should quit taking them. They alter your gut flora just like antibiotics and weight gain is a recognized side effect of them now (some people lose weight on them some people gain it). It’s also worth pointing out that weight loss is also now a recognized side effect of antibiotics (in fact some of them are even being suggested as a ‘cure’ for obesity).

  59. Unfortunately, they can’t always be avoided. And I’ve had them three times this year. I’m taking probiotics constantly. I’m on a course now from a bad spider bite and I don’t know what would have happened if I didn’t take them as it made me rather sick.

  60. I just started taking Aldoctone and Clairithromycin for acne. I’ve been eating paleo for a little over a year now, and I currently have the worst skin of my life…though I don’t believe there’s a correlation. What can I do for suspected hormonal acne? I haven’t taken antibiotics in over 10 years until recently! I’m desperate for a cure for this mess! Help!

    1. Thats just how spiro works (makes you break out like crazy first). Maybe quit eating paleo… Its not for everyone and you’re probably suffering from nutritional deficiencies. If your antibiotic isnt working then switch to a new one.

  61. I was having stomach buring in May 2011. Went to the doctor, who took blood and told me I had H. Pylori. I was put on the PrevPac and my body has been messed up ever since. I have suffered from vaginal yeast ever since taking the PrevPac for almost 2 years now. Doctors keep treating the yeast but, it never works, it always come back. They need to treat the route of the problem in the Gut, but how is this done??? So desperate for help that I can not find.

  62. The Cipro study is not alarming at all, their gut started to recover 4 days after, and at a week improvements had continued.

    Taken unnecessarily? Likely a bad idea, but you have to consider cost/benefit in many cases.

    I believe it’s very likely that cows given antibiotics are more densely muscled than their non-antibiotic counterparts. The big beef industry is concerned with the muscle-meat, and to some degree the marbling within..not so much the straight lard.

  63. What would you recommend to correct the weight gain from antibiotics? In 2008 I had strep that turned into rheumatic fever I was prescribed penicillin shots every month. I was 18 at the time and before penicillin weighed 114. I was on penicillin for 5 years and over time slowly gained weight. Iam now 163lbs have been off pencillin for 9months and can not lose the weight. I have tried everything and have never been a un healthy eater and excersise everyday. My doctor has not helped and laughs at the idea that it could be from the antibiotic. Any advice will be greatly apperciated.

  64. You can’t say that, across the board, antibiotics cause weight gain in ALL patients. Diet and lifestyle are factors also. I’ve taken antibiotics for acne on and off for years and I’m underweight. I mostly only eat healthy foods and have an active lifestyle

  65. What about long-term use of several rounds of 4 different Abx for Lyme disease? I noticed a huge increase in body fat and I counter the Abx with Probiotics, am on a strict elimination diet to keep the yeast on the down low, and physically active. HOW do I get rid of this? Can’t stand it. I am finishing my 5th month of Abx use and will be switching to Samento and Banderol for another 6 months. I’m doing all the right things, but have noticed a significant increase in visible body fat. I’m at a loss. I have a cert in Applied Clinical Nutrition as it pertains to reversing the disease process and have been successful working with others, but can’t seem to get on top of this because of the abx.

  66. Antibiotics can make the disease become worse as the virus get stronger and stronger when you consume the antiobiotics. The best way to cure the diseases is through natural remedies provided by nature such as eating fruit and vegetables

  67. I had a severe infection in my bone after a dentist did a root cannel and missed the forth root. As such a pocket of infection was sealed in. It festered for years until I got very, very ill and had to have multiple surgeries and go on two months of the strongest does of penicillin. Two months! I’ve been taking probiotics and eating brine fermented foods as a way to protect my gut health. But I am worried that after such intense antibiotic treatment my gut microbes will be forever changed and I will put on weight among other problems. In my case I had to have the antibiotics. I was told the infection would have moved to my brain and then…well, that would have been pretty dire. But I wish there was more I could do to help my gut flora recover. I hate to think it won’t return to the way it was.

    1. I have diverticulitis, 4 times last 2 years…cat scans and antibiotics……I am 77yrs and ate 80% paleo previous to suffering….lately 100% and only one small meal per day. I am at a loss and am in fear of eating. help

  68. New to this post so excuse me if this has been mentioned already. How can I heal my gut after tha anitbiotics so I can lost this weight? I’m so frustrated.