Ideally we take such great care of ourselves that we never need antibiotics. And the reality is that sometimes we do get bacterial infections and need to take them.
What are the possible side effects of taking antibiotics and what can I do about them?

Antibiotics upset the balance of bacteria in the gut.

Some bacteria is good and helps digest your food. When that dies off along with the bacteria you are trying to kill off with the antibiotic, you can get an upset stomach and/or diarrhea.

What can you do? Drink ginger tea (simmer sliced ginger in water for about 15 minutes, add just a little bit of honey if desired) and bone broth to soothe the gut. Eat lightly (think soup). Begin a multi-strain probiotic such as MegaFoods’ MegaFlora to repopulate the beneficial bacteria. Continue taking the probiotic for at least 60 days after completing your course of the probiotic. And once your stomach is feeling up to it, add fermented foods to your daily diet to continue to improve the gut’s probiotic population.

Antibiotics also deplete the body of some nutrients.

Antibiotics deplete biotin, inositol, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and vitamin K. Additionally, fluoroquinolones and all floxacins (including ciprofloxacin or “Cipro”) deplete calcium, iron, and magnesium. Tetracyclines (suffix, -cycline) deplete calcium and magnesium. Trimethoprim-containing antibiotics (brand names Trimpex, Proloprim or Primsol) deplete folic acid. Penicillins (suffix, -cillin) deplete potassium. Aminoglycosides, such as gentamicin, cause imbalances of magnesium, calcium and potassium. Azithromycin (Z-Pak) also depletes magnesium.

When you take antibiotics, consider a B vitamin complex along with it. Or take a multivitamin that contains 25 mg of B1 (thiamine), 25 mg of B2 (riboflavin), 50 mg of B3 (niacin), 50 mg of B6 (pyridoxine), 400 mcg to 800 mcg of folic acid, 10 mcg of B12, and 50 mg each of biotin and B5 (pantothenic acid).

Inositol is part of the B vitamin complex, and is likely to be included in a B vitamin or multivitamin formulation. Otherwise, take 500 mg of inositol. (The RDA is 100 mg per day.) In addition, either take a multivitamin that includes magnesium (500 mg), calcium (1,000 mg) and potassium (100 mg), or take them separately.

You also may consider 50 mcg daily of vitamin K, which is normally made by friendly intestinal bacteria. Vitamin K is required for proper blood clotting. Deficiency is rare, but when it occurs, life-threatening bleeding can occur from the smallest injury. Vitamin K also plays a part in osteoporosis prevention. (Note: If you are taking coumadin/warfarin, talk to your anticoagulation clinician before supplementing with Vitamin K.)


Nutrition Review, 11 December 2016