Common Drugs That Affect the Gut Ecosystem–And What to Do about It!
|Within your gut lives billions of microorganisms that promote your health. Collectively known as the gut microbiome, this microbial community works as a giant factory producing various chemicals or substances that pass through the intestinal wall to join the bloodstream and affect your body’s cells.|
Different factors affect the composition and quantity of your gut microbiome, including genetics, diet, sleeping pattern, and exercise. But today, let’s take a closer look at another factor that changes the gut ecosystem that doesn’t get discussed much: medications.
Medications and medical interventions can be incredibly helpful, so the goal of this newsletter isn’t to attack these tools. Rather, the side effects of medications on the gut are part of the picture and it is important to be fully informed. Remember that the health of the gut says a lot about the health of the body in general.
So what are some common drugs and that disrupt the gut ecosystem?
PPI’s are the drugs of choice to treat gastric acidity, GERD, and acid reflux. They are associated with adverse effects in the gut microbiome.
In studies conducted amongst those taking proton-pump inhibitors, they found considerable quantities of bacteria that are normally present in the oral cavity.
And mind you, these bacteria do not belong in the gut! They are usually killed by stomach acid. And the presence of these bacteria in the gut is associated with the development of some types of colon cancer.
Another gut disrupting drug, likely unsurprisingly, is the antibiotics. Perhaps you’ve experienced antibiotic-related diarrhea, which is a short-term effect of antibiotic use, at some point? This can lead to a rebound towards constipation as your body attempts to rebalance itself.
Long term effects of being on antibiotic therapy are reduced diversity of the gut microbiome.
If your gut microbiome lacks diversity, there’s less production of health-promoting molecules such as butyric acid (butyric acid or butyrate is well-known for supporting digestive health, reducing inflammation, and regulating the epigenome (the dynamic part of our DNA), thereby promoting overall health), which can be a predisposing factor in developing chronic illnesses.
Metformin, a medication used to treat Type 2 Diabetes and PCOS (reduced microbial diversity and reduced abundance of healthy flora) and laxatives, used to treat constipation, are 2 other common medications that disrupt your gut health.
As I said earlier, it is sometimes inevitable to take medications. So it is of utmost importance to take extra care of your gut health.
Here are my top research-backed tips to help you take good care of your gut:
Take probiotics and prebiotics – Probiotics, whether in supplement or fermented food form, promote gut microbiome diversity. Prebiotics are the what your gut bacteria eat, such as plant fibers, starches, and collagen. These prebiotics promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. Prebiotics include leeks, garlic, sunchokes, tomatoes, artichokes, flaxseed, chicory, and green leafy vegetables.Avoid sweets – Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin), sugar, and foods that are naturally high in sugar contribute to gut dysbiosis and increase the bacteria that are linked to metabolic diseases.Get your sleep – It is important to establish good sleeping habits to get ample, restful sleep at the right time. Poor sleeping patterns are associated with poor gut flora.Manage stress – Stress, even if it’s short-lived, disrupts the gut microbiome, so make sure to do things that can help you relieve stress. Some of the things you may want to try are HeartMath, mindfulness meditation, journaling, and deep breathing exercises.Exercise – Keep your body active! Make sure to allow time every day to exercise. It is good for your circulation, mood, muscles, bones, and gut health.
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
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