Tag Archives: antibiotics

Lifestyle Nutrition

How To Keep Your Gut Happy On Your Summer Vacation

digestive issues - keeping your gut happy

Nothing ruins a vacation faster than having to spend all of your time in the bathroom. Severe digestive issues keep you stuck indoors and miserable for days after it’s ended. Then you spend the rest of the time wondering if it’s really over.

Keeping your gut happy is key, and it actually starts way before you even pack your suitcase.

  1. A healthy diet with plenty of dietary fiber and water will clear your digestive system and keep things regular. A few weeks before your vacation, you want to add some extra fiber to your diet. Oatmeal, chia seeds and celery are easy ways to naturally increase fiber, and as a bonus, they help lower cholesterol. Vacation often means fast food that’s high in fat and sugar, so keep that fiber in check to keep things moving.
  2. Probiotics will help to increase the amount of good bacteria to maintain healthy intestinal flora. We need a lot of good bacteria in the intestines to break down food. This ensures we absorb all the good stuff we’re eating. When there is a disruption in this system, things like fungus (candida) can flourish, causing bloating and other unpleasant symptoms. You can also add fermented foods, like pickles, sauerkraut, and miso to your diet daily to get the naturally occurring probiotics present in these foods.
  3. Eliminating dairy helps to reduce the body’s production of mucous. Mucous forms in your respiratory system and can cause infections, but it also forms in the gut. When it does, it prevents food from absorbing properly and can speed up the digestive system. Food is then eliminated before it is completely broken down, causing gas and bloating, as well as irritating the bowels.
  4. Drink bottled water and avoid iced drinks if possible. Ice is directly handled frequently and by numerous people where the weather is warm, and the tourists plentiful. Utensils and/or hands that are not clean frequently and can transfer food borne diseases easily. In countries where the water is not potable, ice should be avoided as there is no guarantee that the water is purified.
  5. Reducing stress is vital to gut health. Stress can wreak havoc on your digestive system, causing diarrhea and dreaded constipation. Balance getting enough sleep and being active to keep your digestive system moving.

If you end up getting sick, avoid over the counter anti-vomiting or anti-diarrhea medications. These only temporarily stop the symptoms, which is trying to physically purge the virus/bacteria out of your system. Resting and staying hydrated (even if it keeps coming up) will help your body fight off the illness.

Chronic digestive issues include frequent constipation, diarrhea, excess gas and bloating, acid reflux, and abdominal pain, especially after eating. There are many reasons for chronic digestive issues, like poor diet, frequent use of antibiotics and/or NSAIDS, inefficient waste removal or an imbalance in intestinal flora, just to name a few.

If you have chronic digestive or bowel issues, contact our Naturopath’s. They can help resolve these digestive issues.


Latest Research Nutrition

Antibiotics or Nutrition for a Cold?

It is common medical practice to prescribe antibiotics for acute respiratory infections (colds, sinusitis, ear infections, sore throat, bronchitis) despite the fact that most of these infections are caused by viruses, not bacteria.  Both doctors and patients play an important role in this unfortunate practice – patients often pressure their physician to prescribe the antibiotics.

A recent study showed that delaying or not prescribing antibiotics for acute respiratory infections resulted in no difference in the severity or duration of symptoms when compared with those that received antibiotics. This study is one of many that have revealed the futility of taking antibiotics for these common illnesses. These unwarranted antibiotics lead to drug resistant infections, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and increase risk for allergies and bowel disorders.

At the Village Health Clinic, our approach to acute respiratory infections is to use evidence based dietary, nutritional and natural therapeutics that reduce the intensity and duration of symptoms and ultimately prevent these infections.  We also provide guidelines to help you decide when to consider emergent care and antibiotics. In some of these cases, we will provide you with a prescription for antibiotics and instructions to fill the prescription under certain circumstances – such as the presence of warning signs that indicate the illness is getting worse.

If you find yourself or your child is fighting an infection, please schedule a visit. We can usually get you in for a short appointment that day.


Little P et al. Delayed antibiotic prescribing strategies for respiratory tract infections in primary care: Pragmatic, factorial, randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2014 Mar 5; 348:g1606. 

Latest Research

How Long Does it Take for Gut Bacteria to Return To Normal After Antibiotic Therapy?

Antibiotic treatment can significantly alter the composition of bacteria in our digestive tracts leading to the common side effects associated with these drugs – diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain. In particular, it is the healthy bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species, that are destroyed. In infants, many studies have revealed how these healthy bugs play an important role in the development of the their immune systems and digestive tracts. Alterations in these gut bacteria lead to increased risk for infections, allergies, autoimmune disease, obesity and serious digestive disorders.

How long do the negative effects of antibiotics last? A study looked at the stools of 18 infants, half of which were treated with antibiotics within 48 hours of birth and half did not receive any antibiotics throughout the study. Stools samples were compared at 4 and 8 weeks after the antibiotics were completed.

At 4 weeks, the proportion of healthy bacteria was significantly lower in the infants receiving antibiotics compared to those found in untreated infants. At 8 weeks, the levels of healthy bacteria in the treated infants had partially recovered to those found in the untreated infants. But, the levels of Bifidobacterium, which appears to be the most important bacteria at this age, did not fully recover. Also, longer treatment times of antibiotics resulted in further decreases in healthy bacteria.

This study reveals how vulnerable the balance of bacteria are in infant digestive tracts. It suggests the importance of appropriate probiotic supplementation particularly during or immediately after antibiotic therapy to reduce long term health risks.

Fouhy F et al. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2012 Nov 56:5811

Latest Research

Antibiotics Not Effective for Most Cases of Bronchitis, Ear and Sinus Infections, and Sore Throats

At lease 90% of upper respiratory infections, including sore throats, ear and sinus infections and bronchitis are caused by viruses, not bacteria. Yet, doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics to treat most of these infections despite the fact that they don’t work for viral infections and result in potentially serious side effects. Data from two recent surveys involving almost a quarter of a million patient visits revealed that antibiotics were prescribed for 60% to 73% of cases of bronchitis. This is significantly more than the expected 10% of bronchitis cases that are caused by bacteria.

The side effects of antibiotics include abdominal pain and diarrhea but they can also lead to drug resistant germs. These drug resistant germs are much more difficult to treat leading to more serious complications.

As naturopathic physicians, we use the same approach to diagnose respiratory infections as conventional physicians. But, we emphasize therapies to help the body fight the infection and reduce the risk for repeat infections. We utilize evidence based nutritional treatments that have been shown to reduce the duration and intensity of respiratory symptoms and prevent future infections. For individuals that seem to 
“catch” every cold we explore the underlying dietary, nutritional and lifestyle factors with their immune issues. For more serious infections and when lab tests indicate bacterial infections, we will prescribe antibiotics along with the appropriate nutritional and dietary therapeutics.

JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 03, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.11673

Latest Research

Antibiotic Exposure in Children Associated with Long Term Risks

There is yet another study demonstrating the long term negative effects of recurrent antibiotic use in children. This recent study looked at the association between antibiotic use for ear infection in early childhood and the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease later in childhood. Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of conditions (ulcerative colitis and crohn’s disease) that results in inflammation and damage to the large intestine. The symptoms are diarrhea, bloody discharge and pain and may potentially lead to removal of part of the intestine. This US study found that the more times antibiotics were taken for ear infections the greater the likelihood of developing inflammatory bowel disease later in childhood. Other studies have found a link between antibiotic exposure in infants and increased risk for asthma later in childhood. It is believed that antibiotics disrupt the balance of bacteria in the intestinal tract leading to an imbalance with the immune system. This, and prior studies, highlight the importance of healthy intestinal flora for not only proper digestive function but overall health.

Kronman MP, et al. Antibiotic exposure and IBD development among children: A population-based cohort study. Pediatrics 2012 Oct; 130:e794.

Murk W, et al. Prenatal or Early-Life Exposure to Antibiotics and Risk of Childhood Asthma: A Systematic Review. William Murk, Kari R. Risnes and Michael B. Bracken. Pediatrics 2011;127;1125