Antibiotics & Gut Health: Restoring Your Gut After Taking Antibiotics

Antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed medications in the world.6 They prevent millions of deaths yearly, remain the primary treatment for certain conditions and bacterial infections, and can reduce serious disease complications.4

Antibiotics come in many different forms, with some targeting a wide range of bacteria (broad-spectrum) and others targeting only a few types (narrow-spectrum). Broad-spectrum antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed.8 

Despite their benefits, antibiotics can suppress our immune system and disrupt the balance between the good and bad bacteria in our gut ecosystem. This damage can take weeks to several months to undo.5 

Fortunately, there are some steps we can take to restore our gut health and help us to feel our best thriving selves again!

Read on to discover more about the role of antibiotics, how they can disrupt our microbiome, and what we can do to bounce back. 

Antibiotics and Gut Health: How do they affect us? 

Antibiotics have one job: kill bacteria and stop them from multiplying. However, they cannot tell the difference between good and bad bacteria. Their job is to simply kill any bacteria within the gut.

This means we can lose a lot of our healthy gut flora, making us more susceptible to issues such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or Candida overgrowth and gut permeability.6 This can also increase our risk for later-onset chronic diseases like heart disease, autoimmunity, diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease, and Parkinson's disease.6

The bacteria can then become more resistant to antibiotics making future infections even harder to treat.7 Therefore, restoring your gut health after antibiotic treatment is essential. 

Tips for Restoring Gut Health After Antibiotic Use

Take probiotics 

Not all bacteria in our gut are bad. Probiotics work by re-establishing our 'good' bacteria and can help to restore the gut to its original state more quickly after taking antibiotics.5 

It's best to take probiotics simultaneously or immediately after a cycle of antibiotics.  

The best probiotic to take with antibiotics is one with a high number of colony-forming units (CFUs) of at least 8.5 billion+ (8.5 x 109 CFUs) to ensure you can rebuild that strong population of good bacteria that antibiotics may kill off.  

You should begin taking the probiotics the day you begin antibiotics and continue for a couple of weeks after the antibiotic course is finished for maximum benefits. Probiotics should be consumed at least 2 hours after antibiotics.12 

We recommend Immune Boost

Consider taking other health supplements 

Omega 3 fatty acids cannot be made by the body and must be consumed through food or supplementation. They are excellent nutrients to support the gut lining, reduce inflammation in the body, and support good gut bacteria.9 Taking approximately 500mg daily is the recommended dosage.9 

Collagen is excellent for improving your hair, skin, and nails. It also plays a role in restoring gut health. This is because collagen makes up the villi of your small intestine.

They vastly increase the surface area of your gut, making it easier for your body to absorb nutrients.1collagen supplement will help protect your gut lining, nurture your villi in the small intestine and prevent bacterial overgrowth during antibiotic usage.1 

Multivitamins are also beneficial in supporting immune health throughout treatment and are good additional support.10

Exercise regularly 

Being active is another way to improve microbial diversity.13 Regular exercise boosts your mitochondria and helps the good bacteria multiply.5 Try a form of cardio, weight training, or flexibility-style training. 

Reduce alcohol consumption post-infection

Alcohol can weaken your immune system and be a gut irritant when consumed in large amounts. We recommend limiting your consumption until your body fully recovers from the antibiotic treatment. 

Prioritise a good night's sleep

Get good quality sleep to help the body repair and recover faster. Aim for 7-8 hours per night. 

When in doubt, seek advice

Readers should note that if you are still experiencing gut issues after taking antibiotics, you should seek medical advice from your GP.

What should I eat after taking antibiotics? 

Probiotics and prebiotics will be your gut's saving grace after a course of antibiotics.

Good bacteria feed on fibres and plant nutrients. These are 'Prebiotics'. Prebiotics nourish your gut lining and keep the good bacteria thriving and balanced. This improves our mood, energy levels, immunity, and overall well-being.

A diet rich in polyphenols and plant fibres found in fruits, vegetables, fibre, whole grains, oily fish, nuts, and seeds are the best sources of prebiotics. 

Eating a variety of fibre-rich foods is the best way to diversify your microbiome and maintain a strong immune system.7 

Probiotics are live yeast and bacteria that naturally exist in the body. Daily probiotic capsules and fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and yoghurt can replenish the good bacteria killed by antibiotics. Particularly useful strains to support antibiotic use are bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.11  


In summary, avoiding antibiotics altogether is the easiest way to minimise disruption to your gut microbiome. However, sometimes they are a necessity to treat certain infections. 

We can prevent our need for them by maintaining healthy lifestyle habits to keep our immune system thriving naturally. Our body relies on good bacteria to regulate the digestive system, support immunity, and maintain our psychological well-being.5 

We must replenish them regularly through probiotic supplementation and take the required steps during and after antibiotics to help our good bacteria flourish. This will give our bodies maximum support during the treatment period and prevent any infections from recurring. 

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