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Have you ever wondered why you always feel bloated, stiff, and crampy while your kid sister or best friend enjoys excellent health?
Is it genetics? Luck of the draw?
Not so fast. Maybe what sets you apart from the rest of your clan has something to do with the medications you took as a child.
In fact, current research affirms what we at Body Ecology have known for quite some time - certain medications can damage the precious ecosystem found within the digestive tract!
These medications are antibiotics. As it turns out, the medical community at large is moving away from antibiotic overuse, commonly overprescribed for issues like the common cold or acne. The more popular antibiotics include:
- Oral vanomycin
It turns out that exposure (often repeated) to antibiotics can initiate major changes in the digestive tract. This is especially true when exposure occurs during childhood.
Research has found that the greatest damage takes place when infants under one year old are given antibiotics. Use of antibiotics early in life is associated directly with inflammatory bowel disease. (1)
Antibiotics Disrupt a Harmonious Inner Ecosystem
Antibiotics frequently prescribed to children for the common cold and even acne can wreak havoc on the digestive system by destroying friendly bacteria in the gut. This can lead to a condition called inflammatory bowel disease, characterized by cramping, bloating, and diarrhea.
Antibiotics do not just get rid of an infection - these drugs are designed to wipe out all life. This means that antibiotic therapy threatens even the good bacteria in the body.
Good bacteria work synergistically with the body. They help run the show on many levels, and we actually wouldn’t be physiologically complete without our microscopic friends.
The digestive tract holds the bulk of bacteria that populate the human body. And because of this, the gut suffers most during antibiotic therapy.
Bacteria compete for space, or real estate, in the digestive tract. Our body favors and supports the growth of friendly bacteria.
However, when we obliterate communities of good bacteria with antibiotics, opportunistic organisms leap at the opportunity! Without large numbers of good bacteria to keep them in check, they rapidly grow as much as possible.
Opportunistic bacteria and yeast can irritate the cells lining the intestinal wall. This irritation is inflammatory and can eventually lead to tissue destruction.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an extreme example irritation, inflammation, and tissue destruction. It is characterized by:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal cramping and bloating
- Diarrhea and loose stools
A diagnosis of IBD means that intestinal tissue has already suffered enough damage to cause dramatic weight loss and bleeding along the intestinal tract. There may also be other symptoms of IBD elsewhere in the body, such as joint pain and skin disorders.
Unfortunately, over the last decade, the number of children diagnosed with IBD has doubled! (2) Yet researchers are still scratching their heads about what exactly causes IBD.
So far, we know that:
- Intestinal infections are associated with the development of IBD. (3)(4)
- Those with IBD have a sort of mono-culture going on within the gut. In other words, there is not a lot of variety between the different strains of bacteria.(5)
- Symptoms of IBD can be helped when the gut is inoculated with specific strains of “normal”, or friendly, bacteria. (6)
Besides IBD, antibiotic therapy contributes to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or superbugs. And superbugs can be deadly.
Build the Inner Ecosystem
It is crucial then to build the beneficial bacteria in your child’s digestive tract. Body Ecology recommends eating a small amount of fermented foods or drinking a few ounces of probiotic liquids with each meal.
Living probiotics and enzymes work differently in the body than probiotic supplements that are potentially damaged in the encapsulating and packaging process.
To maximize beneficial bacteria, feed probiotics with prebiotics - like EcoBloom, a natural chicory extract. With a prebiotic, your gut will be far more attractive to probiotic growth!
What To Remember Most About This Article:
The medical community is now supporting what Body Ecology has believed for years: certain medications can damage the precious inner ecosystem found in the gut. For this reason, most of the medical community is moving away from antibiotic overuse that can cause significant changes in the digestive tract, especially during childhood.
Antibiotics do much more than just rid the body of infection. Antibiotics are designed to destroy all life, even good bacteria found in the body. As a result, the gut, full of friendly bacteria, will suffer most in a routine course of antibiotic treatment.
Once good bacteria in the gut are destroyed, it can lead to a condition like inflammatory bowel disease with symptoms of abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea.
The only way to counteract this digestive destruction is to build up your child’s digestive tract with fermented foods and probiotic liquids at each meal. You can further support a healthy inner ecosystem with a prebiotic like EcoBloom to make the gut more attractive to probiotic growth!
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- MP Kronman, et al. Antibiotic Exposure Linked with Development of IBD in Children. JWatch Pediatrics 2012; 2012:1031
- HM Malaty, et al. Rising incidence of inflammatory bowel disease among children: a 12-year study. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2010;50 (1):27–31
- KO Gradel, et al. Increased short- and long-term risk of inflammatory bowel disease after salmonella or campylobacter gastroenteritis. Gastroenterology. 2009;137(2):495–501
- M Feller, et al. Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis and Crohn’s disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infect Dis. 2007;7(9):607–613
- SJ Ott, et al. Reduction in diversity of the colonic mucosa associated bacterial microflora in patients with active inflammatory bowel disease. Gut. 2004;53(5):685–693
- H Sokol, et al. Faecali bacterium prausnitzii is an anti-inflammatory commensal bacterium identified by gut microbiota analysis of Crohn disease patients. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2008;105 (43):16731–16736
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