EP161 The One About Antibiotics, Your Gut, And Probiotics


In this podcast we talk about a recent study showing it can take six months for your good bacteria to grow back after a few days of antibiotics. The same study showed that some strains NEVER come back.

We talk about the connection of your gut to every system and the importance of good bacteria.

We also talk about using probiotics while taking antibiotics.

TRANSCRIPT OF TODAY'S EPISODE

Dr. Martin, Jr.: You’re listening to The Doctor Is In podcast from martinclinic.com. Although we share a lot of practical and, in our opinion, awesome information, what you hear on this podcast is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease. It’s strictly for informational purpose, so enjoy.

Hello, I’m Dr. Martin, Jr.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: I’m Dr. Martin, Sr.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: And this is The Doctor Is In podcast. [00:00:30] Today we want to talk about gut health, and specifically in relation to a study that was done where they gave antibiotics, three antibiotics, for four days. And they found it completely eradicated all the bacteria in the gut. It completely eradicated-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Good, bad, and ugly.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah, it completely eradicated all the bacteria in the gut. What was interesting about the study, I mean most people, we know this already, antibiotics do not discriminate, they just kill [00:01:00] bacteria. You have trillions of bacteria that live inside you, so that’s not a good thing, scientists talk about that being another organ, they call it your microbiome, and it plays a vital role to your health.

If your microbiome isn’t healthy, you’re not healthy. If it’s healthy, you’re healthy. But antibiotics obviously, people take them for a whole bunch of different reasons, so when you take them it eradicates your gut bacteria.

But what’s interesting is that they found [00:01:30] that it takes at least six months for your bacteria to come back, and some of it never comes back.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Yeah, some strains.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Some strains never come back.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Yeah, it’s very fascinating when you think of that study. We’ve been preaching this for years, that antibiotics are a double-edged sword. Like you said, they don’t discriminate, they’re actually … Look, you got a bad infection, what choice do you have? The idea, of course, is that if you need to take an antibiotic you gotta take an antibiotic. Come on.

[00:02:00] One of the things we see a lot of today, and just on a side note, I was telling this lady yesterday that I saw in the office, she had cellulitis. Man oh man, it’s like an epidemic today, every second person gets cellulitis, which is an infection in the dermis of the skin, where it gets in the lower layers of the skin and can be very dangerous, because it can travel and it can go up, if this lady had it in her foot or in [00:02:30] her leg, and I said, “Man, you gotta clear that.” That’s cellulitis. That’s where you need an antibiotic.

But the problem is the antibiotics have actually caused cellulitis, because of the overuse. We have all these superbugs, and the staffs and the straps and all that, they’ve got almost … They’ve become supermen because they’ve got such a resistance today to antibiotics that … It’s sort of a side note, but [00:03:00] they are creating a whole pile of new superbugs.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: That are on the horizon here. Researchers do talk about this, and it does make them nervous that there are some superbugs out there that have the potential to be quite devastating and deadly, and that are pretty much antibiotic resistant. There’s not too much that can be done at that point.

We know where that came from. For a long time antibiotic use was [00:03:30] rampant, they were given for everything. There was a time where, if you brought your child in with a potential ear infection, they just prescribed, really without doing much, they’d look in the ear for a second, or even if it was viral and had all the signs of viral, they would just prescribe an antibiotic.

Now that’s changed-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: They’re better, but some doctors are not getting the memos. They’re still doing it way [00:04:00] too often, you walk into a walk-in clinic-

Dr. Martin, Jr.: They’re so busy.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: They’re busy, and they’re not …

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Let me just say this, and it’s funny because, on the flip side, a lot of people go into the … If they go into a walk-in clinic, or they go see the family doctor, and the family doctor says, “It’s viral, just go home and rest it,” a lot of times people get mad at that. They want something.

So when that happens, they’re not happy either. They’re not happy, so then the flip side is you go [00:04:30] in and they just give an antibiotic, they’re like, “Take this,” and the reality is a lot of times when that’s the case, especially if it’s viral, they’ll take the antibiotic, they would have gotten better in the same amount of time anyways because it had nothing to do with the bacteria that was doing it-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Yeah, and the thing is a lot of times what they should do is give you … You don’t even need a prescription for it, but give you some … To give you an example, with kids and their ear infections, a lot of times I’ll tell [00:05:00] parents, they’ll call me and they’ll say, “Should I go get …” Well look, I said, “The first thing you oughta do, give them some Benadryl or whatever, give them so antihistamine to clear those ears, take the pressure away, and give them some painkiller for a couple of days.” Better than taking an antibiotic if they don’t need it. If it’s viral, just treat the symptoms and let it resolve itself.

Nobody wants to have a raging infection, but a lot of times people at [00:05:30] the first sign, they’re on antibiotics, and this has created, again, it’s a double-edged sword. Antibiotics can save your life, and we wanna save them for saving your life. A lot of women, I see it in the office, you got a urinary tract infection, but is it bothering you? “No, I didn’t even know.” I say, “Well, don’t take antibiotics.”

Because why are you taking antibiotics? Now you’re gonna develop a yeast infection, [00:06:00] and what happens with yeast, you get a fungus, then that bacteria, the E. Coli or whatever that’s usually causing the bladder infection, will just keep reoccurring and reoccurring. And you’re gonna get an overgrowth of yeast, of fungus.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah, so you’re better off addressing the cause, which a lot of times is a dysbiosis.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: It’s yeast.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: When we talk about a dysbiosis, we talk about basically an imbalance of [00:06:30] more bad bacteria to good bacteria. Antibiotics create that, obviously. But going back to this study, it wiped out all the-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Imagine for six months.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Six months after, and then a lot of it just never comes back.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Yeah.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Which, again, make probiotics all that much more important. And I know we talk about how probiotics are just one of those things that people should be taking every day for a variety of reasons, and we’ll talk about that in a few minutes.

But again, we get this question asked a lot, “If I’m taking antibiotics, [00:07:00] should I take probiotics?”

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Absolutely.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah, the answer is yes. And then people say, “Should I take it after the antibiotics, during the antibiotics?” And we always say, “Yes, just take them.” You wanna take those-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: And not a bad idea to double up your maintenance dose. Double it up, don’t be scared to take … If you’re taking a real strong antibiotic, take six probiotic. It’s gotta be a multi- [00:07:30] strain, it’s gotta be a broad spectrum because what the study is saying, there’s certain strains of bacteria that just … If you have taken an antibiotic and you haven’t taken … and how many millions of people have taken antibiotics?

I had a doctor tell one of my patients the other day, and I said, “Even in this day and age, that doctor said this to you?” She said, “Yes, all you need is yogurt.” The patient was asking the doctor that had prescribed the antibiotic, “ [00:08:00] Do I need to take probiotics?” And the physician said, “No, just take some yogurt.”

One of our capsules, I told this patient, I said, “One of our capsules, just one, you’d have to have $16,000 and change-”

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Of four-ounce-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Of four-ounce yogurt that you get in the grocery store-

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah, you don’t consume yogurt [00:08:30] for its probiotic content.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Because there ain’t none. There’s so few. As soon as they pasteurize it.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: And the stomach acid that-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Wipes them out.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: As a result of the yogurt, usually wipes them out, and they’re not broad spectrum by any sense of the matter. You definitely do not consume yogurt for the probiotic ability, that’s for sure.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Well you shouldn’t be consuming yogurt anyways, unless it’s Greek yogurt where the whey is taken off and it’s a low-sugar one.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: I just don’t think the average [00:09:00] person understands how much sugar is found in the yogurt that they eat every day.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Yeah, well if it’s not Greek plain, you are consuming an enormous amount of sugar. It’s crazy.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: And the nice thing is there’s so many ways now to sweeten up, naturally sweeten up, Greek yogurt. And if you can tolerate yogurt and Greek yogurt, there’s a lot of protein in it, it’s one of those things that-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: And a lot of calcium, right? It’s a good food.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: It’s good for you, for sure. The funny thing is, it’s the sugary yogurts that people consume every day.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: I [00:09:30] was checking out one the other day in the grocery store, I actually brought it home, it was … I can’t even remember the name of it, my word it was awful. I took it because it had … I think it only had one gram of sugar in it, in a serving. I said, “Well that’s fantastic.”

The problem is, did it ever taste awful. Oh my, oh my, it was 10 times worse than sour milk. [00:10:00] It was just awful stuff, I don’t know how you could ever get it … Well then you’d have to sweeten it, I think, probably with some … But even then, I don’t know if you could make it good enough to eat. But I’m fussy anyways, so maybe it’s just me.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah, sometimes if you mix it with some cinnamon, there are different ways that you could definitely-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Put some berries in it.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah. It really is good in a sense that, if you’re making a protein smoothie, add a little bit in.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Yeah, throw it in. Probably would be all right in a protein smoothie.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah, and that’s [00:10:30] a way to thicken up the smoothie and stuff like that. So that’s definitely doable.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: I had never thought of that.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: But you definitely don’t wanna use the kind that’s full of sugar, it kinda defeats the purpose. But yeah, that’s a long way of saying that, if you think you’re gonna get enough probiotic content just from eating yogurt every day, that’s just sadly mistaken.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Can I say one more thing about antibiotics?

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Oh yeah, we’re gonna talk still a few minutes about why this matters.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: I just wanna say one more thing about antibiotics because I get asked this all the time. You know what the new … I [00:11:00] don’t think, again, the pharmacists or whatever, the doctors, got the memo on this one … How long should I take an antibiotic? The old school is you get an antibiotic and they always say, “Don’t stop it.” Because then that bug’s gonna come back.

But you know what they’re showing, the new studies are saying, “No, no, when your symptoms start subsiding,” you got a bad urinary tract [00:11:30] and they tell you to take 10 days or seven days, no. Take a day, maybe two if you need it, but as soon as the burning’s gone just load up on probiotics. Stop that antibiotic.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah, it’s interesting because it’d be interesting to see how many people actually finish their dosage in the first place.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Because a lot of people start getting real sore stomachs, right?

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah, most people that do take them for a few days-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: And why is that?

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Oh yeah, it just kills your ability to digest food, and it’s just … Again, you’ve got a trillion [00:12:00] of these things in your body, these bacteria, and these things just go on the hunt and kill everything, and you need them to help break down food, absorb things. It affects a little bit of everything, and a lot of people can’t tolerate antibiotics for any kind of duration. Some can’t handle them that much at all, it really affects their bowels for a long time.

Which is why this is an interesting study. The fact that some of them really never come back …

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Yeah, never come back.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: … also tells you the importance of weighing the risk and reward. We’ve talked about [00:12:30] antibiotics a long time, a lot of people talk about antibiotics, but again, you just have to weigh the risk and the reward of that, knowing that some of these guys may never come back, which is why you wanna take, as you mentioned, a broad spectrum probiotic.

But the reason why this matters, and the reason why this is a big deal, is the gut is absolutely connected to every system in your body. Old time, natural medicine [00:13:00] always talked about how disease begins in the gut, and you always know when somebody’s coming at health from a functional standpoint when they talk about gut health.

To this day, a lot of people still truly don’t believe that. The average person just can’t understand how their gut can make the rest of their body healthy. And it’s really this bacterial link, this microbiome that’s found everywhere, and a lot of it’s found in your gut that is part of that connection.

But we’ll just quickly [00:13:30] run down why this really matters, and why this is really a big deal. Again, it’s one of these things that immediately it’ll hurt your gut in a sense that antibiotics … When you have a dysbiosis, or you have a problem with too much bad bacteria or not enough good bacteria, the first symptoms people may get, and not everybody gets them, are digestive in nature. They get a change in bowel habits, they may get pain or cramping. That’s kind of the first thing that somebody may or may not get.

But [00:14:00] even if they don’t get digestive symptoms, it doesn’t mean that there’s not gonna be a problem in the future. That’s when you talk gut health, it loses its appeal. Because it’s not an immediate problem. And us, as humans, we tend to prioritize symptoms that we feel today, and if we don’t feel symptoms then we’re like, “Whatever, we’re fine.” Because a lot of us base our health strictly on symptoms.

But the problem is this: we know, and research has shown [00:14:30] this so conclusively, your gut is tied into pretty much every system in your body. For example, there’s a direct connection, the gut-brain axis they call it. And there’s actually a couple connections between the brain and the gut. One is via the nervous system.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: The vagus nerve.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: The vagus nerve. It’s also interesting that, if the connection between the brain and the gut were severed, the gut would still function in a sense. It’s interesting, but you have this direct connection through this vagus [00:15:00] nerve, but then you also have a connection through the bacterial content. There is a direct axis between your gut and your brain.

Longstanding gut issues, and I’m not talking about digestive pain, I’m not talking about symptoms, if you have those that certainly qualifies, but a longstanding problem with your gut can, and most likely will, have a serious effect on your brain. And studies have looked at this, [00:15:30] there are studies looking at your gut microbiome and the links that it has to dementia development.

We know this: if you were to reverse engineer, we’ve talked about this on previous podcasts, dementia, Alzheimer’s, there’s inflammation. Dysbiosis leads to inflammation.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Yeah, it’s an overgrowth, right? An overgrowth of candida, yeast, and it creates inflammation, your body sees it as an irritant, an infection, and the body over-responds to [00:16:00] some extent and creates inflammation. And chronic … Acute inflammation is your body is developing a fever, and that’s all right, you want your body to develop a fever if you have an infection because then the ambulance is coming to the scene of the infection.

But the problem with that is, if it doesn’t go away, now those same cytokines and the protein and the extra enzymes and all that stuff [00:16:30] now become … Again, it’s a double-edged sword. Inflammation is good if you got a sore knee, somebody kicks you in the knee, it’s actually good to bring extra blood and everything else to the site. The problem is, don’t let it stay there, it’ll start damaging healthy tissue, healthy blood vessels. That’s why inflammation is so dangerous.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: I remember reading, and we have this, I took a screenshot of it because I remember reading, it was something in the Harvard Gazette, and [00:17:00] the title of the article was The Probe of Alzheimer’s follows the path of infection. One of the guys, the researchers, in the article, he has a quote that I found fascinating. He said, “The things that are creeping around in the brain will scare the heebie-jeebies out of you.” That’s what he said.

They would never have thought that years ago, they would never have pictured that. These researchers were looking at the idea that Alzheimer’s disease might first begin by an infection. And no, of course [00:17:30] we know that it may not be an infection, but it could be a leaky gut, leaky brain issue.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: It’s low-grade, it is an infection to the extent that yeast and whatever gets in across the blood-brain barrier came from the gut originally, traveled up to the brain through the bloodstream or the vagus nerve, and now you got candida in your brain. That’s an infection. But it’s low-grade. [00:18:00] And before, like you said, medicine used to just scoff.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: They used to just think that-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Well they scoffed at parasites for years, they scoffed. Even today, I still get it. “Parasite? Are you kidding me? Parasites-”

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Well you always hear the blood is sterile.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: The blood’s clean, it’ll kill you if it gets … Yeah, but it doesn’t always kill you right away. It’ll kill you over a long period of time. I think it was … They even started getting … Because I remember hearing about … Dr. Oz [00:18:30] had a show on parasites, and traditional medicine was going insane.

“Are you kidding me? Parasite, what do you think we live in, the third world? You get parasites and you live in Africa and you’re drinking water right out of the sewer or whatever.” They don’t believe it. They still don’t believe it.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: One of the issues that we talk about a lot when it comes to gut health is this concept of leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome, another way of saying that in research is [00:19:00] intestinal permeability, meaning the ability of something to flow through the intestinal wall that shouldn’t, how permeable is it?

For example, there was another study that basically said that intestinal permeability they found was increased in a significant proportion of Parkinson’s disease patients.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: There you go.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: And what they found interesting as well was that, even with minimal gastrointestinal symptoms … Here you had a bunch of [00:19:30] Parkinson’s patients who had minimal or no digestive complaints, yet had significant increase in intestinal permeability. They had leaky gut. And then the question is, is it the chicken or the egg thing. But it’s still fascinating to think about. Again, that’s a long way of saying that there’s a direct connection.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Yeah, I believe in MS too, autoimmune MS, I really believe in the link to the gut. I am convinced [00:20:00] that, in my own mind, in my own experience, that these people that get MS and Parkinson’s are people that have a major leaky gut. They have a yeast … I always come back to yeast, I know it sounds simplistic, but it’s candida, yeast outside your body, that’s all right, you can make bread with it, it makes bread rise.

But I’ll tell you what, you put yeast or fungus in the body, and that becomes a [00:20:30] superbug. It becomes a parasite. It’s an organism, it’s toxic, it releases mycotoxins in the bloodstream. So it’s not good. That’s why probiotics are so essential, because you know how you beat yeast? You don’t feed it, don’t feed the bears, don’t give them sugar and crappy carbohydrates, because that’s what they live on, and those vegetable oils, I’m convinced [00:21:00] of it, that’s another side effect of the crappy vegetable oils-

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah, they irritate the gut lining big time.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: They irritate the lining, I believe that they create more yeast. So don’t feed it, and secondly, the idea is go after it. You need to have … Yeast hates probiotic, a broad spectrum probiotic. It hates it. Because the enemy to yeast is good bacteria. The more good you have, the more you win against [00:21:30] candida albicans. I’m convinced of it, I see it in the office all the time. It’s amazing.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: All right, well we’re running out of time, so let’s just go through real fast a couple of other reasons why gut health matters.

Here’s another thing. This is interesting, and this kind of baffled researchers for a while, which was the idea that how can gut and diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, be connected? That’s an interesting thing.

But it’s funny, [00:22:00] research has shown, again, that there is a definite difference in the intestinal permeability first of all, which is leaky gut, between individuals with and without type 2 diabetes. Again, there are studies over and over again that show that people with metabolic syndrome have a different gut content, gut microbiota content. Also, they have increased gut permeability, so they have leaky gut. You can go on from there.

You and I talk a lot about the gut-joint axis, [00:22:30] the health of your joints are directly tied into the health of your gut for some people. Some people have arthritis symptoms and they can’t figure out why. It’s not like it’s wear and tear. It’s because they got leaky gut, and it’s causing an inflammatory issue that’s targeting their joints. It’s hitting them specifically in their joints. And in research they actually have something called the joint-gut axis, and you see that.

It started off because they found a high proportion of people with [00:23:00] inflammatory bowel diseases also had joint problems. And they couldn’t figure out the connection, and then they found that there’s a direct connection between the health of the gut and joints. Of course, researchers are now looking at the direct effect that it has on inflammation of the joints and all that kind of stuff.

So it’s interesting. We already talk about this leaky gut, leaky brain, leaky gut, leaky skin, the health-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Leaky gut, leaky lungs.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Leaky lungs, that’s another thing too, how [00:23:30] many kids-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: What is COPD? What is it?

Dr. Martin, Jr.: It’s interesting.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Why is there so much of it today? If you watch American television, every second commercial on drugs, they’re coming out with new drugs for COPD because it’s obviously people … What is the number one killer even today in cancer? Number one, what is the number one cancer? It’s lung cancer.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: The lungs. And lungs are the filtration system in a lot [00:24:00] of ways. The lung-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: It’s fascinating.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: The healthier lungs are definitely connected to the healthier gut, and we see this, there are so many kids-

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Look at asthma.

Dr. Martin, Jr.: Yeah, look at asthma, how many kids have asthma because they got bad guts?

And it makes sense, right, because if you’re clearing your throat a lot, or you have increased mucus production, one of the side effects of being allergic or sensitive to a food is your body just reacts to it, creates this mucus, even the lungs can fill [00:24:30] up, the lungs can create this mucus in there. And your breathing is absolutely connected to the health of your gut.

So you’re right. Skin, like we mentioned, skin’s another one. Skin is a window into the health of the gut a lot of times. We could go on and on and on on the importance of a healthy gut. Listen, it has to do with digestive, we know that, but so many aspects outside [00:25:00] of it.

So this is basically a long way of saying, “If you’ve been on antibiotics, you need to be on probiotics.” Even if you haven’t been, you should be on probiotics. And at the end of the day, if you’re gonna go on probiotics, that’s fine, know that some of your good bacteria may never come back, so you better be on probiotics.

And you have to weigh the risk and the reward all the time. If you’re not sure if it’s an infection, and they’re just saying, “Hey, take an antibiotic,” you may wanna consider it. You may wanna [00:25:30] come at things a little bit differently first, before you jump on that antibiotic train. Again, it’s important to think about these things because it definitely has an effect on our body. So we wanna thank you for listening, and have a great day.

Dr. Martin, Sr.: Thanks for listening to The Doctor Is In podcast from martinclinic.com. If you have any questions, you can reach us at info@martinclinic.com. If you’re not a newsletter subscriber, [00:26:00] you can head to our website and sign up for free. We also have a private Facebook group that you can join. It’s a community of awesome people. Finally, I do a Facebook Live every Thursday morning at 8:30. Join us again next week for a new episode.