Antibiotics: the Good, the Bad, and the Super Ugly!

Let me start by saying this is NOT a post meant to bash all things medicine. Functional Medicine is about bringing the best of conventional to meet the best of holistic medicine to create a happy place in the middle. So, I thank the Lord for antibiotics! Truly, they have saved many lives. But, I think many of us know the, dare I say, epidemic that is occurring. Yes. I went that far. Antibiotics are amazing when needed, but the overprescribing and overuse of antibiotics NEEDS. TO. STOP!

Why? Glad you asked.

This answer is two-fold. 1) Each time you take an antibiotic, you are killing bacteria…duh. But there are certain bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, therefore, live on even after your course of medication has ended. They reproduce and, according to research, can even pass their resistance onto other bacteria. This creates “Super Bugs,” which have the superpower of resisting antibiotics, as we stated. This means they can lead to more complications and even death since the antibiotics won’t work. Scary thought!

2) When you take antibiotics, you kill bacteria. We have established this. But, you don’t just kill bad bacteria. You also kill your good bacteria in your microbiome. Whether that’s your skin’s microbiome with antibacterial soaps and creams, your gut flora with oral antibiotics, or your oral microbiome with Triclosan in your toothpaste. Killing your good bacteria makes you more susceptible to illnesses and things like yeast infections (candida), IBS symptoms, and overall GI upset as the bad bacteria begin to win the war on your depleting good bacteria.

So, there’s the problem! Now, what’s a solution? Well, the best solution is for physicians and practitioners to stop overprescribing antibiotics. But, the next best thing…maybe even better, is to educate ourselves in when we truly need antibiotics vs when other options are available.

Here are 3 tips when it comes to antibiotics:

1) Antibiotics do NOT help viruses. They will not instantly make you feel better if you have a cold, the flu, or even many ear infections are actually viral. There are many natural remedies I talk about on my Instagram page, but just know that you don’t always have to take antibiotics for every illness! They can do more harm than good when unnecessary.

2) PLEASE take probiotics or eat probiotic rich foods while taking antibiotics. Many practitioners say to alternate them with your antibiotics, at least 2-4 hours of each other, because they will wage war if taken at the same time. Some other practitioners say to wait until your antibiotic course is complete to start taking probiotics - I will leave that discussion up to you and your practitioner. Probiotic-rich foods include fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt (but watch the sugar on just any yogurt), and kombucha.

3) Lastly, as I mentioned before, there are plausible and greatly effective natural remedies for different illnesses. Feel empowered to use them! Many people think that all natural remedies are a hoax or take way longer than medications. While the latter may be true in some cases, I have found the opposite more often than not. I mean, really, how many times have you taken an antibiotic, only to have to switch antibiotics because you weren’t taking the right one, then you still feel crummy the next several days to weeks (probably because your gut is out of whack), then just end up getting sick again? Whereas, if you didn’t take antibiotics in the first place (if not completely necessary), and tried a natural remedy such as garlic oil in your ear for an ear infection, you wouldn’t have to deal with side effects of antibiotics many people complain about. Just throwing that out there!

In summary,

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions the next time your provider prescribes an antibiotic. KNOW what you are putting in your or your child’s body & why

  • Not everything can be solved by an antibiotic like colds, flu, or bronchitis

  • Probiotic supplements or foods

  • Don’t be afraid of natural remedies! I’ll be sure to write some posts on those


Please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you would like to see more of on the blog! Natural remedies? Talking about certain illnesses? Let me know! As always, let’s keep health simple, so it’s something you can love.


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