Antibiotics unmasked: understanding their hidden impact on the gut microbiome and the healing power of probiotics

While antibiotics have revolutionised medicine and saved countless lives, we now know their effects come at a price. Recent research revealed that even a brief antibiotic treatment could significantly disrupt the delicate balance in the gut microbiome, which plays an important role in our health, from helping control digestion to strengthening the immune system.

The complicated relationship between antibiotics and the gut microbiome

The problem with antibiotics

Even though antibiotics are indispensable, we must also be aware of all the risks they come with. We are likely all familiar with the concerning issue of antibiotic resistance. This occurs when overuse of antibiotics makes the bacteria resistant to them, causing the treatments to become less effective over time.

However, the impact of antibiotics on our gut health is an equally pressing concern that was proven in recent studies. Even a short course of antibiotic treatment can disrupt the delicate balance of the gut microbiome, leading to various potential health problems like diarrhoea, flatulence, nausea or stomach cramps.

The remarkable world of gut microbiota

Our body is full of millions and millions of microscopic bacteria, yeasts and viruses collectively known as microbes. In fact, if we count all the cells in our body, we’re only 43% human; the rest are actually bacteria.

The gut microbiome is a large collection of microorganisms that mainly live in the large intestine. It can weigh between 1 and 2 kilos and functions as an additional organ that is crucial for human health. It can help us digest food, control the immune system, and support the health of our heart and brain.

The gut

A compromised microbiome balance and reduced microbial diversity that occurs after antibiotic treatment can have severe consequences for human health. Decreased diversity of microorganisms can make us more vulnerable to infections from germs, which cause diarrhoea and colitis.

Due to microbiota’s important role in our bodies, many studies** have concluded that microbial imbalance in the gut can be related to much more serious conditions than just diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Some of them include obesity, diabetes, asthma and allergies, and a recent study** even connected oral antibiotics to an increased risk of colon cancer.

Though every individual responds to antibiotics differently, studies** with healthy participants have revealed that even a single course of antibiotic treatment can drastically change the microbiome. In some cases, restoring the original species composition in the gut may require several months or even years.

Three ways to naturally protect your microbiome from antibiotics

Even though the evidence on the effect of antibiotics on our gut balance is alarming, there are ways we can help protect and restore our microbiome. Some of the ways you can achieve that are:

A varied diet

1. Make your diet more varied

Eating a variety of foods leads to a diverse microbiome composition and good gut health. Try to include more vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Whole grains like barley, quinoa, millet and brown rice contain high amounts of fibre and good carbs, which are digested by gut bacteria and benefit weight loss and diabetes management.

2. Make prebiotic foods a part of your diet

Prebiotics are typically high-fibre foods that act as food for the healthy bacteria in our gut, stimulating their growth and improving the microbiome’s balance. Some examples of prebiotic foods include chicory, banana, asparagus, apples and oats.

3. Consider eating more fermented foods

Fermented foods like kefir, yoghurt, sauerkraut, and pickles are a great source of healthy bacteria (mainly Lactobacilli) that can reduce the number of harmful organisms in the gut.

4. Limit the intake of artificial sweeteners and processed foods

Processed and fried foods rich in trans fats are thought to affect the health of your gut negatively. Similarly, some evidence** shows that artificial sweeteners may raise blood sugar levels by promoting the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria.

Marta’s journey to restore her microbiome and reclaim her health

My name is Marta, and I’m in my mid-40s. I want to share my story about the problems I had with my gut after antibiotic treatments. It all happened last winter; I started experiencing some urinary issues, and at first, I thought they would go away on their own, but when this didn’t happen, I finally went to see my doctor. He said I had a urinary infection and prescribed me some antibiotics. The medicine soon helped me. But about a month after I stopped taking them, my problems were back, and I had to do another round of antibiotics! I had to take them for longer, and the dosage was much stronger.

After I finally stopped the treatment, I noticed my digestion was completely thrown off; I had stomach cramps and occasional diarrhoea and was feeling gassy no matter what I ate. I thought I caught some sort of stomach bug on top of everything else, but my doctor said that wasn’t the case. I felt hopeless and frustrated because I did not know what to do. Thankfully, one of my closest friends is a nutritionist, so I decided to ask her for advice.

When I shared my concerns with her, she immediately suspected that antibiotics might have disrupted my gut microbiome. She explained how antibiotics can affect the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut, leading to digestive issues and diarrhoea. She was horrified to learn that my doctor hadn’t recommended any probiotics to help restore my gut health during and after the antibiotic treatment.


“The recommendation that helped me get rid of my digestive issues.”

Following my friend’s advice, I decided to give probiotics a try. She suggested I look for a product with various strains of lactic acid bacteria, particularly Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, so I decided to do some more googling before buying anything.

While researching the various probiotic supplements, I learned I needed to pay extra attention to how they are made. As it turns out, many probiotics may be ineffective because the beneficial bacteria are not protected from digestive juices, and only a small amount reaches the gut. And I didn’t want that; I wanted a product that would help me get rid of my digestive issues.

After thorough research, I found a fantastic product with a patented blend of 9 lactic acid bacteria cultures. It contained the strains my friend mentioned and even more additional ones! It also had Jerusalem artichoke and chicory, which promised to further support digestion and the immune system. I bought the product and started taking it regularly.

I must say the probiotics had a very positive impact on my health. Gradually, I began noticing improvements in my digestion, and my energy levels increased, too. Soon, I felt completely healthy again.

Now, I feel 100% back on track, and I credit this to the power of probiotics. I am truly grateful for finding a solution that worked for me. It’s been an eye-opening journey, and I’m happy to have learned about the importance of gut health and the potential benefits of probiotics for overall well-being.

Synbiotic Premium – the ultimate ally for your gut during & after antibiotic treatment

This exceptional probiotic supplement is a science-backed solution for the gut in a convenient capsule form. Formulated with natural-based ingredients, it plays a vital role in rebalancing your microbiota and fostering a healthier gut environment.

The standout characteristic of Synbiotic Premium is its remarkable patented combination of 9 bacterial strains known as Megaflora 9 Evo. Having so many strains in one product is essential, as each strain provides a different advantage to the gut. Thanks to Megaflora 9 Evo, our formula guarantees comprehensive support to the gut microbiome.

Besides its ingredients, Synbiotic Premium has another ace up its sleeve: a special protective matrix called ProbioAct® with a guaranteed 90% survival rate of beneficial bacteria. This patented technology ensures the survival of bacteria on their journey to the intestine, where they take effect.

This high survival rate makes Synbiotic Premium 90*x more effective compared to regular probiotics, meaning that the 1.1 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) present in its Megaflora 9 Evo complex are as powerful as 99 billion CFUs found in a typical unprotected product.

The formula was further enriched with Jerusalem artichoke extract, which supports the immune system, and chicory extract, which helps digestion and liver health. This unique mix of ingredients offers a broad range of benefits for the gut, making Synbiotic Premium the best solution for your gut during and after antibiotic treatment.

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*Disclaimer: The effects of the product may vary between individuals and could differ from those described on the website. Our products are not intended to prevent, treat, or cure any disease or serious illness. Maintaining a  balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle is important.

** Sources:

Patangia DV, Anthony Ryan C, Dempsey E, Paul Ross R, Stanton C. Impact of antibiotics on the human microbiome and consequences for host health. Microbiology Open. 2022 Feb;11(1):e1260. doi: 10.1002/mbo3.1260. PMID: 35212478; PMCID: PMC8756738.

Wang J, Xiang Q, Gu S, Gu Y, Yao M, Huang W, Gao W, Tang LL. Short- and Long-Term Effects of Different Antibiotics on the Gut Microbiota and Cytokines Level in Mice. Infect Drug Resist. 2022;15:6785-6797

Fessl, S. (2022, May 5). What happens to the gut microbiome after taking antibiotics? The Scientist Magazine®.

Fast facts about the human microbiome - UW department’s web server. (n.d.).

Robertson, R. (2023, April 3). How does your gut microbiome impact your overall health? Healthline.