I often find that athletes are so set on getting back to the field of play or a competition or training session that they immediately jump to quick fix es even though other therapies are available.
A common example is a respiratory infection, nasal congestion where an athlete will take an antibiotic right away trying to “knock it out” so that they can get right back on the field of play.
Little do they realize that there is a 90% plus chance that they have a viral infection and the antibiotic will be useless. Though it seems many who take antibiotics for viral infections do enjoy some placebo effect.
There are of course athletes who due to constant travel and eating out end up with food poisoning who either require antibiotics or who see a practitioner who isn’t versed in natural approaches to food poisoning and prescribe a round of antibiotics.
Or maybe it’s for dental issues or even major or minor surgery that athletes end up on 1-2 rounds of antibiotics.
What I want athletes and their coaches to understand is that each round of antibiotics is impacting their performance. Antibiotics ar e not a benign, no side effect intervention.
Antibiotics are powerful and have saved countless lives but with this power comes undeniable side effects.
For instance athletes taking amoxicillin demonstrated a massive 95% decrease in microbiome diversity. Fortunately, the gut flora can bounce back, that is the miracle of the human body but with each dose of antibiotics the ability to return to a diverse capable bacterial ecosystem decreases.
A lack of microbial diversity affects optimal digestion but also the autonomic nervous system, immune balance, energy creation, and the inflammatory cascade to name a few. It also makes the athlete more susceptible to infections, anxiety and depression. All this culminates in lower performance and increased risk of injury.
It is paramount for athletes to build up their microbiome and if they have taken antibiotics to take special care to support their bacterial diversity.
This can be supported by eating whole, colorful and fermented foods and taking specific probiotic strains. The most advantageous families of bacteria being from the lactobacillus and bifidobacterium species. These specific species even without antibiotic suppression have been shown to help with anxiety and depression.
If your diet is loaded with processed foods and you have required antibiotics, you will not be performing at peak capacity. Support your microbiome and enjoy this seemingly silent performance advantage!