Health Podcast VITATALK: Darmflora adé! When antibiotics invade the gut 2

Health Podcast VITATALK: Darmflora adé! When antibiotics invade the gut

Intestinal flora: what is it?

As an intestinal flora, it refers to the totality of all microorganisms that colonize the gut of humans and animals. These are primarily bacteria. The intestinal flora belongs to the human microbiome, which understands all the microorganisms that attach to the human body. These billions of bacteria in the human gut are responsible for digesting food, producing vitamins and boosting the immune system to protect against pathogenic peers.

However, our gut microcosm is particularly prone to decay. If the intestinal flora is off balance from infection, diabetes, obesity, inflammatory and neurological diseases, according to Dr. Med. Sophia Forslund, Swedish bioinformatics scientist at MDC Berlin.

VITATALK Health Podcast: When an antibiotic destroys the gut flora

Why do antibiotics cause diarrhea?

Antibiotics fight off bacteria that cause infections. In diseases caused by viruses, the antibiotic has no effect. The gut microbiome is made up of different groups of bacteria. Some are more in the mouth, throat or lungs, others are found in the gut or part of the intestinal flora. So there are different antibiotics for different bacteria, explains Eva Lauprecht.

Sports and inflammation of the heart muscle

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Antibiotics and sports: is it acceptable?


The antibiotic does not act in a specific place but spreads throughout the body. This is a problem in the context of the intestinal flora, as every antibiotic applied attacks not only "bad bacteria" but also "good bacteria". It inhibits not only the growth of the bacteria that cause the disease, but also the bacteria that promote the immune system. After taking antibiotics, the original composition and diversity of the gut bacteria are out of balance. The imbalance between bad (purulent bacteria) and good (lactobacteria) bacteria causes intestinal problems and frequent diarrhea.

What is ABS?

What is ABS? ABS (Antibiotic Stewardship) describes a program that aims to ensure the optimal, targeted distribution of antibiotics in infectious diseases. The use of antibiotics needs to be improved with each individual patient and therefore it is necessary to fight the infection as best as possible and with few side effects.

Antibiotic protection and strengthening: pre- or probiotics?

Probiotics are individual strains of good bacteria in the gut that are in the form of eg dietary supplements taken orally. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are nourishing good bacteria in the gut that act like fertilizers or nutrients. According to Eva Lauprecht's study, the intestinal flora regenerated significantly better after the addition of prebiotics than without further support. If you want to support your gut while taking antibiotics, you can include prebiotic foods in your diet, preferably in cooked form.

Prebiotic foods include:

  • chicory
  • garlic
  • bow
  • leek

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Our experts

Anne Eva Lauprecht, Head of Infection Prevention and Hospital Hygiene, Evang. Essen-Mitte Clinics
Dr. Sofia Forslund, Wirt-Microbiome Research Group Cardiovascular Factors, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine at Helmholtz Association