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How Old Are They?

Something I've learned as I've aged is how much it matters. I'm a fairly fit 70 year old but I would still heed the advice I might glean from this photo: the people in the photo have picked age-appropriate dogs. When you are over, hmm... it's hard to say the age. When you notice that you are not as agile as you once were, even if your heart and muscles are strong, you should stick with small dogs. My current dog is inappropriate for me, weighing in at 100 lbs., so I could never lift her if I needed to get her into the car. More worrisome is walking dogs on a leash: an over-sized dog can permanently injure an over-aged person just from exuberant pulling. 

If you're adding a dog to your household, select an age-appropriately sized dog, one that you can lift, one that can't pull you oer from pulling on the leash. Common sense, right?

Scientific research needs just that common sense.

I have been following with interest a recent discussion about the use of probiotics taken after a course of antibiotics. Chris Kresser has previously recommended probiotics during and after any needed antibiotics, as have I (in this article). Also Dr. Perlmutter recommends probiotics in this video, and in his book Brain Maker, excellent read for anyone concerned about brain health!

Research has been sketchy, but suggestive that infants' microbiome can recover promptly after antibiotics, while older folks' guts take much longer and may never recover. In all age groups nutritional adequacy markedly affects the body's ability to recover, not surprisingly. 

Latest bombshell in the field of probiotic research has us scratching our heads, including Chris Kresser here and me, well, that's why I'm writing this blog post! After antibiotic treatment in both mice and humans, taking a great-sounding, broad-spectrum probiotic... resulted in a slower recover of the natural and healthy gut microbiome! Lactobacillus species were particularly adept in delaying recovery! What did seem to help was a procedure known as "fecal transplant." In this case, stool specimens were collected before antibiotic treatment, and then re-inserted into the subjects' colons after antibiotic treatment: success! Gut recovery.

Well, we're not all going to do that, but perhaps we would be better off jumping back into a highly nutritious diet after antibiotics, and leaving the probiotics on the shelf. Is that true?

Maybe not.

  • This was just one study, let's wait for the second and third study.
  • Taking into account the different effects of age on recovery,  this might be more true for younger rather than older people.
  • Probiotics offer many benefits in transit, whether or not they take up residence in your intestines. 

There is no way to know for sure, and probably the response to antibiotics needs to be individualized. For folks who just rebound after their treatment, perhaps they can just resume normal eating. For folks with minor gut upset or yeast infections, I would recommend managing those symptoms as I would in anyone else. Magnesium helps constipation, Triphala can help with diarrhea or constipation; probiotics of different sorts also help. L-glutamine helps with everything!

Most important: folks with serious gut upset after antibiotics need to be tested! The serious antibiotic-associated diarrhea caused by C. Difficil needs to be identified and treated as soon as possible.

How big is your dog?


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