The season of sickness is upon us. It is the time of colds, flu, strep, sinus infections, and stomach flu. Everyone is cooped up indoors, and the spread of germs happens faster than the number of times you can wash your hands and sanitize surfaces in a day. If you do get sick with a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics that contain gentamicin, neomycin, streptomycin, cephalosporins, or penicillin. While these antibiotics are needed to get you better, they can also deplete your B vitamin and vitamin K stores.
This blog is not meant to rag on antibiotics and say you should not take them. Antibiotics are part of “sick care” (medical attention needed when you are sick) and should be taken as directed by your doctor. So make sure you listen to your doctor and finish your entire prescription as directed. Keeping your B vitamin and K vitamin stores normal is “preventative care” (the precautions you take to prevent further decline in health).
B vitamins are water soluble (meaning they are absorbed via water) vitamins that play important roles in cellular metabolism. The B vitamins include B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12. All of these vitamins make up the B complex. Because some antibiotics deplete your stores of B vitamins, it is a good idea to take a B complex supplement or eat foods high in B vitamins to help replenish your stores. Foods high in B vitamins include dark green vegetables, pork, salmon, whole wheat, lentils, nuts, and diary products.
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it is absorbed with fat. Vitamin K helps clot the blood and also works with calcium to build strong bones. To ensure that your vitamin K stores are restored after taking antibiotics, eat plenty of leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and dark green lettuces.
If you do not replenish your stores, you may suffer from the effects of gas, bloating, and a decrease in the absorption of nutrients resulting in malnutrition. As you recover from your sickness, make sure to re-inoculate the good bacteria in your digestive system with probiotics to ensure proper nutrient absorption during your recovery. Get lots of rest so you can bounce back to your old life good as new!