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Jillian Micheals: Beware the Impact of NSAIDs, Antibiotics, Aspirin and More

Updated: Feb 9

Podcast Release Date: 1/2/2023

Podcast Length: 57:35

4 Key Takeaways

  1. Over the counter drugs for inflammation, such as Advil, can weaken your gut lining, reduce absorption of healthy nutrients and increase your risk of getting sick

  2. To reduce indigestion, do not eat large meals before bed and avoid over consumption of sugar, caffeine and alcohol

  3. Anti-acid medications ruin the environment for healthy gut bacteria growth, this can cause a wide variety of health issues

  4. Reevaluate the effectiveness of the medications you are taking every few months. If the drug is not fixing the ailment, then talk to your doctor about getting off it.

In this episode Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a renowned gastroenterologist at Georgetown University Hospital, joins Jillian to delve into the impact of medications on the gut microbiome. Dr. Chutkan, who is also the founder of the Digestive Center for Women and author of the best-selling book 'The Microbiome Solution', sheds light on the effects of Advil, NSAIDs, antibiotics, aspirin, SSRIs, benzodiazepines, antihistamines, proton pump inhibitors and more.

She critiques the "pill for every ill" approach of our medical system and outlines the side effects of these drugs, when it's appropriate to take them and, most importantly, for how long. Dr. Chutkan also highlights the three key aspects of gut health - stomach acid, gut lining, and gut biome - and provides practical tips on how to take care of them. The episode also includes a discussion on the root causes of ulcers and ways to heal them.

The Gut Microbiome

  1. The gut is where food is broken down and then absorbed into the bloodstream

  2. The microbiome is a combination of millions of bacteria microbes (little bugs) that live inside human beings and aid in bodily functions

  3. These little microbes can impact how we absorb nutrition from food and prevent us from contracting diseases

  4. They also affect things like cognitive (brain) function and hormone balance

  5. There are more bacteria inside our bodies than actual human cells!

  6. Some drugs people take for different reasons can kill or hinder good microbe-bacteria

  7. This can cause increased risk of disease

NSAIDs and Gut Health

  1. NSAIDs are drugs people take to reduce pain and inflammation

  2. They can be really effective to reduce swelling

  3. These drugs are linked to increased chances of gut bleeding and ulcers

  4. This weakens the gut lining causing "leaky gut"

  5. Increased risk of viral infection and toxin exposure

  6. Decreased absorption of healthy nutrients

  7. They also limit growth of healthy bacteria

  8. The chance of gut dysfunction is increased with dose and duration

  9. The most commonly used NSAIDs are Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin)

Anti-acids and the Gut

  1. Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States

  2. These are drugs like Nexium and Prilosec

  3. Designed to shut off acid production in the stomach

  4. Prolonged use is directly linked to weakened immune function

  5. Might be linked to increased cognitive decline

  6. Decreased acidity in the stomach makes it difficult for good microbes to survive

  7. Stomach acid is important for digestion of food

  8. Zollinger- Ellison syndrome

  9. Hyper production of stomach acid

  10. Only affects 1 in 1 million Americans

  11. Most peoples indigestion is do to poor valve closure between the stomach and esophagus

  12. The valve can be disrupted by over eating and from too much sugar

  13. Ways to avoid indigestion:

  14. Eat larger meals early in the day and small meals at night

  15. consume less caffeine and alcohol

  16. Avoid laying flat after a large meal

  17. Taking a probiotic is not enough to fix these issues

When is it Appropriate to Take Medications?

  1. Only take medications after talking to your doctor and confirming that it is absolutely necessary

  2. It is important to re-address drug usage after 3 months

  3. If the medication does not fix the issue then talk to a doctor about stopping it

  4. Dr. Robynne Chutkan explains that it is important not to take drugs like antibiotics if you are only slightly sick

  5. These drugs hurt microbes and make bacteria stronger

  6. The human body can effectively resolve most illnesses without using over the counter and prescribed medications

  7. Adhering to healthy lifestyle habits can drastically reduce sickness frequency and intensity

The Role of Big Pharma in Medicine

  1. Doctors get a lot of continuing education after medical school

  2. Many of these courses are funded by drug companies

  3. Some doctors are monetarily incentivised to prescribe certain drugs

  4. Without thorough exam patients are misdiagnosed and prescribed the wrong drug

  5. Dr. Chutkan says she has seen many patients who have autoimmune disorders wrongly prescribed multiple rounds of antibiotics

How to Heal an Ulcer?

  1. Ulcers are sores in your stomach

  2. They can be caused by taking certain medicines

  3. usually from NSAIDs

  4. Can be caused by Helicobater pylori (bacteria in the gut)

  5. To treat an ulcer:

  6. Stop taking any medicine that could be causing it

  7. Take probiotics

  8. Eat healthy foods

  9. Sometimes antibiotics are necessary for treating H pylori

Drugs for Anxiety and Depression

  1. Taking Xanax (a tranquilizer), Zoloft or Prozac may not have bad side effects in the short-term but taking these drugs over time could lead to decreased brain function later in life


We should not accept the notion that it's normal to rely heavily on medications. Instead we should explore alternative methods that lead in the direction of practicing healthy habits. We must work to maintain our health and pursue longevity. It is important to reduce reliance on medication whenever possible.

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