Benefits Of Taking Probiotics While On Antibiotics
Antibiotics are great at fighting a bacterial infection. But while they are attacking the bad bacteria, they can also destroy some of your good bacteria. This can lead to unpleasant side effects, like gastrointestinal problems or a yeast infection. Probiotics have been shown to help alleviate those side effects and possibly shorten the duration of your symptoms.
Probiotics are living microorganisms found in healthy bodies and certain foods. You can also get them from probiotic supplements 1,2. Not only are probiotics good for your gut, they are also beneficial for immune, urinary, and vaginal health3,4. Here’s how probiotics can help your body stay balanced, especially when you’re taking an antibiotic.
Antibiotics Can Impact Your Digestive System
Not only do antibiotics kill off bad bacteria, they also reduce the bacteria that balance the bodys digestive system. For those who may suffer from an upset stomach or more serious gastrointestinal conditions, theres evidence that some probiotics help you avoid antibiotic-associated diarrhea, infection-induced diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome 1. These friendly bacteria inhibit pathogens, or disease-causing germs1. But even if you are not on an antibiotic, you can benefit from probiotics to help balance your body’s gut bacteria3,4.
Antibiotics Can Bring on Vaginal Infections
Probiotic Supplements Can Help Replenish Healthy Bacteria Strains
Combine Probiotic Foods With A Daily Supplement
Keeping A Healthy System
Antibiotics are an important tool for doctors. They can help prevent the really bad bacteria from taking over your body and they have saved countless lives. In the process, your digestive system will get hammered. A diverse and well-formulated probiotic with the right strains can go a long way to helping you recover.
What Is The Gut Microbiome
Our digestive tract is home to trillions of bacteria as well as fungi and viruses these are known as the gut microbiome.
The makeup of this biome is largely genetically determined however, it is heavily influenced by several factors such as whether we are born naturally or by cesarean section, if we were breastfed, our use of antibiotics, and our exposure to chemicals, pesticides, and other toxins.
Scientists now know that this microbiome is critical to our overall well-being. Some call it our second brain. Small imbalances can cause significant changes to our mental health and in the appearance of our skin and has been linked to almost every known condition such as Alzheimers disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Type 2 diabetes.
An imbalance may also cause constipation, diarrhea, skin rashes, yeast infections, and a suppressed immune system. Your likelihood of putting on weight also comes down to your microbiome and the influence it has on your response to insulin and thyroid gland function.
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Timing The Dosing Of Your Probiotics
When I have a client on an antibiotic regimen, I typically suggest that to minimize the killing of the probiotic species, to take the antibiotics and the probiotics at least five hours apart. I have found that clinically to work well*. Unfortunately, there is very little research on this unique issue.
However, research does illustrate that starting probiotics at the start of an antibiotic regimen vs. waiting until later does minimize potential adverse side effects from the antibiotic regimen*. The time of day is not typically a big issue, but youll want to keep in mind what times your antibiotic will be dosed as that will dictate the times you can optimally take your probiotic!
Keep Your Gut Healthy
In the meantime, the best thing you can do to ensure long-term optimal health is focus on tending to your microbial garden by protecting and nourishing your good flora.
And, dont forget to look out for antibiotics in your food! Farmers often use antimicrobial medications to fatten up their livestock, so if you eat meat, fish, or dairy, make sure its antibiotic-free.
Its hard to fathom where wed be without the life-saving power of antibiotics.
But, as we move forward responsibly using antibiotics only when absolutely necessary and making sure to support our wondrous gut microbiome along the way we can do so with confidence that were giving our entire body the fortification it needs to live a healthy and vibrant life.
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Probiotics Help Restore Balance In Gut Flora
Probiotics are also recognized as supplements capable of gut flora restoration. Strains most frequently used in probiotics, namely Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, are efficacious in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea due to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, frequently used antibiotic .
The particularly frightening consequence of excessive antibiotic use is Clostridium difficile infection. This type of infection could be life-threatening when caused by multi-resistant strains of this microorganism. The disturbance of gut flora by antibiotics may lead to decreased resistance to dangerous microbes such as Clostridium difficile .
Based on systematic review and meta-analysis of 31 randomized controlled trials including 8672 patients, there are pieces of evidence that indicate the ability of probiotics to prevent Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea . Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea presents the most serious form of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and is linked to significant morbidity and mortality .
So What Are Prebiotics
Prebiotics are compounds that help beneficial gut microorganisms grow and survive.
Prebiotic foods contain complex carbohydrates that cant be digested and dietary fibres that resist digestive processes in the stomach and small intestine.
They pass undigested into the large bowel where they are fermented by the healthy good bacteria.
To be called a prebiotic, they need to undergo the processes above, and be shown in clinical trials to selectively improve the microorganism composition in the gut.
Not all dietary fibres are prebiotic. Common ones include complex carbohydrates called fructo-oligosaccharides, inulin and resistant starch.
You can find foods at the supermarket with added prebiotics, but non-digestible carbohydrates occur naturally in many everyday foods, including:
grains: barley, rye bread, rye crackers, pasta, gnocchi, couscous, wheat bran, wheat bread, oats
legumes: chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, chicory, fennel bulb, garlic, green peas, leek, onion, shallots, spring onion, snow peas, sweetcorn, savoy cabbage
fruit: nectarines, white peaches, persimmon, tamarillo, watermelon, rambutan, grapefruit, pomegranate, dates, figs
nuts: cashews, pistachios.
Additional sources of resistant starch include under-ripe bananas, cooked and cooled rice, cornflour, cooked and cooled potatoes.
For babies, breast milk is naturally rich in oligosaccharides.
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What Probiotics For Antibiotic Side Effects
Typically, it will take the body time to balance the microbiome to healthy, diverse bacteria levels. In fact, research shows that it takes about 6 months to recover from the damage done by antibiotics. And even then, the body might not even be back to its pre-antibiotic state.
Saccharomyces boulardii, a probiotic yeast is particularly good at preventing and alleviating antibiotic-associated diarrhea and travellers diarrhea. Its also a friend to your gut bacteria that supports good bacteria and prevents inflammation.
Lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic bacterium best known for being in yoghurt is also great for your gut. Studies show that its good at treating and preventing infections, and reducing the digestive side effects of antibiotics.
Other bacteria that help recover from antibiotic use include:
- L. casei
Whats New: A Reason To Pair Antibiotics And Probiotics
This meta-analysis reached a similar conclusion as the 2006 meta-analysis: Probiotics appear to be effective in preventing and treating AAD in children and adults receiving a wide variety of antibiotics for a number of conditions. The results were also consistent with those of a new meta-analysis that looked specifically at one pathogenand found a reduction of 66% in C difficile-associated diarrhea in patients taking probiotics with their antibiotics.
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When Should I Take Probiotics When Taking Antibiotics
Generally, with a few exceptions aside, it is best to take our probiotic supplements in the morning with breakfast. If you are taking a probiotic containing the strains Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 and Bifidobacterium lactis Lafti B94, you would still be able to follow this recommendation alongside antibiotics and take both with your brekkie.
However, if you are taking different strains, it is best to give a 2 hour gap between antibiotics and taking the probiotic supplement. So, if you have been instructed by your doctor to take your antibiotics with breakfast, you would take the medication first in this instance and leave a 2 hour gap before taking the other probiotics. Its a good idea to take our supplements with food, so in this case, with your lunch or a mid-morning snack.
Probiotics And Gi Health
Found in yogurts with live bacterial cultures, as well as in other foods and dietary supplements , “probiotic” products continue to multiply on the shelves of grocery stores and vitamin and supplement retailers.
Global sales of probiotic foods and supplements reached $21 billion in 2010 and were projected to reach $31 billion by 2015, according to one market analysis.
But which probiotics are best and in what quantities?
Sydne J. Newberry, PhD, of RAND’s Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center, says this is not yet clear.
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Five Tips For Choosing A Probiotic
Another way is to look for these five tips of what a good probiotic product should have on the label . If the probiotic doesnt meet all five criteria, you should just put it back on the shelf and choose another probiotic.
Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.
Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:
- Developing an infection.
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Probiotics And Antibiotics: An Overview
- Antibiotics deplete the populations of friendly bacteria in the gut and may cause digestive issues so its important to select probiotics to take with antibiotics, dont wait until the course has finished.
- If taking Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 and Bifidobacterium lactis Lafti B94 then take them with breakfast. These strains can be taken at the SAME time as your antibiotic if this is also at breakfast-time.
- If taking a different probiotic supplement, wait at least 2 hours after your antibiotics before taking probiotics.
- It is important to always follow the advice from your doctor, and always take and finish a course of antibiotics as prescribed. Taking probiotics alongside antibiotics may reduce digestive issues and enable you to finish a course, reducing the chances of antibiotic resistance.
- If you have already finished a course of antibiotics before being recommended a friendly bacteria supplement, better late than never by all means take a probiotic now! For next time, you know you can take them during as well as after.
- It simply isn’t a question of antibiotics OR probiotics – it’s a question of antibiotics AND probiotics.
You may also wish to read our FAQ, At what time should I take probiotics?
What Do Probiotics Do
Probiotics have a whole range of benefits. They improve the side effects of antibiotics , which well discuss shortly. But in addition to this, probiotics have been shown to be useful for a wide array of health conditions.
Probiotics can help with the following conditions :
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Cardiovascular disease
- Metabolic disease and diabetes
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The Best Way To Combine Probiotics With Antibiotics
If youre taking antibiotics, I highly recommend taking them with probiotics. In fact, researchers suggest that taking probiotics as early as possible with antibiotics is best for decreasing antibiotic side effects such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea [15
Here are some tips on how to get the most from your probiotic supplement when taking antibiotics.
The Life Inside All Of Us
Microbes & me is a new collaborative series between BBC Future and BBC Good Food.
In the series, well be looking at recent research into the microbiome of bacteria that lives in all of us.
Well be exploring how it affects our health, what could be having detrimental effects on it, and recommending recipes that might help it thrive.
Probiotics have been touted as a treatment for a huge range of conditions, from obesity to mental health problems. One of their popular uses is to replenish the gut microbiome after a course of antibiotics. The logic is antibiotics wipe out your gut bacteria along with the harmful bacteria that might be causing your infection, so a probiotic can help to restore order to your intestines.
But while it might sound like sense, there is scant solid evidence suggesting probiotics actually work if taken this way. Researchers have found that taking probiotics after antibiotics in fact delays gut health recovery.
Part of the problem when trying to figure out whether or not probiotics work is because different people can mean a variety of things with the term probiotic. To a scientist, it might be seen as a living culture of microorganisms that typically live in the healthy human gut. But the powdery substance blister packs on supermarket shelves can bear little resemblance to that definition.
Even when researchers use viable, living bacterial strains in their research, the cocktail varies from one lab to another making it tricky to compare.
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Probiotics Correct Dysbiosis Caused By Antibiotics
A systematic review of 63 trials examined all the available research into probiotic use for dysbiosis . In healthy subjects who experienced a disturbance in their microbiota after antibiotic use, 83% of subjects experienced microbiota recovery after taking probiotics.
Both Lactobacillus/Bifidobacterium probiotics and Saccharomyces boulardii were shown to be effective.
While more research needs to be done on preventing yeast infections specifically, probiotics are shown to generally recover the microbiome after antibiotic use.
What We Do And Dont Know About Concurrent Probiotic And Antibiotic Use
To begin, probiotics will not deactivate the antibiotic or make them not work. It is actually much closer to the opposite, where antibiotics will deactivate/kill probiotics when dosed too close together. The need and relevancy of taking probiotics when on an antibiotic is justifiably increased however, as antibiotics are typically not a very discriminatory killer.
That means that while antibiotics may kill off a lot of the bad bugs causing illness, they will also typically cause a lot of your beneficial bacteria to die and instigate a variety of potential side effects, including diarrhea. Probiotic supplementation can help to offset these potential issues.*
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Side Effects Of Probiotics
The common side effect of probiotics is increased digestive discomfort, such as bloating or gas. This is typically short-lived and resolves in a few days of regularly consuming probiotic supplements or probiotic foods.
More serious side effects are possible, but extremely rare. The bacteria or yeast that is consumed as a probiotic supplement can enter the bloodstream and cause infection. Those who are at increased risk of infection include immunocompromised patients, premature infants, those with short bowel syndrome, anyone with central venous catheters, and patients with cardiac valve disease.
It is, of course, important to discuss any supplementation with your healthcare provider.
Video Answer: Should You Take Probiotics While On Antibiotics
In general, probiotics are good bacteria for your dog’s digestive tract that supports healthy daily digestion.
Giving your best buddy a daily probiotic is one of the best steps you can take toward animal wellness.
probiotics are primarily used in dogs for digestive purposes, but that is not all that they support.
Stomach issues can seriously dampen your pet’s lovable personality and playful self. If your cat or dog appears sluggish, low energy or fatigued, it may be the result of poor gut health. But, you can feed your pet a daily dose of probiotics to get them back on their feet before long!
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Which Probiotics Should You Take With Antibiotics
Your pharmacy probably has shelves filled with different bottles of probiotics. How do you choose the right probiotics to take with your antibiotics? Dr. Bryan Tran, cofounder of DrFormulas, recommends looking for probiotics that have the three Ds:
Dose: The amount of active micro-organisms in a probiotic is measured in colony-forming units, or CFUs. You want a dose with 10 billion CFUs or higher, Dr. Tran says. This dose may appear on the product label as 1 x 1010. And while you may see probiotics with 100 billion or more CFUs, according to Dr. Hoberman, you generally stop reaping added benefits after about 20 billion.
Diversity: The label on a bottle of probiotics will also tell you which bacteria strains the capsules contain. Look for probiotics that have five to 10 unique strains. Studies that compare single-strain probiotics to multi-strain probiotics have found that a variety of strains is more effective at reducing diarrhea, Dr. Tran says.
Delayed-release mechanism: Finally, look for probiotics that use delayed-release capsules. When you take probiotics orally, you expose them to your stomach acid and that reduces the effective dosage that makes it to the gut, Dr. Tran says. Probiotics with delayed-release mechanisms wont release the microorganisms until they go past the stomach.