Probiotics And Antibiotics In
There is no doubt that antibiotics have an essential role to play in modern medicine in preventing and curing bacterial infections. They have saved millions of lives worldwide since their development and mass distribution in the 1940s. Bacterial infections are no longer the most common cause of death in the modern world, predominantly as a result of the action of antibiotics1. However, in recent times it has become increasingly recognised that antibiotics negatively affect our gut microbiome2.
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More Research Is Needed To Clearly Understand Probiotics
Though researchers don’t have the full picture yet, the National Institute of Health says there is evidence to suggest probiotics might be helpful for certain health conditions.
For example, in a review published in Antibiotics, across multiple studies, researchers found that probiotics can help relieve diarrhea caused by taking antibiotics. On average 8% of people who took a probiotic experienced antibiotic-associated diarrhea compared to almost 18% of people who did not take a probiotic.
Two stand-out strains that the researchers found helped were L. rhamnosus GG and S. boulardii. The dosage, however, varied among the different studies ranging anywhere from as little as 106 colony forming units to 1010 CFU taken one to two times a day for one to two weeks straight.
And another review, published in 2014 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that probiotics helped ease constipation in adults, including upping stool frequency and decreasing bloating. When it came to boosting stool frequency, for example, the B. lactis strain seemed to be the most effective, resulting in an additional 1.5 go’s weekly.
While this difference was statistically significant, it is a very small effect, if you think about it. And it may be that some people respond better than others, though researchers don’t yet know how to identify them.
How Long Should You Take Probiotics
After analyzing the studies, we believe probiotics via food or supplement is a staple of long-term health. We wont say its an absolute must that you take a probiotic supplement indefinitely. However, we believe doing so will be of immense benefit to most people, regardless of age or current health.
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How Many Probiotics Should You Take
The first thing to know about probiotics is that they come in far larger doses than most other supplements or nutrients.
While dosage can vary, American Family Physician recommends children take 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units of probiotics per day, and suggests adults consume 10 to 20 billion.
Additionally, some research shows theres potential value in consuming multiple strands of probiotics daily rather than just one.
These findings suggest that probiotic-rich foods, like Cleveland Kitchen sauerkraut, pack multiple strands of beneficial bacteria that can be more valuable than probiotic supplements with far fewer strands.
So, instead of opting for a single supplement with one billion CFU, try a few tablespoons of sauerkraut, or other fermented veggies, for up to 100 million CFU in a more diverse and flavorful package.
There Are Natural Ways To Prevent And Treat This Painful Disease That Affects Many People Over The Age Of 50
Aggressive treatments for diverticultis, including surgery and antibiotics, may be overused, according to a recent study published in JAMA.
No one who has ever suffered from diverticulitis is lucky, but some people are able to get through the intense attack of lower abdominal pain relatively unscathed. The unlucky diverticulitis patients have a different story, one that can include complications, hospitalization, surgery, or chronic disease that will have an ongoing effect. Fortunately, natural medicine can help prevent and treat this painful disease.
Associated with the modern Western diet and lifestyle, diverticular disease is the most common disease of the colon in the Western world.1 While it is most prevalent in people over the age of 50 in the United States and Europe, it is beginning to affect more people worldwide, at younger ages.2
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When Should I Take A Probiotic
Because supplements like probiotics aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, each probiotic supplement may come with different directions on dosing and timing. The most important advice is to choose a time you’ll actually stick to, especially if you have trouble remembering to take pills in the first place. “Consistency is the key with taking probiotics if one wants to reap the potential benefits,” Dr. Asike says.
While the time of day is ultimately up to you, this expert suggests that probiotics may be most effective if you plan to take them about 30 minutes before a meal and most effective if you take your supplement before breakfast. Probiotics will have a greater effect in your small intestine if you take them before you eat: “During a fast or prior to eating, the stomach won’t be as acidic and this will allow the probiotic capsule or tablet to be able to make its way into the intestine,” he explains.
Adding a probiotic into your routine first thing in the A.M., then, will likely keep your stomach from sabotaging your efforts. “Breakfast is usually eaten around the same time daily, and tends to be smaller and more easily digested,” Dr. Asike says.
How Might Probiotics Work
Probiotics may have a variety of effects in the body, and different probiotics may act in different ways.
- Help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms or help your bodyâs community of microorganisms return to a healthy condition after being disturbed
- Produce substances that have desirable effects
- Influence your bodyâs immune response.
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The Long And Short Of It
You need to keep taking your probiotic supplements for the effects to last. If you stop taking them, your gut bacteria are likely to return to their pre-supplementation condition within one to three weeks. This message I received from Alison recently sums it up nicely:
If anyone is considering buying any Just For Tummies supplements, I can verify they definitely work! I had IBS, acid reflux and bloating, and all my symptoms cleared up after I started taking the For Women probiotic capsules and Digestive Enzymes and that was after 30 years of suffering. However, a few weeks ago, in a bid to cut down on my outgoings, I thought it would be OK to stop taking the supplements, but ALL my problems and symptoms returned! So I am living proof that these products work. Thank you, Linda, for all your advice and the fabulous products I clearly cant live without. I have since restocked, and will do whatever I can to keep taking the supplements so that I can stay symptom-free.
Probiotics Can Make Diarrhea Go Away Faster
The research showed that probiotics help: They shortened the illness by one day on average. In some studies, researchers counted how many of the people had no more diarrhea after three days:
- Without treatment: About 34 out of 100 people who didnt take probiotics were diarrhea-free after three days.
- With treatment: About 55 out of 100 people who took probiotics were diarrhea-free after three days.
In other words, probiotics made the diarrhea go away faster in 21 out of 100 people.
But it isnt clear whether some probiotic foods and products are more effective than others. So there may be differences between yogurt, capsules and powder, or between lactic acid and other microorganisms.
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Are Probiotics Useless If Not Refrigerated
Even long-term exposure to room temperature conditions will adversely impact most probiotic strains. The beneficial impact of these products depends on the fact that thebacteria are alive. Several stores have dedicated fridges for their probiotic products. If you are looking for a way to keep your probiotics alive, you may want to consider using a humidifier.
Humidifiers work by keeping the air in the room at a constant temperature, which is ideal for maintaining the health of your bacteria. You can also use an air conditioner to help keep the humidity in your home.
How Effective Are Probiotics
Researchers are currently unsure how effective probiotic supplements are for treating conditions. Theres constant research on the topic. While many research studies have had positive results on the impact of probiotic supplements, more research is still needed.
Its also important to keep in mind that unlike medications, dietary supplements do not need to be approved by the FDA. This means that manufacturers can sell supplements simply with claims of safety and effectiveness.
Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement or giving one to your child. Supplements might interfere with medicines you may be taking. If you are pregnant or breast feeding, check with your provider before taking any supplement.
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What Happens If Refrigerated Probiotics Get Warm
If you expose the strains to high temperatures, they can die quickly. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum are both susceptible to prolonged exposure to temperatures above 140°F . Probiotics can be stored at room temperature for up to two weeks. However, they should be refrigerated when not in use. If you are not sure whether or not a particular strain is suitable for use, ask your health care provider for advice.
Probiotics + Prebiotics = The Ultimate Gut Health Combination
Probiotics are most definitely superheroes when it comes to rebalancing your microbiome and reducing lipopolysaccharide levels.
But probiotics trusty sidekick, prebiotics, can help push the process along, too.
Prebiotics are essentially food for your good bacteria. And if your good bacteria eat well, they grow in numbers.
Feeding your good bacteria prebiotics will help your probiotics accomplish their tasks — up your good bacteria count, cut your bad bacteria count, and reduce inflammation.
Prebiotics come in natural forms in certain types of foods. But they can be concentrated into supplement form for extra strength too.
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Are Probiotics Safe For Kids
Probiotics are safe for most children, but you should always ask your pediatrician first. Children with autoimmune disorders or compromised immune systems usually shouldnt use probiotics. This includes children who were born prematurely. Children with digestive disorders and children who have had abdominal surgery also shouldnt have probiotics unless their pediatrician recommends them as part of your childs treatment plan.
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.
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Mistake #: Youre Not Taking The Right Dose
Like mentioned previously, the dose must be proven effective to make a claim on package in Canada. A dose is measured in colony-forming units . Look for a product with at least 10 billion CFU, because that appears to be a minimum dosage across the scientific literature, and take as directed, says Nielsen.
The best way to ensure youre getting the most out of your probiotics, experts say, is to follow a balanced high-fibre food plan, understand the type of probiotic youre taking, review its clinical research, take the appropriate dose and store them according to the package directions. And if you have any concerns talk to your health care provider. Then youll have no worries that your probiotics are failing you.
What You Should Eat During Antibiotic Therapy
And dont stop with supplementseating foods that are rich in probiotics and prebiotics can help your stomach stay strong. Prebiotics are the high fiber foods that your body cant digest. As they pass through your digestive tract, they feed the probiotics living there. In other words, they help the good bacteria in your gut flourish.
When youre taking antibiotics, its a good idea to eat a diet thats rich in both prebiotics and probiotics.
Try eating these prebiotic rich foods, such as:
- Leafy bitter greens, like dandelion greens, seaweed, and spinach
- Onions, garlic, and leeks
- Roots, like chicory root and jicama root
- Jerusalem artichoke
These can all help to increase beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus.
Then, add more probiotic-rich foods to your diet, like:
- Fermented food like raw, unpasteurized sauerkraut , tempeh, and kimchi
- Yogurt , kefir, and buttermilk
If you are trying to incorporate pre-and probiotic foods into your diet, be sure to double check with your doctor or pharmacist about foods and drinks that may interfere with your antibiotics.
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Can We Overdose Or Become Dependent On Probiotics If We Use Them In The Long Term
One concern people often have is whether their digestive system will become lazy if they take probiotics every day. But, rest assured, probiotics are not thought to be like laxatives which can cause the gut to become ‘lazy’ and reliant on them in order to function. There is no current research to suggest the body becomes dependent on probiotics.
Healthcare practitioners can read more on the subject of long-term use of probiotics, and whether that can lead to dependency, in the following FAQ: Is there a risk of dependency when taking probiotics?
In regards to overdosing, even when taken on a daily basis and at high doses it is extremely difficult to overdose on probiotics. For more on this subject you may like to read our FAQ Is it possible to overdose on probiotics? and Can I take two probiotic supplements at the same time?
But Why Take Them On An Ongoing Basis
Many people choose to take probiotics every day, whilst some might just use them periodically or whenever they feel that they need a little support. Whichever way you find works best for you, it is worth remembering that many factors can negatively affect the probiotic colonies in our gut.
So, whilst you might think that once you have established good gut flora that it can then be left to its own devices, in reality our lifestyles are now so challenging for our microbiome that many of us need to nurture it on an ongoing basis. If you would like to learn more, read our article on the gut microbiome – all you need to know.
Most people know that antibiotics do not differentiate between the good and bad bacteria in our guts, and therefore negatively impact on our probiotic colonies, but even if we don’t take them ourselves, it’s possible there may be other sources of antibiotics in our food chain, such as in meat and other animal products. These have a similarly negative impact on our gut flora.
In addition, we are often exposed to chemicals such as chlorine in our drinking water. Chlorine is a strong anti-microbial agent, and whilst it helps to keep undesirable bacteria out of our water supply, it also damages our delicate gut flora.
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Are Probiotics Safe For Everyone
While research suggests that probiotics could be helpful for IBS, diarrhoea, constipation and ulcerative colitis, they may not be suitable for everyone.
For some, theres a very small risk of sepsis. For example, if you have a compromised immune system or have just had surgery, taking probiotics can pose a risk. Conditions that can weaken your immune system include cancer and HIV. Speak to your doctor if youre unsure whether probiotics are right for you.
Side effects of probiotics can include bloating or wind when you start taking them. This should go away after a few days, although you may need to reduce the dose if these symptoms persist. If side effects continue, stop taking the probiotics or speak to your doctor.
How To Reduce Probiotic Side Effects
If you are taking probiotics and experience any of the above side effects, you dont need to stop taking them completely. Lowering the dosage is often the best way to keep any gastrointestinal discomfort or other side effects at bay.
Most often, your body may just need to adjust to the sudden dose of beneficial bacteria. This initial adjustment period should usually only last the first few days as your guts microflora begin to rebalance. Try to reduce your dosage by half until the symptoms have disappeared then proceed to the suggested dose.
Along with reducing your dosage, you should also:
- Take your probiotics on an empty stomach Probiotics can produce gas when combined with certain foods. Taking your probiotics on an empty stomach ensures that that wont happen and ensures the maximum survivability of the beneficial bacteria. Take your probiotics at least 30 minutes before you eat. If you are still experiencing problems, try taking your probiotics on an empty stomach before bed.
- Drink plenty of water Many of the side effects are a result of your digestive system undergoing the process of detoxification. Staying hydrated will speed up the process and keep you from getting dehydrated if you have diarrhea.
- Stay patient It can take up to two weeks for your body to adjust to the probiotics before the benefits kick in.
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