Take Probiotics During And After Treatment
Taking antibiotics can alter the gut microbiota, which can lead to antibiotic-associated diarrhea, especially in children.
Fortunately, a number of studies have shown that taking probiotics, or live healthy bacteria, can reduce the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea .
One review of 23 studies including nearly 400 children found that taking probiotics at the same time as antibiotics could reduce the risk of diarrhea by more than 50% .
A larger review of 82 studies including over 11,000 people found similar results in adults, as well as children .
These studies showed that Lactobacilli and Saccharomyces probiotics were particularly effective.
However, given that probiotics are usually bacteria themselves, they can also be killed by antibiotics if taken together. Thus, it is important to take antibiotics and probiotics a few hours apart.
Probiotics should also be taken after a course of antibiotics in order to restore some of the healthy bacteria in the intestines that may have been killed.
One study showed that probiotics can restore the microbiota to its original state after a disruptive event, such as taking antibiotics .
If taking probiotics after antibiotics, it may be better to take one that contains a mixture of different species of probiotics, rather than just one.
Study Summary: Probiotics Significantly Reduce Aad
Hempel et al reviewed 82 studies and pooled data from 63 RCTs to identify the relative risk of AAD among patients who received probiotics during antibiotic treatment compared with those who received no probiotics or were given a placebo. The studies encompassed a variety of antibiotics, taken alone or in combination, and several probiotics, including Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, and some combinations.
The outcome: The pooled RR for AAD in the probiotics groups was 0.58 , with a number needed to treat of 13. Although the authors reported that the overall quality of the included trials was poor, a sensitivity analysis of the higher quality studies yielded similar results.
Subgroup analyses by type of probiotic and duration of antibiotic treatment were also consistent with the overall pooled RR. In subgroup analysis by age, a similar decrease in AAD was found among the youngest patients and those between the ages of 17 and 65 years. Among patients older than 65 yearsfor whom there were just 3 studiesa non-significant decrease in risk was found. Twenty-three of the studies assessed adverse outcomes, and none was found.
Double Check With Your Doctor On Mixing Probiotics And Antibiotics
There may be situations where your doctor doesnt want you to take probiotics with antibiotics. So please, for your own safety, check with your doctor to make sure taking antibiotics together with probiotics is the right call for you. The more health conditions and the more complicated your medications schedule is, the more important it is the check with your doctor.
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What Foods To Not Eat While Taking Antibiotics
There are some foods you should avoid while on antibiotics, either because they interfere with absorption or because the combination can make you feel sick.
In most cases, these foods simply interact poorly and make the antibiotics less effective.
Foods to avoid include:
- Grapefruit You should avoid both the fruit and the juice of this sour citrus product. It contains compounds that can keep the body from properly absorbing your antibiotics as well as other medications, too!
- Excess Calcium Some studies show that excess calcium interferes with absorption. For best results, stick to fermented dairy products until you are finished with your antibiotics.
- Alcohol Mixing alcohol and antibiotics can lead to a host of unpleasant side effects. The most common of these are
- Increased nausea
- Abdominal pain
- Heart rate issues. You should avoid alcohol throughout the duration of treatment and for 48 to 72 hours after treatment ends.
The Best Foods To Eat While Taking Antibiotics
Good news: certain foods support good bacteria levels in your body.
These are the best foods to eat while taking antibiotics. By eating them, you reduce or eliminate the side effects common to antibiotic treatment.
Most of these contain either probiotics or prebiotics.
A few of the most common foods to eat while taking antibiotics include:
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What Studies Do Not Recommend Giving Probiotics With Antibiotics
Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and other institutions reported that the gut microbiome took longer to return to normal in those people given an 11-strain probiotic treatment for four weeks following a course of antibiotics. This was despite the probiotics effectively colonizing the gut with healthy bacteria. The trouble was the presence of the new bacteria and yeasts strains prevented the gut microbiome from returning to normal for the full six month study period.
Conversely, the gut microbiome in those given no probiotics returned to normal within three weeks of going off the antibiotics. The authors did conclude that this study just examined one type of probiotic, and a different probiotic may be helpful in patients taking different antibiotics. However, they did point out the findings of the study imply that the traditional practice of taking a probiotic after antibiotic may not be beneficial.
Effect Of Antibiotics On Your Microbiome
Even if antibiotics are prescribed responsibly and by responsibly, I mean for serious bacterial infections, not viruses they are associated with some significant negative health effects.
You see, in a balanced microbiome, probiotics comprise 85 percent of all the bacteria that leaves only 15 percent of the bad guys. With beneficial bacteria solidly in the majority, your probiotics can work hard to keep you healthy and harmful bacteria are unable to gain a foothold.
But, what if antibiotics knock that probiotic percentage down to 50 percent, 40 percent, or even 20 percent?
Think of your gut as a parking lot full of spaces for bacteria to park and make a home. If the spots are full with mostly good microbes and a bad guy gets in, he has nowhere to park and must leave.
Antibiotics clear out the parking spaces, getting rid of most of the pathogens but wiping out the good guys, too. Now, what if a bad guy gets in? You guessed it with plenty of open parking places, he can settle in and take over.
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How Do Antibiotics Work
Antibiotics work by either directly killing bacteria or preventing them from replicating or reproducing, thus dwindling bacteria numbers over time.
Antibiotic drugs only kill off bacterial infections in the body, which means that they arent useful for illnesses like the common cold or the flu, for example, because these are viral illnesses.
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Take With Or Without Food
Check the label on your antibiotics. Does it recommend taking them with food or on an empty stomach?
In either case, follow the directions. Some antibiotics are better absorbed on an empty stomach, so you dont want to limit their effectiveness. But if the label says, Take with food, taking your pills with a meal might help ease stomach issues.
Beyond the specifics above, good old-fashioned advice for treating diarrhea still applies. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, and use rehydrating beverages high in electrolytes if needed. Avoid alcohol and caffeine if theyre making your diarrhea worse. Keep in mind alcohol may actually cause severe reactions while you are taking certain antibiotics, so check the label for that information, as well. Eat a more bland diet than you might normally eat.
Its better to use caution than get hit with unpleasant side effects.
Common sense would say you are going to disturb the natural balance with antibiotics, Dr. Rabovsky says, so anything else that causes you GI symptoms could make side effects even worse.
How To Take Probiotics
How long after you stop an antibiotic should you continue to take your probiotic? Experts say one to four weeks, but the research is unclear. A study published in the journal Cell found that participants who took a probiotic for four weeks after an antibiotic were able to restore their gut microbiome to normal after six months the placebo group, however, colonized new, healthy gut bacteria in just three weeks.
The upshot here? The benefits of taking a probiotic with or after an antibiotic isnt 100% confirmed, but there is little downside to trying it. Stick to the more studied strains such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces. Look for supplements with USP seal, a dietary supplement certification that ensures the bottle contains what it says it does. The FDA does not regulate probiotics, so its essential to do some legwork. You can also eat your probiotics in active culture-containing and fermented foods and drinks such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, and kefir.
General Info: National Central for Complementary and Integrated Health. Probiotics: What You Need to Know.
Probiotic and AAD:The Journal of Family Practice. Prescribing an Antibiotic? Pair it with Probiotics.
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Give Children Probiotics When Taking Antibiotics
Probiotics are a little bit the rage these days. The more we learn about the microbiome , the more we learn we want to preserve them. Probiotics are supplements so the data on their use is in the early stages but taking probiotics while taking antibiotics really does make medical sense. New data out in JAMA Pediatrics makes this more compelling. Taken orally, probiotics re-populate your gastrointestinal tract with good bacteria to help aid in digestion so using them at the time you are taking antibiotics for an infection may help alleviate side effects like diarrhea that result after the good bacteria are killed off.
Antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed medication to children yet estimates show that 1 in 3 to half of antibiotics prescribed are unnecessary. Typically that means that antibiotics are prescribed when they wont do any good for a viral infection or when a child will recover from an infection without intervention. Trouble is, antibiotics kill BOTH the good and bad bacteria in our bodies. Sometimes this is necessary when it comes to treating things like whooping cough, strep throat and urinary tract infections, while others it is not . Of course in addition to using antibiotics more than wed like to, antibiotics also cause side effects like: diarrhea, abdominal cramping, hives and nausea.
The Lack Of Consistency In The Findings On Probiotics Comes In Part Because They Are Being Treated Like Conventional Drugs
This opens the door to developing personalised probiotic treatments based on someones genetic profile. Such a system is realistic and could be developed relatively soon, says Elinav, but at this stage it remains a proof of concept. To become a reality, it will need more research on probiotic tailoring and testing more bacterial strains in larger groups of people.
This kind of personalisation may release the full potential of probiotic treatments for gut health. At the moment, the lack of consistency in the findings on probiotics comes in part because they are being treated like conventional drugs. When you take a paracetamol tablet, you can be more or less sure that the active component will do its job and work on receptors in your brain, dulling your sensation of pain. This is because most peoples pain receptors are similar enough to react in the same way to the drug.
But the microbiome is not just a receptor it is closer to an ecosystem, and sometimes likened to a rainforest in its complexity.
As a result, finding and tailoring a probiotic treatment that will work on something as intricate and individual as your own internal ecosystem is no easy task. And with that in mind, its not so surprising that a dried-out pack of bacteria from a supermarket shelf may well not do the trick.
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Make The Most Of Prebiotics
Another strategy to restore your gut flora after antibiotics is to make sure you feed it well: with foods that your gut bugs love. This means eating foods that contain high levels of prebiotics.
Prebiotics are food for bacteria in our large intestines because they arent digested further up in our small intestines. Prebiotic foods are usually high in fibre and plant polyphenols. So eat lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.
You could also try prebiotic supplements like inulin: a plant sugar thats been found to reduce the diversity-busting effects of the antibiotic ampicillin in bacterial cultures .
Increasing Healthy Bacteria With Diet
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Pros And Cons Of Probiotics
The assumption that there is little downside to taking probiotics was challenged in a recent Israeli study.
The participants were given antibiotics and split into two groups: the first group was given an 11-strain probiotic preparation for four weeks the second was given a placebo, or dummy pill.
The researchers found the antibiotic damage to the gut bacteria of those in the first group allowed the probiotic strains to effectively colonise the gut. But this colonisation delayed the normal recovery of the microbiota, which remained perturbed for the entire six month study period.
In contrast, the microbiota of the second group returned to normal within three weeks of finishing antibiotics.
This research exposes a perhaps unexpected truth: we still don’t know what types of bacteria are truly beneficial or even what constitutes a healthy microbiome.
The answer is unlikely to be that individual bacterial strains are particularly helpful.
It’s more likely a diverse community of thousands of different types of microbes working together can provide health benefits. This microbial community is as individual as each one of us, meaning there is not just one configuration that will result in health or illness.
So, it’s unlikely that the addition of one or even 11 strains of bacteria in a probiotic could somehow balance this complex system.
What You Should Eat During And After Antibiotics
Antibiotics are a powerful line of defense against bacterial infections.
However, they can sometimes cause side effects, such as diarrhea and liver damage.
Some foods can reduce these side effects, while others may make them worse.
This article explains what you should and shouldnt eat during and after antibiotics.
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Can You Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Dr. Eric Wood, ND, MA – Contributing Writer, Physicians Choice
Having been in practice for more than a decade, I am still dismayed at how seldom individuals are provided medical guidance when taking antibiotics, particularly as it pertains to getting gut support with probiotics. A question I often get in practice: Is it ok to take probiotics when Im on antibiotics?
This article is devoted to this issue, discussing the importance of supporting your microbiome, what antibiotics can do to gut health and why our health habits and practices need to adjust based on what else may be going on with our health.
Can Some Peoples Gut Bacteria Recover From Antibiotics In Around Six Months
Some research released in 2018 found that it took around six months for our gut flora to get back to normal after antibiotics . The media picked up on it, and so a lot of people today think that you get your old gut back precisely six months after antibiotics. This study is just one of many though, all with different results.
If youre feeling overwhelmed by all this information, you can get some strategic help with our no obligation symptom checker.
Its possible that your gut bacteria might never return to normal. But that doesnt mean that you cant take steps to increase your diversity. Everyone can benefit from taking care of their gut, but if youve taken antibiotics recently theres an even bigger reason to do it.
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Caveats: Limited Data On The Safety Of Probiotics Exist
There was some heterogeneity among the studies in the meta-analysis by Hempel et al, and some of the studies were of poor quality. Because of this, the authors used subgroup and sensitivity analysis, which supported their initial conclusion.
Probiotics have generally been considered safe however, there have been rare reports of sepsis and fungemia associated with probiotic use, especially in immunosuppressed patients. Fifty-nine of the included studies did not assess adverse events, which limited the ability of this meta-analysis to assess safety. Patients taking probiotics should be monitored for adverse effects.