Should I Give Probiotics To My Kids
Probiotics can be beneficial for both adults and kids. If your child has an illness that requires an antibiotic medication for treatment, taking a probiotic can help shorten symptoms. Probiotics can also be used to help relieve constipation, acid reflux, diarrhea, gas and eczema in children.
Introducing probiotics into your childs diet through food is typically a safe way to give them probiotics. Foods like yogurt and cottage cheese are often part of a balanced diet and can add in good bacteria without much risk.
There are commercially available probiotic supplements specifically designed for infants and children. However, it is important to talk to your childs pediatrician before giving them any probiotic supplement or changing the childs diet to include probiotic-rich foods.
Should You Take Probiotics
The “good bacteria” may help healthy people but aren’t formally recommended.
Probiotics are “good” bacteria touted to help maintain digestive health and boost the immune system. You can take them in a dietary supplement or get them from food sources, such as yogurt. But should you? They can be helpful in some cases, but we still need more studies to tell us if and when they are safe and effective for older adults.
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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Why Take Probiotics After Antibiotics
When you take antibiotics, they kill the bad and the good bacteria in your body, and this can cause a number of antibiotic side effects. Some people experience gastrointestinal side effects such as abdominal pain and diarrhea, and women can get vaginal yeast infections.
In the case of diarrhea, which is common when taking antibiotics, its referred to as antibiotic-associated diarrhea . Analyses published in a 2017 issue of Antibiotics notes that using probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea reduces the risk of AAD by 51%, adding that its also considered a safe method. Taking probiotics with antibiotics can help replenish the amount of good bacteria and help maintain your balance of good and bad bacteria.
When To Take Antibiotics Before Or After Food
When you are given them, it usually clearly states whether you need to take antibiotics with food. Taking them correctly is key to their effectiveness. You should take them with water because this doesnt interfere with their effectiveness as some fruit juices do.
Some types will need to be taken with food to reduce the risk of side effects like nausea and vomiting. After all, antibiotics are potent medicines, so its not really surprising that they can irritate your digestive system too.
If youre going to take probiotics with antibiotics, it is best to take them a few hours apart so this medication doesn’t affect the probiotic bacteria too.
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Why Should You Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Antibiotics are important for treating bacterial infections, but theyre not gut-friendly. Fortunately, you can take steps to preserve and restore your microbiome for whole body health during and after a course of antibiotics.
Research shows that probiotics and antibiotics taken together can reduce the risk of side effects, like diarrhoea. They even help to restore some of the healthy gut microbes lost through antibiotic therapy. Strains of Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces can help mitigate antibiotic side effects.
TIP Find out how your gut microbiome responds to prebiotics and probiotics with the Atlas Microbiome Test.
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 dont 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.
Its 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, its unlikely that the addition of one or even 11 strains of bacteria in a probiotic could somehow balance this complex system.
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Choose A Quality Probiotic Formula
Quality assurance practices do matter. Probiotic manufacturing is not highly regulated and some label claims do not stand up to scrutiny. Consider the results of these investigations into probiotic quality:
- One study assessed 26 commercial probiotics and found that none fully supported label claims. Some probiotic supplements contained unacceptable microorganisms .
- The same study found two common problems in probiotic supplements: low concentration of viable cells and the presence of undesired organisms .
- Another study found only half of the probiotics examined had the specific strain listed on the label .
- 43% of the probiotics in another study contained less than half the amount of probiotics listed on their labels .
If a company follows quality assurance practices, a probiotic supplement will meet its label claims and not contain potentially harmful organisms.
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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How To Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Since probiotics arent regulated by the FDA like many medications, theres no set dosing guidelines. However, most of the studies examined dosages for Lactobacillus rhamnosus in the range of 1 to 20 billion CFUs per day and Saccharomyces boulardii in most studies range between 250 mg and 500 mg per day. As we discuss in Probiotics 101 choosing a high-quality probiotic is more important than simply going by CFUs. If you choose to take probiotics with antibiotics, opt for high-quality probiotics from a trusted source. And since antibiotics can kill healthy bacteria, take the probiotic a few hours after youve taken your antibiotic.7
As always, with your doctor if you need help deciding which probiotic is right for you or if you have any concerns. You can also learn more about the Floradapt difference.
What Studies Support Giving Probiotics With Antibiotics
A Cochrane review of 23 studies investigated giving probiotics containing either one or a combination of the following: Bacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., Clostridium butyricum, Lactobacilli spp., Lactococcus spp., Leuconostoc cremoris, Saccharomyces spp., or Streptococcus sp.
Results from 22/23 trials that reported on the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea show a significant benefit from probiotics compared to active, placebo, or no treatment control . None of the 16 trials that reported on side events documented any serious side events attributable to probiotics with the most common ones being rash, nausea, gas, flatulence, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, increased phlegm, chest pain, constipation, taste disturbance, and low appetite. The authors concluded that there was a protective effect of probiotics for preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. The relative risk was 0.46 and the NNT was 10.
The authors considered Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Saccharomyces boulardii at 5 to 40 billion colony forming units/day to be the most appropriate choice. They also commented that although no serious adverse events were observed among the otherwise healthy children in these trials, serious adverse events have been observed in severely debilitated or immuno-compromised children with underlying risk factors , and advised that probiotics should be avoided in pediatric populations at risk for adverse events until further research has been conducted.
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Other Options To Strengthen The Gut Microbiome
Mayer added that this doesnt rule out that other life microbes occurring in fermented food products like sauerkraut and kimchi, for instance, may be beneficial for patients following a course of antibiotics.
Traditionally, antibiotics are one of the most prescribed medications out there, according to Megan Meyer, PhD, director of science communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation.
Because of this, antibiotic treatment may disrupt the composition and diversity of bacterial found in the gut, which can result in a variety of symptoms, including diarrhea. Probiotics may help improve the balance of bacteria found in the gut, counteracting potential alterations brought on by antibiotic treatment, she wrote in an email to Healthline.
Meyer added that this does have uses taking a probiotic like Bifidobacteria has been shown to reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea. A 2008 review in the journal Nutrition cites that probiotics can have a beneficial effect on diarrheal conditions and related GI symptoms.
While the new study offers a counterpoint to the traditional emphasis on probiotics, it offers an alternate solution to returning to the gut microbiome to normal following antibiotic treatment.
Mayer, of UCLA, said that the only approved, recommended course of autologous fecal transplantation right now is for people who have C. difficile colitis, inflammation of the colon caused by the bacteria Clostridiumdifficile.
Can I Get Probiotics From Food
You can absolutely increase beneficial microbes in your body from the foods you eat. Certain foods have probiotics in them and can benefit the health of your microbiome.
These foods can be introduced into your diet at any point of the day. You may even be regularly eating them now and not realize that they contain probiotics. You will want to check the food label for live and active cultures. A few suggestions for just some of the probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet and some times to try them include:
For breakfast, try:
Probiotic supplements may be combined with a prebiotic. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that feed the microorganisms in your gut. Basically, prebiotics are the food source for the good bacteria. They help feed the good bacteria and keep it healthy. Prebiotics include inulin, pectin and resistant starches.
When you have a supplement that combines a probiotic and prebiotic, its called a synbiotic.
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Can I Take Or Eat Something To Increase The Good Probiotics In My Body
You can increase the amount of good microbes in your body through foods, drinks and supplements. You may already have certain foods in your daily diet that contain probiotics. Fermented foods in particular are home to a host of good bacteria that benefit your body. There are also fermented drinks like kombucha or kefir that introduce extra probiotics into your diet.
Apart from food, you can add probiotics to your diet through dietary supplements. These arent drugs, so they do not need to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration . Its important that you always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any kind of supplement or major change to your diet.
The Microbiome And The Importance Of Gut Replenishment
Our sinuses and mouth have various bacterial species that, when in good health, guard against colonization by pathogenic viruses and bacteria that could cause a variety of contagious illnesses . The delicate balance of these bacteria, however, can be disrupted by the food we eat, certain exposures to microbes or environmental toxins such as toxic molds, which can then increase our risk for various kinds of infections and other symptoms.
When we travel downstream into the stomach and eventually the intestines, eventually we reach what is called the microbiome, which is a collection of bacteria, yeast, viruses and fungi that perform many vital functions. These include digestion, production of vitamins, detoxification, protection against pathogenic organisms and facilitating elimination through the bowel.
Unfortunately, this collection of microorganisms can be damaged in many ways nowadays. This includes but is not limited to:
- Pesticides including glyphosate , which is commonly added to all non-organic grains to dry them more quickly
- NSAIDs and other pain meds including Tylenol, ibuprofen, aspirin, narcotics, opioids, Advil, and more
- Refined, sugar-laden foods of many types
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Why You Should Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Antibiotics play a critical role in killing bad bacteria. But as they destroy infections, they can also cause collateral damage to the good bacteria in your gut, which could result in diarrhea for a couple of daysor even weeksafter you stop taking the medicine.
So how can you get the benefits of antibiotics without the nasty stomach side effects? The answer might be found in probioticspills or even powders with live microorganisms that offer health benefits.
Your intestines contain around 1,000 different species of bacteria, with 100 trillion bacteria in total, says Dr. Lawrence Hoberman, president and chief executive of Medical Care Innovations Inc. If 80% of that bacteria is the good, healthy kind, the harmful bacteria stay at bay. But antibiotics change the balance in the microbiome, which may result in an increase in the harmful bacteria, he explained.
The immune system recognizes the bad guys and will try to destroy them. But in the process, it breaks down the intestinal lining and causes inflammation, and thats how we get antibiotic-associated diarrhea, Dr. Hoberman explains.
One study found that antibiotic-associated diarrhea affects between 5% and 39% of patients, depending on which antibiotic they take. But research shows that probiotics can curb digestion problems. A meta-analysis of 34 other studies found that probiotics reduce instances of antibiotic-associated diarrhea by 52%.
What Is The Rationale Behind Taking Probiotics With Antibiotics
Taking an antibiotic for an infection can kill beneficial bacteria that live in your gut.
Probiotics may be taken orally to restore any imbalance in the normal intestinal or urogenital flora. This is the rationale behind taking probiotics with antibiotics. Severe antibiotic-induced diarrhea can also lead to an infection with Clostridium difficile, also known as C. difficile, a bacteria which can cause dangerous inflammation in your colon .
Experts have hypothesized that If you suffer from stomach cramping, gas or diarrhea when you take antibiotics, adding a probiotic may help to lessen, or even prevent, these symptoms. The addition of a probiotic will also reintroduce helpful bacteria into your digestive tract that have been killed or had their numbers reduced by the antibiotic.
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When You Should Take Probiotics And For How Long
The data so far is unclear as to the best timing for taking probiotics so, for now, the choice is yours you can take the probiotics before taking antibiotics or at the same time, says Dr. Gebke. Patients can potentially avoid these known antibiotic-related complications with preemptive use of a probiotic to minimize the disruption in the bodys intestinal bacteria, he says. It may also be wise to continue taking probiotics a few weeks after antibiotic use as your body continues to adjust. Of course, its always best to consult with your doctor to come up with a plan best for you.
Challenges To Implementation: Lack Of Guidance On Dosing And Duration
Since probiotics are considered food supplements, health insurance will not cover the cost . No single probiotic strain has high-quality evidence however, most of the RCTs included in the meta-analysis used combinations of Lactobacillus species, which are usually found in over-the-counter antidiarrheal probiotic supplements. No standard dose exists, but dose ranges in RCTs are 107 to 1010 colony-forming units per capsule 1 however, product labels have variable accuracy.11 The duration of treatment ranges from one to 3 weeksor as long as the patient continues to take antibiotics.
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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!