How Long Should My Child Take Probiotics After Completing A Round Of Antibiotics
This is the big one!
If you dont regularly take probiotics , at the very least please please please give your gut a chance to bounce back after antibiotics by taking a probiotic supplement.
But for how long, minimum, if youre not going to continue taking them regularly?
I asked this question of Catherine Clinton, naturopath and founder of WellFuture and the WellBelly probiotic that our 2-year-old has been taking since he started food:
A disturbed flora from antibiotics can onset several weeks after completing a course of antibiotics, and the microbial ecosystem in your post-antibiotic gut is shifting dynamically for weeks, so a general guideline of continuing probiotic supplementation a week or two after completing the round of antibiotics is common.
I responded and said I was surprised to hear weeks, as I had always thought it was at least two months. Her reply:
Actually the advice does say weeks to months but I just hesitate because Im the lady who sells probiotics so it makes me uncomfortable if there is no hard research. It is certainly clear that the damage from antibiotics can be quite long term.
Thats great honesty and transparency from the lady who sells probiotics if you ask me!
Heres some research to back all this up:
WellBelly is allergen-free, designed especially for infants and children, and you can check out the ingredients for yourself right HERE.
So Who Should Have Them
Prebiotic foods are good for everyone, contain a range of nutrients and help promote a healthy bacterial gut environment.
The benefits of probiotics for a range of health conditions are unclear theyre likely to be small, and depend on what is being taken and the underlying health issues.
But people at high risk of diarrhoea after antibiotics may benefit from consuming probiotic as well as prebiotic foods daily.
There is also emerging evidence that combining specific probiotics and prebiotics can increase the beneficial effects of both. Both the pro- and prebiotics could be added to the one food, termed a synbiotic, or they could be from separate sources but eaten together.
When it comes to antibiotics, the bottom line is only take them when prescribed for bacterial infections. Take them according to instructions from the manufacturer, your pharmacist and your doctor.
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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.
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The Best Time To Take Probiotics: During And After Treatment
Bedford recommends that you start taking probiotics the same day as an antibiotic treatment.
While you’re on antibiotics, take those first before the probiotics. Don’t take them at the exact same time because the antibiotics could destroy the bacteria from the probiotic and cancel out any beneficial effects, Bedford says.
“You don’t want the probiotic on board until a couple of hours after the antibiotic itself is taken,” says Bedford.
Moreover, Bedford highly recommends that you continue to take probiotics for two weeks after you’ve completed your antibiotic dose to get your gut microbiome back to normal.
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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How Probiotics Can Help
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This ensures that your digestive health and immune system remain in optimal condition and protected from pathogenic bacteria and yeasts. Taking antibiotics can also cause additional problems that a probiotic supplement can help with. These include:
Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea: Gas, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea are all common side effects of antibiotic consumption. This depends on the antibiotic being taken, but the effects are caused by the introduction of illness-causing microorganisms.
Your body naturally initiates a defense when pathogens are present, and even though antibiotics are designed to help, they are still considered foreign to your body.
Antibiotic-associated diarrhea is such a common side effect that many people stop taking the antibiotics, and the infection is left untreated. By taking regular probiotics at the same time, you can ease digestive discomfort so that the antibiotic course is complete, and the infection is cleared.
Antibiotic Resistance: A serious complication of over-using antibiotics is the development of antibiotic resistance. This occurs when bacteria develop a resistance to the antibiotics as part of their evolutionary need to survive. When this happens, a form of superbug is created and stronger antibiotics need to be developed to kill them.
Limiting the use of antibiotics to only the times when they are absolutely necessary is also advised.
Does Your Gut Need Probiotics After Antibiotics
If you take antibiotics, theres a good chance youll also get diarrhea.
Antibiotics kill harmful bacteria that cause disease. But they also cause collateral damage to the microbiome, the complex community of bacteria that live in our gut. This results in a profound, though usually temporary, depletion of the beneficial bacteria.
One popular strategy to mitigate the disruption is to take a probiotic supplement containing live bacteria during, or following, a course of antibiotics.
The logic is simple: beneficial bacterial in the gut are damaged by antibiotics. So why not replace them with the beneficial bacterial strains in probiotics to assist gut bacteria returning to a balanced state?
But the answer is more complicated.
There is currently some evidence that taking probiotics can prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. This effect is relatively small, with 13 people needing to take probiotics for one episode of diarrhea to be averted.
But these studies have often neglected to evaluate potential harms of probiotic use and havent looked at their impact on the wider gut microbiome.
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Why Would I Take Probitics With Antibiotics
If antibiotics are killing bacteria in our bodies and gut, is it pointless to take probiotics when you are taking antibiotics? Are they just being killed off? Are you wasting your money? Not necessarily. Itâs important to your overall health to keep as much âgoodâ bacteria in your gut as possible. Increasing the amount of probiotics you are taking while taking antibiotics can be a good thing. The health of our gut directly correlates to the health of our body. Additionally, antibiotics have been known to cause severe gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea. Putting good bacteria in to replace the good bacteria that were attacked is important. Another benefit of probiotics is helping to prevent and treat yeast infections, which many develop while taking antibiotics since the good bacteria is attacked.
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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The Ups And Downs Of Antibiotics
Pathogenic bacteria exist just as the beneficial ones do, and these are the organisms responsible for disease and illness. Typically, when diagnosed with a bacterial infection, doctors will prescribe antibiotics to kill the dangerous strains.
Unfortunately, the antibiotics are not able to distinguish beneficial from harmful strains, and your health-supporting microbiome becomes depleted as a result.
Antibiotics kill off the beneficial bacteria in your gut as well as any invading pathogens. When this happens, your body is left defenseless against any remaining or new pathogens, because the bacteria impact your immune system and health.
Candida is one of the most common opportunistic yeasts that will take over very quickly when your defenses are down, and this leaves you vulnerable to a host of health problems.
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.
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What Are The Drugs Or Supplement With Which Live Cultures And Probiotics May Be Contraindicated
At present, there are no known contraindications with medical drugs or supplements, however, there are some things you should definitely consider when taking probiotics with certain medications or supplements.
- If taking probiotic bacteria along with antibiotics you will want to take them separately, ideally several hours apart, unless you have been specially told to take them together with antibiotics. For more information on whether or not you should take probiotics when on specific medication, always contact your doctor or medical provider.
- If you are taking anti-fungal medication, or natural supplements with anti-fungal properties, you may want to stop taking any probiotics or wait until you are off the anti-fungal until you begin.
- Additionally, if you are taking immunosuppressant medication, then you should absolutely speak with your doctor before you begin taking probiotics.
The reason why you should not take probiotics if you are severely immunocompromised or immunosuppressed is because patients who are do not have the ability to mount an appropriate body response to any microbe that they come in contact with. specialized cells in the intestine are continually testing and sampling the intestinal lumen for antigens . Microbes, even the ones that are normally neutral or even considered beneficial to your body, can sometimes cross the gut barrier and grow in the blood or in the internal organs where the nutrients are high and the competition for nutrients is low.
When Should You Take Probiotics During Antibiotic Therapy
Can you take probiotics and antibiotics at the precisely same time? Or, should you take probiotics before or after antibiotics? Probiotics are considered as safe supplements can bring many health benefits, but when you take them combined with antibiotics, please do not take these two products simultaneously to get the best result.
Following four tips below, you can take probiotics and antibioticsmost powerfully.
- Give antibiotics the spacing
Taking probiotics and antibiotics at the same time can cause interaction between them. Thus, to prevent the interaction between two these products, the general recommendation is to take probiotics two hours before or after taking your antibiotics. This spacing gives antibiotics sufficient time to pass through our intestines and move into the bloodstream. Thus by the time you take probiotics, your gut becomes friendly again and does not destroy the friendly bacteria.
- Choose the most appropriate probiotic products
Because the safety of probiotics, if you are not combating the infection, you can also supply probiotics everyday. However, it is necessary for you to consume it in case you are on antibiotic treatment.
A high-quality formula, including the familiar and common bacteria families like Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and an enteric-coat formula that ensures the survival of live bacteria through the acid environment into your digestive tract are highly recommended.
- Do not stop taking probiotics after completing antibiotic therapy
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Should You Take Antibiotics And Probiotics At The Same Time
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had this experience: Your doctor prescribes a 10-day course of antibiotics for the cough you haven’t been able to shake for weeks. After a few days the cough is much better … but you suddenly have intestinal symptoms that are making your life pretty unpleasant. Long story short, the antibiotics have given you diarrhea, and at this point you’d almost rather have that annoying cough. Other than discontinuing the antibiotics , what can you do to banish the need to run to the bathroom?
This is the unfortunate downside of antibiotics — they’re almost too good at flushing out infections . As they barrel through your system, they can do a real number on your gut. They wipe out the bad stuff but can also eliminate the good bacteria that keep your digestive system healthy and in balance. And when the good bacteria are out of the picture, harmful bacteria can swoop in and take over, causing all sorts of problems. If you’re lucky, your gut will just be a little bit out of whack for a while after you take antibiotics. If you’re not so lucky, you could be one of the 20 percent or so who get antibiotic-associated diarrhea .
Which Are The Best Probiotics To Take Alongside Antibiotics
A question we often get asked is, which are the best probiotics with antibiotics, in terms of the associated diarrhoea? As seen above, it seems that this is the main area of concern when taking this type of medication.
Its important to select strains of probiotics that have been tested in clinical trials and have been shown to reach the gut alive when taken alongside antibiotics. The more friendly bacteria present in the gut, the lower the chance of developing digestive issues like diarrhoea. Three strains of probiotics in particular, Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 and Bifidobacterium lactis Lafti B94 have been shown to do this. They can safely be taken at exactly the same time as antibiotic medication. The recommended use for a supplement containing this probiotic combination is as follows:
- Take one capsule daily with breakfast, even with your antibiotic medication.
- Take daily until the antibiotic course is finished, and preferably for one week after.
- Continue until the pack is completed and add a second pack if the antibiotic treatment lasts more than one week.
In clinical trials involving those undergoing antibiotic treatment for Helicobacter pylori infection, participants were given Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 and Bifidobacterium lactis Lafti B94 alongside antibiotics all three strains were proven to survive alongside the medication11,12.
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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!
Probiotics Make Antibiotic Sibo Treatment More Effective
There is also research showing that probiotics and antibiotics are more effective together for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth treatment:
- One study of 40 patients with SIBO showed those taking a combination of S. boulardii and metronidazole had more than double the success rate for eradicating SIBO with when compared to those taking metronidazole alone [3
Overall, probiotic co-administration with antibiotics is a safe, non-invasive, and effective way to enhance treatment results.
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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.
The Microbiome And The Importance Of Gut Replenishment
Our digestive tract really is a marvel of coordination and if you think about it, it really is a highway,, with the entrance being the mouth and the sinus tract, and then the exits being the anus and the urethra in the genitourinary area. There are several areas along that tract where there are substantial colonies of microorganisms devoted to different purposes to help protect and support our health.*
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:
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