Do Opposites Attract Or Cancel Each Other Out We Asked The Experts For The Bottom Line
by Health Writer
In short: Yes, you can take a probiotic while youre taking an antibioticits perfectly safe to do so. In fact, experts generally agree that probiotics may help ward off the gut reaction that comes from taking antibiotics , but the data is limited. On the other hand, to reap the maximum gut flora-restoring benefits that probiotics offer, it may be better to wait until the tail-end of your course of antibiotics before starting to take them, says Eric Goldberg, M.D., an internist and medical director of NYU Langone Internal Medicine Associates in New York City.
To understand how probiotics and antibiotics work together, lets first talk about the gut microbiome. The microbiome is where trillions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses live. We all have a balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut microbiome. When levels of the harmful bacteria get too high, you get sickin the form of stomach bugs, fungal infections, and a hit to your immune system, making you more vulnerable to future infection.
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.
Many Antibiotics Take No Bacterial Hostages
There are specialized antibiotics that are used for specific purposes, and then there are antibiotics that are broad-spectrum . The biggest drawback with these broad-spectrum approaches is that they may target all types of bacteria. Thats why your beneficial bacteria may be impacted by antibiotics when theyre broad-based. And this can affect the delicate balance of your gut microbiome.
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Can Probiotics Hurt Me
For most healthy people, probiotics dont cause any harm. They are generally considered safe and are often given a try to see if they could help with various medical conditions. Theres a lot of research around the topic of probiotics. Scientists are trying to determine when and how they should be used, as well as how effective they are. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement because there are some cases where you shouldnt be taking them. Its always best to have the conversation first before starting a new supplement.
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Can You Take Doxycycline And Probiotics Together
Research has suggested that its safe to take an antibiotic like Doxycycline with certain probiotics. The reason why only certain types of probiotics tend to work well is simply that some forms of probiotics dont seem to reach the gut alive when taken with antibiotics. So it will never do you harm but some probiotic strains might not be as effective.
However, there are two strains of probiotics in particular, that when taken alongside antibiotics like Doxycycline, have been found to reach the gut alive. These are Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus and lucky for you, studies have shown that they are safe to take at the same time as antibiotics like Doxycycline.
Medical research does not suggest that probiotics interfere with the success rate of antibiotics like Doxycycline. In fact, many doctors have now begun recommending the use of probiotics to patients taking antibiotics, to help prevent certain side effects from occurring. Many doctors recommend the use of probiotic supplements as well as probiotic foods, such as yogurts and kefir, to be taken alongside antibiotics. If youre supplementing with probiotic enriched foods, remember to watch that sugar content .
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What Is A Probiotic And How Can I Take It
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts found inside and outside our bodies. They appear to help maintain balance in our gut by crowding out bad bacteria. Good bacteria help us to digest food. Probiotics are found naturally in foods and drinks such as yogurt, pickles and fermented tea. They can also be taken as dietary supplements. But you may not need to alter your diet or take a supplement. Your body can naturally maintain the balance if you eat a healthful diet.
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Should I Take My Probiotics With Other Medications
Even if you toss back vitamins or other medication in the morning , you should still take your probiotics at nighttime. With more time in your gut, the good bacteria can get to work healing your digestive issues. And thats exactly what you want if youre investing in a supplement.
The bottom line: The best time to take a probiotic is generally at nighttime before bed. But speak with your doctor before taking any sort of supplement to make sure it makes sense for you and your body/condition.
A More Effective Alternative
The Israeli study also explored an alternative approach to microbiome restoration.
One group of participants had their own stool collected and frozen prior to antibiotic treatment. It was then re-instilled into their gut at the end of the antibiotic therapy.
This treatment, known as autologous faecal transplantation, was able to restore the microbiome to original levels after just eight days. The other group took 21 days to recover.
This approach has also been shown to effectively restore the gut microbiome following combined antibiotic and chemotherapy treatment. These patients are predictably at risk of serious complications, such as bloodstream infection, as a result of microbiome disruption.
Research currently underway will help us understand whether microbiome restoration with autologous faecal transplantation will translate into tangible benefits for these patients.
But such an approach would not be a realistic option for most people.
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Antibiotics And Gut Health
There is no doubt that antibiotics have an essential role to play in modern medicine in preventing and curing bacterial infections. Thanks to antibiotics, bacterial infections are no longer the most common cause of death in the modern world1. However, in recent times it has become increasingly recognised that antibiotics negatively affect our gut microbiome2.
The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of trillions of microbes that live together in harmony in our gastrointestinal tract. These microbes have far reaching effects on human health, enhancing digestion, immunity, skin health and energy3,4,5. A balance is required between beneficial microbes and more harmful microbes that naturally colonise the gut. This balance can be disturbed by various lifestyle factors including low-fibre diet, travel and infection, among others.
So, what happens to our gut microbiome when we take an antibiotic? Unfortunately, taking antibiotics can be detrimental to our gut health. Whilst effective in killing bad bacteria antibiotics are essentially non-selective and can also deplete the beneficial bacteria residing in the gut. This is thought to contribute to the development of diarrhoea, constipation and/or vaginal thrush when taking an antibiotic. In certain cases, this disruption to our gut microbiome can result in an overgrowth of unwanted, pathogenic bacteria such as Clostridium difficile.
People taking antibiotics may experience6:
Can You Eat Yogurt And Take Antibiotics At The Same Time
Dairy products include milk as well as butter, yogurt, and cheese. After taking an antibiotic you may need to wait for up to three hours before eating or drinking any dairy products. Grapefruit juice and dietary supplements containing minerals like calcium may also work dampen the effect of antibiotics.
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Do Probiotics Disturb Antibiotic Functioning
There is no suggestion in current research that probiotics interfere with the action of antibiotics in any way. In fact, doctors and GPs are often now recommending probiotic supplements and probiotic foods, such as yoghurts or kefir, to be taken alongside a course of antibiotics.
What Are The Side Effects Of Probiotics
What are the risks of taking probiotics? Although probiotics are freely available to purchase without prescription or full regulation, there are risks associated with them. Hospitalised patients are increasingly are increasingly being treated with probiotics, but there are now reports of patients in intensive care becoming seriously ill with the same strain of bacteria found in the probiotics . While for most people who have a healthy immune system, this risk is low, it highlights the need for greater understanding about possible risks and benefits.
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What About Probiotic Foods
One way to add probiotic bacteria to the gut is through diet. A number of fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchi, Lacto-fermented sauerkraut, and many types of yogurt, are rich in probiotics.
However, as you can see in this chart, its difficult to eat enough fermented foods to get a therapeutic dose.
|Weissella koreensis, Lactobacillus sakei, Lactobacillus graminis, Weissella cibaria, Leuconostoc mesenteroides||11.5 billion CFU per ½ cup||½ capsule Lacto-Bifido Blend Probiotic|
If you want to enjoy the benefits of fermented foods, you can eat these as well. However, if you are taking a course of antibiotics, I highly recommend probiotic supplements.
Bacteria: Beneficial Or Pathogenic
Bacteria are live, microscopic, single-celled organisms that exist everywhere: in our body, in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, etc. Some are very useful for the human body, particularly those present in the gut and which make up what is known as the intestinal microbiota. Other bacteria are less welcome, since they can cause diseases .
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The Life Inside All Of Us
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.
Antibiotic Risks For Your Microbiome
Thats because your gut microbiome is critical for your health. Its involved in immune system function, body weight, and even brain health. However, antibiotics can lower the diversity of microbes present in your gut, causing imbalances that increase the risk of inflammation and lower your protection from diseases.
The use of antibiotics during pregnancy, in newborns and infants, is especially problematic because the gut microbiome develops in early life and, during that period, it educates the immune system.
Infants who are exposed to antibiotics either before or after birth have been shown to have fewer health-promoting microbes like Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus that are dominant members of the infant microbiome.
Research shows that antibiotic disruption of the gut microbiome at a young age is linked with an increased risk of allergies, asthma, and autoimmune disorders. Antibiotics and weight gain are also a major issue: this medication has been pinpointed as an important factor in the obesity epidemic.
For example, Clostridium difficile is a deadly bacterial infection affecting the colon that is common in healthcare settings, and its resistant to most antibiotics. Nowadays, doctors have found that transplanting a healthy microbiome into patients is most effective when treating for C. diff.
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Can I Take Probiotics While On Antibiotics
If youve ever asked Can I take probiotics while on antibiotics? youre not alone. Yes, you can definitely take probiotics with antibiotics. An even better question is Why arent more people taking probiotics while on antibiotics?
Even mild antibiotics used to treat moderate infections can do some serious damage to your gut flora. If you have to take back-to-back courses of antibiotics, or antibiotics meant to treat a severe or potentially deadly infection, the effects can be much worse.
When you take an antibiotic, it works within your body to target and destroy a certain bacteria. Unfortunately, antibiotics arent good at distinguishing bad bacteria from good bacteria, and they kill it all as they work to stop infection. This change can cause immediate side effects and long-term health consequences.
As such, taking probiotics with antibiotics is a wise choice. Probiotics are certain strains of bacteria and yeast that have demonstrable benefits for human health.
Depending on the type and dose of antibiotic youre taking, pairing it with probiotic pills can either lessen or even prevent the effects of gut flora disruption.
Whats more, continuing to take probiotics after your course of antibiotics is done is a great way to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria and help your body get back on track.
DrFormulas Advanced Multi Probiotics
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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How Do You Know If Probiotics Are Working
Signs Your Probiotics Are Working When you take a high-quality probiotic supplement, you may notice several positive changes in your body, ranging from improved digestion and more energy, to improved mood and clearer skin. Oftentimes, the first and most immediate change individuals notice is improved digestion.
Should I Try Probiotics
If you are interested in adding probiotics to your diet, its worth a conversation with your healthcare provider. Many providers may suggest giving them a try to see if they help with your general health. It is important to remember that not all probiotics behave the same way and have the same effects. Each has their own individual benefits. They generally dont cause harm. One easy way to start can be by simply introducing probiotic-rich foods into your diet, like yogurt.
Before you start any supplements, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may be able to point you in the right direction, helping you figure out the best probiotic to take, how much to take and when to take it. A conversation is always worth the time when it concerns your health.
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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.