The Medical Bottom Line
Antibiotics are wonderful medicines. But this study of probiotics and many other studies show they also have a dark side. The best way to avoid antibiotic-associated diarrhea is to limit your use of antibiotics. For example, you likely dont need an antibiotic for an uncomplicated ear or sinus infection or bronchitis. Most often the culprits are viruses, which dont respond to antibiotics anyway.
The best way to keep your normal flora in balance is to only take antibiotics when necessary.
About the Author
Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
What Kind Of Yogurt Do You Eat When On Antibiotics
The probiotics, or live microorganisms in fermented foods such as yogurt, are also found in our very own gut.
These are good types of bacteria that are essential to regulating the immune system and keep us healthy. However, medicating with antibiotics can disrupt the population of good bacteria in the gut and cause other side effects such as diarrhea, yeast infections, nausea, or vomiting.
Yogurt is an effective remedy for that, but all yogurt is not made equally. Heres what you should look out for:
Foods To Eat While Taking Antibiotics
Antibiotics are a common way to fight infections, but many dont realize there are certain foods to eat while taking antibiotics.
Antibiotic therapy is the first line of treatment for the majority of bacterial infections. Unfortunately, these drugs arent without side effects.
Rarely, they can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms like
- Abdominal pain
Although these side effects are usually mild, transient, and harmless, they can become severe and signal the need for a change in medication.
Sometimes, patients find they can control these side effects, or even eliminate them completely, with just a few basic diet changes.
In other cases, its the food causing the problem and removing it from their diet is enough.
In this post, well tell you about six of the best foods to eat while taking antibiotics and the four you should always avoid, too.
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Is It Ok To Eat Yogurt While Taking Antibiotics
Interaction with antibiotics : Moderate Use this combination with caution. Consult with your doctor. Yogurt is high in calcium. Calcium from yogurt can bind to tetracyclines in the stomach. This may reduce the amount of tetracycline absorbed by the body, which could lead to lower-than-expected levels in blood plasma or urine.
This combination should be used only when clearly needed. Many people take antibiotics without serious side effects. However, some people may experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, redness at the injection site, dizziness, irritability, loss of appetite, or flu-like symptoms.
The use of this drug for longer than prescribed, abuse of drugs or alcohol, changes in diet during treatment, or lack of compliance with the medication regimen are all factors that may increase the risk of complications or even death.
So, yes, you can eat yogurt while taking antibiotics. However, the presence of calcium in yogurt may also cause problems if you’re taking medications that work by reducing the amount of calcium in your body, such as calcitonin or estrogen. So if you have any concerns about possible interactions with other medicines or treatments, always discuss them with your doctor.
This Article Covers How To Restore Healthy Gut Flora Before And After Treatment With Antibiotics And The Impact Antibiotics Have On Your Gut Health Ill Discuss Top Questions And Answers About Mrsa Antibiotics And What To Eat To Restore Your Gut Health
Last month I had a skin infection, MRSA , that landed me in the ER. I was then hospitalized for 12 days. Even post hospital, my recovery lasted three more weeks. While in the hospital, I knew it was important to be proactive about restoring my gut flora, because the antibiotics for MRSA were quickly going to work on ALL of the bacteria in my gut.
To understand why this even matters, lets dive into how antibiotics work, what they do to bacteria in your body, and how to restore healthy gut flora once antibiotics are in the picture.
And dont forget, this is a cooking show after all! So, well top off this information with two gut-friendly meals including a probiotic mango kefir smoothie, and a probiotic + prebiotic bean and veggie salad.
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Why Eat Yogurt With Antibiotics
Antibiotics are necessary to help treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics work by killing the bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal flora, thereby eliminating disease. However, antibiotics are known to eliminate some of the intestine’s good bacteria as well. Consuming yogurt, with its live, active cultures, assists the body in restoring a healthy and balanced intestinal tract.
What Should I Avoid When Taking Antibiotics
Milk, butter, yogurt, and cheese are examples of dairy products. You may need to wait up to three hours after taking an antibiotic before eating or drinking dairy products. Antibiotics may also be mitigated by grapefruit juice and nutritional supplements containing minerals such as calcium. If you are breastfeeding, ask your doctor about including a calcium supplement in your regimen.
Antibiotics kill both viruses and bacteria, so they can’t alone cause a virus like the flu. However, if you’re already prone to allergies or other issues related to your immune system, it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself healthy while on antibiotics. The best way to do this is by avoiding touching your face , and consulting with your doctor before you start any new medications.
People who take antibiotics often report losing their taste buds. This is because certain bacteria that live in our mouths help produce chemicals that give us flavor sensations. By killing these bacteria, we lose the ability to smell or taste things. Though this may not seem like a big deal, lack of taste could lead to eating foods that are bad for you.
If you’re going to be around others who are not aware of your allergy, consider wearing a mask. This will protect others from coming into contact with your mucus membranes.
Lastly, be sure to finish all of your antibiotics.
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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.
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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.
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How Should I Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
If you do decide to take a probiotic with an antibiotic, start it the same day you start the antibiotic, but do not take it at exactly the same time as the antibiotic. Allow at least two hours to elapse after taking your antibiotic before you take your probiotic.
Probiotics are usually taken twice a day on an empty stomach. They should then be continued for at least several weeks after your course of antibiotics has finished, although some people take probiotics daily to not only continue to help digestion but to boost their immune system and enhance the absorption of some nutrients.
If you wish to take probiotic supplements, choose a high-quality probiotic made by a reputable company that contains at least one of the following: Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Saccharomyces boulardii, or Bifidobacterium sp. at 5 to 40 billion colony units/day.
Less Than 10g Of Sugar Per Serving
A high sugar intake isnt healthy for anyone, especially if you are taking antibiotics. Far too many commercially produced yogurt brands have high amounts of sugar, anywhere from 20 to 35 grams per serving, especially if it contains flavorings and fruit. Sugar promotes inflammation all over the body including the gut, and changes the composition of gut microbiome.
Opt for yogurt with under 10 grams of sugar per serving. The lower, the better. But that doesnt necessarily mean you have to eat bland yogurt there are some yogurt brands that make sugar-free varieties that are tasty, made with sugar alternatives such as Stevia.
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Potential Benefits Of Probiotics
Arjun Avila, a product development consultant specialized in vitamins and probiotic supplements, says probiotics are essentially very tiny living microorganisms and there are thousands of probiotic strains that offer different health benefits.
Probiotic strains are diverse, Avila says. If you think of dog breeds, it can range from chihuahua to pit bulls, and probiotic strains are very much like that as well.
Researchers are still studying these various probiotic strains to understand exactly how they work. But some studies have shown that probiotics may help improve heart health and support digestive systems, especially when the levels of healthy gut bacteria are off balance.
Probiotics are able to help you balance your gut so that you dont have as many unwanted side effects from the use of antibiotics, Avila says.
Probiotics can be found in yogurt, as well as a wide range of fermented foods like kimchi, miso, kombucha, and kefir. Its generally best to obtain probiotics from food sources since they also offer other nutrients. But probiotic supplements are convenient and easy to travel with, Merenstein adds, and they can last longer than many probiotic foods that need to be refrigerated.
Merenstein also stresses the importance of taking the probiotics as early as possible, before any antibiotic symptoms emerge. In the study, participants started the probiotics regimen the same day they started taking the antibiotics.
What Is The Gut Microbiome
Your gut microbiome is home to trillions of bacterial cells, which do a lot of work for your health. Did you know that there are more bacteria living in your gut than people on this planet?
A gut microbiome thats filled with good bacteria can communicate to the cells in the immune system that not every foreign microorganism is harmful and needs to be attacked. But when the gut microbiome is imbalanced, it cant properly communicate with the immune system, which results in your body attacking its own healthy cells.
How Do Antibiotics Work
Antibiotics are mighty drugs that people are given when they have a bacterial infection. They target bacteria causing infections, and kill or decrease the growth of that bacteria.
Unfortunately, antibiotics dont stop at only killing bad bacteria. Instead, antibiotics kill good bacteria too. So antibiotics affect your entire microbiome. When an imbalance of good and bad bacteria happens, the microbiome can become unhappy, and this has consequences for problems with digestion, inflammation, and even mood and brain health.
Probiotic Foods For Kids
Are you looking for probiotic foods for kids? Theyre essential for gut health and easier to get than you may know.
The first question you may ask is, “what are probiotics?” The word itself sounds like a little creature, and thats actually partly true. Probiotics are live microorganisms that have tons of health benefits for your body and brain when you eat them.
These microorganisms are naturally present in your digestive tract and help aid in your digestions and can even reduce inflammation in your gut. Our first reaction may be to avoid bacteria. While that may be smart in certain cases, some bacteria, like probiotics, can actually promote better health!
Why are probiotic foods for kids important? There are tons of health benefits including improved digestion, better immune function, healthier skin, reduced risk for some diseases and even weight loss.
It may feel daunting to try to get your child to eat some of these foods, but theyre all surprisingly kid friendly. Many can have a salty or intense flavor which I have seen kids immediately open up to from the very first bite, so give your child a chance even if they have never tried one of them before.
1. Yogurt: this creamy treat is loaded with friendly bacteria which may reduce inflammation and help kids taking antibiotics. Its important to enjoy yogurt with live cultures and to avoid yogurt which includes added sugar.
What are some of your probiotic foods? Let me know in the comments below!
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How To Restore Healthy Gut Flora During And After Antibiotic Treatment
Probiotics that can help restore your gut flora during and after antibiotic treatment are Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Lactococcus lactis.
To help restore my healthy gut after the hospital, I ate foods with probiotics and prebiotics every day. Typically, it will take the body time to balance the microbiome back to healthy, diverse bacteria levels. In fact, research shows that it takes about 6 months to recover from the damage done by antibiotics.
Probiotics May Help Prevent Diarrhea Due To Antibiotic Use
- By Howard E. LeWine, MD, Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Eating yogurt or taking a so-called probiotic when you have to take antibiotics may help prevent the diarrhea that often accompanies antibiotic treatment.
Thats the conclusion of a study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. A team of California-based researchers combined the results of 63 randomized trials pitting probiotics versus placebo among almost 12,000 men and women taking antibiotics. Those who took antibiotics plus probiotics were 42% less likely to develop diarrhea as those who got the placebo.
About one in three people who take antibiotics develop diarrhea. The symptoms usually start on the last day or two of antibiotic therapy, or a day or so after it has ended. The diarrhea is usually mild, with two to four loose stools per a lasting for a couple days. In most cases, it gets better quickly without treatment. That said, antibiotic-associated diarrhea makes some people very sick. The most severe form, called C. difficile colitis, can be life threatening.
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How To Eat Yogurt With Antibiotics
To get the benefits of probiotics, choose probiotic yogurt that contains a high concentration of friendly bacteria than ordinary yogurt. Continue to eat the probiotic-rich yogurt for a week or two after completing the course of antibiotics. In case you get persistent diarrhea, bloating, fever, or abdominal pain, consult a doctor.
Beware of the Following Combination
Being a milk derivative, yogurt contains calcium which can combine with tetracycline antibiotics within the stomach. If this happens, the quantity of tetracycline available for absorption decreases, which may reduce the potency of the tetracyclines. To prevent such interaction when you are on tetracycline, eat your yogurt 2 hours prior to or 4 hours after taking a dose of tetracycline.
Tetracyclines include Declomycin , Minocin , and Achromycin .
Not a Cure for All
While study results on combining yogurt and antibiotics are impressive, the combination is not necessarily recommended during every antibiotic prescription. Experts advise the following types of patients to try probiotics:
- Those who have suffered from diarrhea associated with an antibiotic, especially those who have had C. difficile infection
- Those who need to take antibiotics for more than 5-10 days
- Those who switch from one type of antibiotic to another within a short time
Probiotics For Digestive Woes
Don’t assume that all probiotics provide relief for every GI problem.Probiotics sellers can make vague claims like “supports digestive health,” but does that mean you can expect relief from your GI problem? A single strain may not cover all the bases. Heres a snapshot of the evidence on which probiotic strains may help with which digestive issues.
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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
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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