Probioticsantibiotics: The Bottom Line
Antibiotics are important against bacterial infections, but they can cause side effects, including long-term negative changes in the composition of your gut microbiome because they do not distinguish between health-promoting microbes and the ones causing illness.
Taking a probiotic supplement or eating probiotic foods may help mitigate immediate side effects, like diarrhoea, and they can help to get your gut microbiome back on track afterwards too.
Incorporating foods that are rich in fibre, as well as fermented foods containing live bacterial cultures, can enrich your microbiome with health-promoting bacteria that help restore this ecosystem to its former glory.
Its also good to know which foods and beverages to avoid when taking a course of antibiotics. Stay away from alcohol, grapefruit, and calcium-fortified foods to avoid any unnecessary harm from this medication.
You can check in on your gut microbes three months after taking antibiotics with the Atlas Microbiome Test. You’ll also receive personalised food recommendations to restore microbiome balance with your diet.
How Does Taking Them To Affect Me
Some people experience none at all, while others will notice the effects very quickly.
You should watch for side effects if you decide to take them. If you feel anything strange or uncomfortable, stop taking them immediately. This could be a sign that something else is wrong.
The first and most obvious effect is that you will feel a lot better. This will help you prevent any illnesses and you will feel great.
Some Doctors Warming Up To Probiotics
Probiotics May Help Prevent Diarrhea in Patients on Antibiotics
That’s a question that hospitalized patients being started on antibiotics may want to ask their doctors, according to a panel of doctors convened by the American College of Gastroenterology at its annual meeting here.
A review of 22 studies involving 3,096 patients presented at the meeting showed that taking probiotics while on antibiotics may cut the risk of developing antibiotic-associated diarrhea by about 60%.
Patients took any of a variety of probiotics, most commonly S. boulardii, for an average of one-and-one-half weeks. Most were hospitalized during treatment.
A second analysis that pooled the results of 28 studies involving 3,338 patients showed those given probiotics for at least as long as they were on antibiotics were 56% less likely to develop antibiotic-associated diarrhea than those given placebo.
Why? For all the good they can do, antibiotics kill “good” bacteria along with the bacteria that cause illness. A decrease in beneficial bacteria may lead to digestive problems. Taking probiotics may help replace the lost beneficial bacteria and help prevent diarrhea.
Probiotics also appeared to provide protection against potentially deadly bouts of diarrhea caused by the bug Clostridium difficile, or C. diff., says researcher Rabin Rahmani, MD, a gastroenterologist at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City.
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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.
Why You Should Take Probiotics When Taking An Antibiotic
Clostridium difficile is a serious gut infection that results mostly from the use of antibiotics. It is caused by disruption of healthy gut bacteria. It is a life threatening infection requiring intensive and costly treatment. It is a highly contagious disease and spreads easily with contact.
A recent study published in June issue of prestigious Gastroenterology Journal by Cornell University authors – demonstrates the protective effect of probiotics to prevent C. Diff infections when started within 2 days of first antibiotic dose. In the study there was a reduction of 60% infection rate in patients on probiotics.
The probiotic formulas which were effective contained lactobacillus, Saccharomyces, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus, either alone or in combination. Probiotics did not result in any adverse events or side effects.
Both our formulations – Simply Biotic and Simply Biotic Plus contain 10 unique bacterial strains which includes strains of lactobacillus and Streptococcus shown to prevent C. Diff. infection. While formulating our probiotic, we chose multiple strains of bacteria to provide the maximum health benefits to our patients.
Dr. Adi Malhotra
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Choose The Right Probiotic For Your Health Condition
Not all probiotics are created equal. The combination of strains included in the probiotic supplement plays a critical role in determining its impact on a range of health outcomes.
Each probiotic strain performs a different function. Depending on what the probiotic is trying to accomplish, you will find different strains in the composition. Furthermore, several studies, including this powerful study by Visconti et al., have demonstrated that probiotic strains work in teams for optimal impact.
A high quality, science-based probiotic supplement will contain strains that are mindfully combined for optimal impact. At OMNi-BiOTiC®, our products are tailored to specific health conditions, rooted in 25 years of microbiome research and clinical studies to demonstrate efficacy. For example, OMNi-BiOTiC® STRESS Release was specifically formulated for individuals with leaky gut and irritable bowel syndrome.
In aclinical study with IBS patients, OMNi-BiOTiC® STRESS Release demonstrated a reduction in symptom severity, improved bacterial diversity in the intestines, and a reduction in Zonulin, the main marker for leaky gut.
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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.
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How Long Does It Take To Repopulate The Gut With Good Bacteria
Theres no simple answer to this question because it depends on the state of your microbiome, the quality of your diet, any medication you take, your level of exercise and more. However, the gut microbiome is very adaptable and responds to positive lifestyle choices.
So if you eat a diet with lots of fiber-rich whole foods and add some probiotic foods or supplements, you can speed up your gut biome restoration. Plus, getting regular exercise, especially cardio, is associated with higher diversity in your gut.
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When Should You Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Taking antibiotics gradually decreases the natural friendly bacteria gut which can result in less-than-ideal digestive issues, like not fully breaking down waste.
This can cause you to have diarrhea, indigestion, abdominal pain and cause a rapid decline in energy levels. The goal is to maintain a healthy gut microbiome, where many trillions of bacteria live peacefully with each other.
Studies have shown that taking probiotics at the same time while youre taking antibiotics can act as a counterbalance in the gut microbiome. Probiotics increase the beneficial bacteria and lessen the side effects of taking antibiotics.
Many pharmacists are already recommending people to take it together or eat more foods that replenish the good bacteria if they have been prescribed antibiotics.
Taking probiotics wont ruin the efficacy of your antibiotics, however you might want to make sure that your probiotics are suited to do the job.
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What Do Probiotics Do
Probioticsâ purpose is to introduce good bacteria into the gut. They are live organisms that help treat and even prevent some illnesses. Probiotics directly affect the health of our digestive systems and immune health. Probiotics are found in food like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods and drinks. Additionally, probiotics are available as a supplement in liquid, capsule, powder and tablet forms. Itâs recommended that everyone have probiotics in their diet on a daily basis.
Should You Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Being healthy means keeping a very close eye on your diet. What does this mean? It can include counting calories, avoiding certain foods, or refusing to mix other foods.
If you take probiotics, youre already aware of the benefits it has on your gut health. Our gut health is actually one of the most complex details about us! Your stomach is full of unique bacteria that can influence everything from your digestion to your mood. The downside is that you have to be extra careful of anything else you add.
Should you take probiotics with antibiotics? Well break down the how and why so you can stay as healthy as possible in these uncertain times.
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Taking Probiotics With Antbiotics: Revisited
Should you take probiotics with antibiotics? Read on as I review the evidence, break down some important methodology, and discuss the best practices for supporting antibiotic recovery.
Last year, I published an article and recorded a podcast with Chris Kresser on a study published in Cell that suggested the need for caution about taking probiotics after antibiotics. In both humans and animal models, probiotics were shown to delay the return of the normal, native microbiota.
Ive gotten a lot of questions this week about a recent blog post by popular gut health blogger and functional medicine practitioner Dr. Michael Ruscio. His article dismissed the latest study in favor of a 2014 systematic review and contended that you should take probiotics with antibiotics. Hes certainly not the only one that has dismissed this study.
To dispel any confusion, Im sharing my take here and thought Id walk you through my analysis of the article and its claims.
TLDR:I still believe that the evidence warrants caution about taking probiotics during or after antibiotics and stand by what I said in my original article. If you feel like you have to take a probiotic with antibiotics, Saccharomyces boulardii CNCM I-745 is probably the least harmful, but more research is needed. Better yet, supplement with butyrate to support gut hypoxia or consider an autologous fecal transplant!
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Why Progurt Probiotics Is The Best Probiotic To Take After Antibiotics
We have only begun to scratch the surface concerning the systemic impact of the gut microbiome on whole-body health. Still, we already know the microbiome is instrumental in immune function, neurological function, athletic performance, and prevention of chronic illness/inflammation.
The problem with antibiotics is that they cause significant changes to the makeup of your gut flora. While killing off the nasty bugs , they can kill off many of the good bugs as well. This is where a probiotic can help mitigate some of the long-term damage that these medications have.
But why Progurt?
Progurt uses bacterial strains that are well established in the research, but they also add in Lactic Acid Bacteria and Bifidobacteria. Their sachets contain a trillion colony-forming units , , helping the gut replace strains that have gone missing and supporting nutrients like calcium, proteins, potassium, zinc, and magnesium get absorbed more efficiently and effectively.
Basically, its kind of like this Imagine a beautiful forest wiped out by a forest fire . After the fire, do you want to re-plant the first by just a few trees each day or re-plant the entire area by basically showering the entire devastated area with countless numbers of seeds that have been researched and proven to be the ones that are most likely to thrive and re-populate the area quickly, restoring the area to its natural beauty?
Thats massive-beautiful, all-at-once re-seeding is what Progurt does for your gut.
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Probiotics Outside Hospital Setting
Should people prescribed antibiotics outside of the hospital setting be taking a preventive course of probiotics as well?
Not unless they have disorders such as cystic fibrosis or recurrent urinary tract infections that require frequent treatment with antibiotics, Shanahan says.
“In general, only about 20% of people in the community setting get diarrhea that is associated with antibiotic treatment, and it is frequently short-lived,” he says. “We need more data before we can make a recommendation.”
While the expert panel agrees that probiotics are generally safe, they are dietary supplements that are regulated as foods, not drugs.
“Most don’t say which specific bacteria are in your probiotic supplement or what it is supposed to be doing,” says panel member Mark H. Mellow, MD, director of the Integris Digestive Health Center in Oklahoma City.
Look for a brand you trust and whose label offers that information, he advises. Also, tell your doctor if you are taking a probiotic supplement, Mellow says.
Key Facts About Probiotics And Antibiotics Covered In This Article
- Antibiotics deplete the populations of natural friendly bacteria that live in our gut, known as the gut microbiome. This may result in digestive discomfort including such as diarrhoea, nausea, indigestion and low energy.
- Probiotics can support digestive health in those taking antibiotics.
- Rather than waiting until after the antibiotic course, its best to take a probiotic supplement which has been designed to take alongside antibiotics, to help maintain balance in the gut microbiome.
- Antibiotic resistance is becoming increasingly common, exacerbated by patients not competing antibiotic courses. Taking probiotics with antibiotics may help to reduce digestive discomfort associated with antibiotic use and enable individuals to complete the full course of antibiotics.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 are two probiotic strains shown to reach the gut alive even when taken at exactly the same time as antibiotics.
- The best time to take the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 is at breakfast time, regardless of when the antibiotic is recommended to be taken.
- If taking other probiotic strains with antibiotics, advice is dependent on the supplier but standard recommendation is to wait at least 2 hours after your antibiotics before taking probiotics.
- It is best to select strains which have been extensively researched alongside antibiotics.
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Probiotics And Antibiotics: An Overview
- Antibiotics deplete the populations of friendly bacteria in the gut and may cause digestive issues so its important to select probiotics to take with antibiotics, dont wait until the course has finished.
- If taking Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 and Bifidobacterium lactis Lafti B94 then take them with breakfast. These strains can be taken at the SAME time as your antibiotic if this is also at breakfast-time.
- If taking a different probiotic supplement, wait at least 2 hours after your antibiotics before taking probiotics.
- It is important to always follow the advice from your doctor, and always take and finish a course of antibiotics as prescribed. Taking probiotics alongside antibiotics may reduce digestive issues and enable you to finish a course, reducing the chances of antibiotic resistance.
- If you have already finished a course of antibiotics before being recommended a friendly bacteria supplement, better late than never by all means take a probiotic now! For next time, you know you can take them during as well as after.
- It simply isn’t a question of antibiotics OR probiotics – it’s a question of antibiotics AND probiotics.
You may also wish to read our FAQ, At what time should I take probiotics?
What Are Probiotics Anyway
Theres a lot of buzz around probiotics. However, many people dont exactly know what probiotics are. Probiotics are part of what is known as our collective microbiome, which is the community of bacteria in our gastrointestinal system, says Kevin Gebke, MD, a family and sports medicine physician at Indiana University Health. Often deemed the good bacteria, probiotics include live bacteria and yeasts that keep your gut healthy.
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Why Do Antibiotics Cause Diarrhea
The reason antibiotics can cause diarrhea or an upset stomach is because antibiotics disrupt the ecosystem in the gut. Our gastrointestinal tract is a host to trillions of microorganisms composing of about 200 to 500 different species in each person. This gut bacteria, also known as microbiome, is a very highly organized network that supports our bodily functions, including digestion, protecting against certain infections and regulating our immune system.
“The microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract outnumber our human cells by 10 times, and they carry 150 times more genetic material than our human genome,” Dr. Gurram explains. “It is a very complex and intricate, yet a delicate system.”
While antibiotics have benefits, the trouble with antibiotics is that the medicine doesn’t just kill the bad’ bacteria causing infection that is being treated. They also kill good bacteria that live in our gut. This can lead to an imbalance in the microbiome, also termed dysbiosis, which can lead to GI symptoms.
Antibiotics rarely cause constipation, but they may lead to diarrhea, cramping and nausea. These side effects are one reason why it’s important to avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics. However, “antibiotics are extremely important and lifesaving,” states Dr. Gurram. “Doctors understand the benefits and risks of antibiotics and are cautious to prescribe antibiotics only when they are needed.”