What Does The Science Say About Probiotics
Probiotics are widely promoted as being good for your overall health. The science on that has been mixed, but it does suggest people who are likely to get diarrhoea after antibiotics may benefit from consuming them.
One review of the evidence found probiotics may be useful for those at high risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhoea, such as the elderly and people in hospital.
The review found side effects were common when taking antibiotics and include taste disturbances, nausea, abdominal cramping, soft stools, fever and flatulence.
But people taking probiotics reported fewer side effects, suggesting they may be helpful in countering some of the side effects.
Why Should You Eat Yogurt With Antibiotics
Taking yogurt and other probiotic foods when you take antibiotics can help prevent diarrhea which may accompany the treatment. Friendly bacteria can also decrease or prevent bloating or the urge to have frequent bowel movements.
Antibiotic Side Effects
Most antibiotics have some side effects such as diarrhea, bowel inflammation, nausea, vomiting and fungal infections like thrush, within the mouth, the digestive tract, and vagina. Other less frequent side effects are abnormal blood clotting, other blood disorders, development of kidney stones, sensitivity to sunlight, and deafness.
Yogurt is rich in probiotics. The term probiotics refers to microorganisms that have similar properties to the beneficial microorganisms that reside within the human gut. Good, beneficial or friendly bacteria are found in some foods and supplements.
The functions of the gut flora are usually disrupted when you take antibiotics. This is because besides killing disease-causing bacteria, antibiotics also kill the friendly bacteria in the gut. Therefore, taking yogurt and antibiotics can help increase the population of the good bacteria and prevent you from the side effects of antibiotics.
Is It Ok To Eat Activia Yogurt At Night
Curd and yoghurt can actually impair digestion, if you have a weak digestive system and eat them at night. People with digestion issues such as acidity, acid reflux or indigestion should avoid yoghurt or curd at night as it can cause constipation when the system is sluggish and sleep-ready.
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Summary Of Main Findings
Yogurt had no effect in this study. The reasons for this could be that yogurt and probiotics generally have little effect except in children and frail, older hospital inpatients. In this study, eating yogurt while taking antibiotics did not prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhoea as tested by the 2 test. Although the logistic regression model suggested an effect, the protocol gave preference to the 2 test and the level of evidence would not stand a correction for multiple testing.
Sub-group analysis suggests that patients with a previous history of either antibiotic-associated diarrhoea or thrush may benefit from consumption of yogurt while on antibiotics.
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.
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Given The Very Heavy Involvement Of The Industry Clear Conclusions As To Whether Probiotics Are Truly Helpful To Humans Remain To Be Proven Erin Elinav
The rate of continued moderate to severe gastroenteritis within two weeks was slightly higher in the probiotic group than in the placebo group . And there was no difference between the two groups in terms of the duration of diarrhoea or vomiting.
Despite evidence such as this, the demand for probiotics is large and growing. In 2017, the market for probiotics was more than $1.8bn, and it is predicted to reach $66bn by 2024.
Given the very heavy involvement of the industry, clear conclusions as to whether probiotics are truly helpful to humans remain to be proven, says Elinav. This is the reason why regulatory authorities such as the USs Food and Drug Administration and European regulators have yet to approve a probiotic for clinical use.
Taking probiotics when your gut health is weak may not be a good idea
But that is not to write off probiotics completely. The problem with them may not be with the probiotics themselves, but the way we are using them. Often probiotics are bought off the shelf consumers may not know exactly what they are getting, or even whether the culture they are buying is still alive.
Elinav and his colleagues have also carried out research on who will benefit from probiotics and who wont. By measuring the expression of certain immune-related genes, the team was able to predict who would be receptive to probiotic bacteria colonising their gut, and for whom they would simply pass through without taking hold.
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.
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The Life Inside All Of Us
Microbes & me is a new collaborative series between BBC Future and BBC Good Food.
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.
Side Effects And Interactions
Probiotics usually dont cause major side effects in healthy individuals.
However, you may experience minor symptoms, such as gas and bloating. These often improve with time, but taking your probiotic at night may reduce daytime symptoms.
If you take a probiotic to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea, you may wonder whether the antibiotic will kill the bacteria in your probiotic. However, strains designed to help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea wont be affected (
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How Much Yogurt Should I Eat When Taking Antibiotics
Antibiotics are a strong medication that is used for treating and preventing certain kinds of bacterial infections. They work by preventing the spread and reproduction of bacteria in the human body. Some common ailments that require the use of antibiotics include sinus infections, the common cold, flu, ear infections, urinary tract infections, and sore throat.
However, while antibiotics can be effective in treating the bacterial infection, taking them can also change the quantity and type of the beneficial bacteria in the gut, disrupting the normal process of producing healthy bacteria. This is why the alterations in the gut microflora can sometimes cause side effects caused by antibiotics such as diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea while women can be susceptible to yeast infections. Changes in the gut microflora can occur in just one week of taking antibiotics.
The human body has both good and bad bacteria, and probiotics such as those in yogurt contain lots of good bacteria that help the body stay health and function properly. Having lots of healthy bacteria helps the body fend off the bad bacteria as well.
Other benefits of good bacteria include:
- Aid in proper digestion
- Reduce growth of bad bacteria
- Support cells in the gut that prevent bad bacteria from making it to the blood
Should I Eat Yogurt While Taking Antibiotics
Many yogurts are an excellent source of probiotics, which may help prevent the diarrhea that often accompanies antibiotic treatment, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. During that study, a team of California-based researchers combined observed 12,000 men and women taking antibiotics. Those who took antibiotics plus probiotics were 42 percent less likely to develop diarrhea as those who got the placebo. While yogurt can help diminish some of the negative side effects of antibiotics, its not the only option.
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Studies Of Commercial Products Limited
Newberry says none of the studies included in the analysis examined commercially available probiotic yogurts, and very few examined commercially marketed probiotic supplements.
“In most cases these were mixtures created in the lab for the individual study,” she tells WebMD.
Many types of bacteria or yeasts are considered to be probiotics, and commercially available supplements contain different combinations of these microorganisms.
“At this point the research doesn’t say much about which microorganisms work best,” she says.
And because dietary supplements are not regulated in the United States, buyers are on their own trying to figure out which ones to take.
“I’m afraid nothing in this review will help consumers choose which probiotic supplement to choose or which foods to eat,” says David Bernstein, MD, who is chief of the division of hepatology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.
All agree that more study is needed to identify which microorganisms best benefit the gut.
“In high-risk patients — which would include elderly people in nursing homes taking antibiotics — it is probably not a bad idea to give a probiotic,” Quigley says. “But if you ask me which one, I really couldn’t tell you.”
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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Food Sources For Probiotics
Even if there aren’t recommendations on specific products, there are food sources for probiotics:
- Yogurt that contains live bacteria: Not all yogurts have these. Make sure the label says “live culture,” “live bacteria,” or “probiotic.” Buttermilk and acidophilus milk.
- Cheese with live bacteria cultures: Aged cheeses such as cheddar and blue cheese are a good source, but don’t cook them. Heat kills the bacteria cultures.
- Kefir: a yogurt-based drink found in most major food outlets.
- Miso and Tempeh: different forms of fermented soy. Miso is a paste used for seasoning and tempeh is a fermented version of soy often used as a meat substitute.
- Fermented cabbage: Sauerkraut is the German version Kimchi is the Korean style. But heavily processed products packaged in cans or jars probably don’t have live bacteria. Check the label.
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
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Antibiotics Interacts With Yogurt
Yogurt contains calcium. The calcium in yogurt can attach to tetracyclines in the stomach. This decreases the amount of tetracyclines that can be absorbed. Taking calcium with tetracyclines might decrease the effectiveness of tetracyclines. To avoid this interaction take yogurt two hours before or four hours after taking tetracyclines.Some tetracyclines include demeclocycline , minocycline , and tetracycline .
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
- Yogurt , kefir, and buttermilk
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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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.
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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Yogurt May Contain Added Sugars Or Artificial Sweeteners
Small amounts of sugar are safe for your dog if it comes from natural sources like berries, carrots, or other fruits and vegetables.
But too much can be a problem .especially when its in the form of starch or added sugars. Stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea are common side effects. And over time, too much sugar can also lead to chronic inflammation that causes issues like:
- Dental problems
Yogurt often has sugar added especially low-fat yogurt or frozen yogurt. But dont buy sugar-free yogurt. Because that can be worse due to sugar substitutes that can harm your dog.
Some artificial sweeteners may be potentially carcinogenic. Or you may find xylitol-sweetened yogurt. Xylitol is a deadly substance to dogs and even small amounts can be very dangerous. Xylitol is a common sugar alternative thats safe for humans but can cause fatal liver failure or hypoglycemia in dogs.
Research also shows artificial sweeteners can harm gut bacteria and lead to glucose intolerance. This can increase your dogs blood sugar levels and his risk of obesity and diabetes.
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How Safe Are Probiotics
Because microbes used as probiotics already exist naturally in your body, probiotic foods and supplements are generally considered safe. They may trigger allergic reactions, and may also cause mild stomach upset, diarrhea, or flatulence and bloating for the first few days after starting to take them.
There are certain people who need to use caution when using probiotic supplements. There is a risk of infection in some people. These people include those who have:
- A weakened immune system .
- A critical illness.
Caution should also be used when giving probiotics to very sick infants.
Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement.
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