Should You Take Probiotics Or Antibiotics
May 5, 2022
Is taking probiotics with antibiotics helpful or a waste of money? Antibiotics are prescribed to treat illnesses cause by harmful bacteria. Most of the harmful bacteria arenât normally present in our bodies, but there are a lot of âgoodâ bacteria normally present in our gut. Since the job of the antibiotic is to attack and kill bacteria, the âgoodâ bacteria are also attacked.
Taking Probiotics While On Antibiotics
While antibiotic treatment is underway is one of the most important times to be taking a probiotic. Since antibiotics will kill all bacteria, the colon ecology may suffer during antibiotic use. When taking a probiotic and an antibiotic at the same time, it is a good idea to take them at different times of day to give the probiotic bacteria time to take hold in the colon before the next dose of bacteria killing antibiotics comes in. Since digestion of probiotic foods normally takes 3 to 4 hours, according to Perrault, wait that long between probiotic consumption and antibiotic use.
Why Should You Not Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
If taken together, the antibiotic can kill goodbacteria. The level of antibiotics in the intestines is low if you wait two hours. As long as its separated by at least a few hours, it doesnt make a difference. The bacteria that are killed by the antibiotics and probiotics are called good bacteria because they are beneficial to the body.
The bad bacteria, on the other hand, are the ones that cause illness and disease. They are not good for you, but they can be harmful to you if they get into your body through your digestive system.
If you are taking antibiotics, you need to be careful not to take too many of them at one time, or you could end up taking too much of one and not be able to get rid of it.
Also, if you take antibiotics for a long period of time , you may be putting yourself at risk of developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
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New Data On Probiotics In Kids:
- Probiotics are associated with lower rates of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in children in both children given antibiotics outside of the hospital and those who were inpatient. Probiotics were associated with lower rates of antibiotic-associated diarrhea compared with control groups . Similarly, probiotics were associated with lower rates of antibiotic-associated diarrhea compared with those children given placebo .
- Probiotics decreased the duration of diarrhea that started while children were taking antibiotics. probiotics were associated with a lower mean duration of diarrhea compared with the control group . And although 1 and a half days doesnt seem all that significant talk to any parent of a young child with diarrhea coming out the sides of a diaper!
- There were no increased adverse events reported in children given probiotics. Yay!
Bottom line: if your child is prescribed antibiotics, talk to your pediatrician or nurse practitioner and/or pharmacist about supplementing your child with probiotics during the time youre using antibiotics and potentially for a few days after. Less diarrhea in many children and for less days
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.
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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.
Probiotics Instead Of Antibiotics
As the field of microbial research continues to expand, we expect the future of medicine will include targeted probiotic prescriptions in lieu of antibiotics, and that antibiotics will be reserved for specific or emergency scenarios.
In fact, probiotics are already proving to be more effective than antibiotics at treating and preventing certain diseases and infections, such as mastitis.
In one study, researchers analyzed 352 women suffering from mastitis, a painful breast infection often associated with breastfeeding. After 21 days, women who took probiotics saw more improvement and fewer recurrences than those taking antibiotics .
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Study Summary: Probiotics Significantly Reduce Aad
Hempel et al reviewed 82 studies and pooled data from 63 RCTs to identify the relative risk of AAD among patients who received probiotics during antibiotic treatment compared with those who received no probiotics or were given a placebo. The studies encompassed a variety of antibiotics, taken alone or in combination, and several probiotics, including Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, and some combinations.
The outcome: The pooled RR for AAD in the probiotics groups was 0.58 , with a number needed to treat of 13. Although the authors reported that the overall quality of the included trials was poor, a sensitivity analysis of the higher quality studies yielded similar results.
Subgroup analyses by type of probiotic and duration of antibiotic treatment were also consistent with the overall pooled RR. In subgroup analysis by age, a similar decrease in AAD was found among the youngest patients and those between the ages of 17 and 65 years. Among patients older than 65 yearsfor whom there were just 3 studiesa non-significant decrease in risk was found. Twenty-three of the studies assessed adverse outcomes, and none was found.
Best Probiotics For Long
Its a good idea to look for research on the best probiotics when taking antibiotics long term if you are on longer courses of medication. If you need to take long term antibiotics, you may wish to consider choosing a supplement that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM®. A supplement that contains this particular strain has been demonstrated in a randomised controlled trial to minimise disturbance to the composition of the gut microbiome when taken alongside antibiotics14. This can be useful when antibiotics are being taken for longer than two weeks. However, it is recommended to take this probiotic strain 2 hours away from an antibiotic, rather than at the exact same time.
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What Is The Best Prebiotic To Take With Antibiotics
Most probiotic strains are considered safe for most people, but if youre allergic, avoid strains with high histamine-producing tendencies, such as Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Casei, and Lactobacillus Reuters.
Choose a probiotic that improves digestion and reduces histamine levels while preventing inflammation, such as Bifidobacterium Lactis, Bifidobacterium Longum, Lactobacillus Plantarum, and Bifidobacterium Infantis.
Another great alternative is to use a yeast strain probiotic such as S. Boulardii. Since its not a bacteria, antibiotics wont even come near.
Studies are now showing that S.boulardii can prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea if taken with antibiotics.
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Do Probiotics Interfere With Antibiotics
A: Not really. Doctors who recommend probiotics typically suggest that people take them a few hours after their antibiotic. Otherwise, the two medications can cancel each other out. Some doctors even suggest waiting to start probiotics until a few days after youve completed your course of antibiotics.
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Caveats: Limited Data On The Safety Of Probiotics Exist
There was some heterogeneity among the studies in the meta-analysis by Hempel et al, and some of the studies were of poor quality. Because of this, the authors used subgroup and sensitivity analysis, which supported their initial conclusion.
Probiotics have generally been considered safe however, there have been rare reports of sepsis and fungemia associated with probiotic use, especially in immunosuppressed patients. Fifty-nine of the included studies did not assess adverse events, which limited the ability of this meta-analysis to assess safety. Patients taking probiotics should be monitored for adverse effects.
Do Prebiotics Help Return The Gut Microbiome To Normal
Prebiotics are foods for probiotics and include fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, cereals.
Mixing prebiotics with probiotics, such as yogurt with fruit and cereal or sauerkraut with a vegetable stir fry could be helpful for your gut, although there is no scientific evidence to support this.
Good prebiotic foods include vegetables such as artichokes, asparagus, garlic, onions, and any green vegetable fruits such as bananas, berries, and tomatoes herbs such as chicory or garlic grains like barley, oat, and wheat and other fibers such as inulin that may be available on its own or added to foods such as granola bars, cereal, and yogurt.
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Side Effects Of Probiotics
The common side effect of probiotics is increased digestive discomfort, such as bloating or gas. This is typically short-lived and resolves in a few days of regularly consuming probiotic supplements or probiotic foods.
More serious side effects are possible, but extremely rare. The bacteria or yeast that is consumed as a probiotic supplement can enter the bloodstream and cause infection. Those who are at increased risk of infection include immunocompromised patients, premature infants, those with short bowel syndrome, anyone with central venous catheters, and patients with cardiac valve disease.
It is, of course, important to discuss any supplementation with your healthcare provider.
Should You Take Antibiotics And Probiotics At The Same Time
You want to start taking a probiotic the same day you start taking an antibiotic, but not at the same time. A quick rule of thumb is to take your probiotic two hours before or two hours after taking your antibiotic. This will give sufficient time for the antibiotic to work while not killing off the beneficial bacteria.
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What Studies Support Giving Probiotics With Antibiotics
A Cochrane review of 23 studies investigated giving probiotics containing either one or a combination of the following: Bacillus spp., Bifidobacterium spp., Clostridium butyricum, Lactobacilli spp., Lactococcus spp., Leuconostoc cremoris, Saccharomyces spp., or Streptococcus sp.
Results from 22/23 trials that reported on the incidence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea show a significant benefit from probiotics compared to active, placebo, or no treatment control . None of the 16 trials that reported on side events documented any serious side events attributable to probiotics with the most common ones being rash, nausea, gas, flatulence, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting, increased phlegm, chest pain, constipation, taste disturbance, and low appetite. The authors concluded that there was a protective effect of probiotics for preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. The relative risk was 0.46 and the NNT was 10.
The authors considered Lactobacillus rhamnosus or Saccharomyces boulardii at 5 to 40 billion colony forming units/day to be the most appropriate choice. They also commented that although no serious adverse events were observed among the otherwise healthy children in these trials, serious adverse events have been observed in severely debilitated or immuno-compromised children with underlying risk factors , and advised that probiotics should be avoided in pediatric populations at risk for adverse events until further research has been conducted.
Antibiotics Upset Intestinal Balance
Thousands of species of bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms live on our skin, in our intestines, and on other body surfaces. Theyre known as our normal flora. When it is in balance, these microbes stay put and many of them contribute to good health. Bacteria in the gut, for example, help break down food.
Antibiotics kill these good microbes along with bacteria that are causing an infection. This upsets the balance of the normal flora in the intestines. The result is often loose, watery stools known as antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
The idea behind using probiotics is that they may help populations of good bacteria recover more quickly and restore order to the intestines. Theres no good evidence that probiotics are helpful in otherwise healthy people. But earlier research has suggested they can be helpful in:
- treating recurrent or persistent C. difficile colitis, when repeated courses of other therapies have not been successful
- preventing complications from pancreatitis
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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.
Feed Probiotics And Antibiotics Together
Let me illustrate why.
Goliath steps up to the battle line and snatches the 5 smooth stones in Davids bag before David has the opportunity to clock Goliath in the head with them.
If given together, the antibiotic will essentially wipe out the bacteria in your probiotic before this friendly flora has a chance to benefit your dogs gut health.
A good general rule is to SEPARATE the antibiotic from your probiotic supplementation by about TWO HOURS.
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Taking Probiotics While Using Antibiotics
So e people have been asking, can you take probiotics while using antibiotics? Well, then, the answer is yes, you can, but you have to ensure that you use both antibiotics and probiotics at different times of the day. You should not take them at the same time.
If you take them at the same time, the antibiotics will work powerfully to overcome the probiotic and eliminate them in the process. This will result in the destruction of the replenishments.
In this case, it would be advisable that you take the probiotics a long while after your antibiotic prescription. This will help in the rebuilding of important bacteria within the gut.
Similarly, taking the probiotics in the course of your prescription will give you a better chance of restoring healthy bacteria within your digestive system.
You can also take probiotics before taking your antibiotics. It is advisable, that you do this two hours before using the antibiotics. This will ensure that the probiotic and antibiotics dont interfere with each other, by working optimally.
You should consider following the full prescription of antibiotics provided by the doctor. In the same way, always strive to go for a high-quality product that will suit your needs in every way.
The purity of the product should be checked to ensure that the potency of the probiotic is at 100%. The brand that has manufactured the supplement will also determine the quality of the product, so, choose a product that has been created by a reputable company.
Probiotics Make Antibiotics More Effective
Rather than canceling each other out, research shows that taking probiotics and antibiotics together is more effective than taking antibiotics alone.
The most relevant study to show this effect is a systematic review of more than 20,000 patients with H. pylori infections . Patients who took probiotics and antibiotics together had better results than patients who only took antibiotics.
Another recent meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials totalling roughly 6,000 patients with H. pylori infections showed that adding probiotics to antibiotic therapy for H. pylori increased the eradication rate by about 10% .
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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.