Lay The Foundation For Good Gut Health With Your Dietary Habits
Traditionally, we consumed much less of the above, and we included more foods that naturally replenished our microbiome regularly in the diet. But over the last several generations, much of this has changed for the worse. However, we can bring back many good foods and habits simply by improving awareness and incorporating them back into our routine. Foods that have naturally occurring probiotics include:
- Fresh, organic produce that hasnt been thoroughly washed
- Raw sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, kvass and other fermented veggies/fruits
- Fermented dairy including yogurt, kefir, skyr and filmjolk
These foods have traditionally helped give us a reinnoculation of these good bacteria that over time naturally die and get damaged in the gut due to common exposures I mentioned previously as well as general age-related senescence.
In recent years, taking probiotics as a supplement has also become much more popular and medically accepted. So, is there any concern with taking them when youre on a current antibiotic course?
Which Are The Best Probiotics To Take Alongside Antibiotics
A question we often get asked is, which are the best probiotics with antibiotics, in terms of the associated diarrhoea? As seen above, it seems that this is the main area of concern when taking this type of medication.
Its important to select strains of probiotics that have been tested in clinical trials and have been shown to reach the gut alive when taken alongside antibiotics. The more friendly bacteria present in the gut, the lower the chance of developing digestive issues like diarrhoea. Three strains of probiotics in particular, Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 and Bifidobacterium lactis Lafti B94 have been shown to do this. They can safely be taken at exactly the same time as antibiotic medication. The recommended use for a supplement containing this probiotic combination is as follows:
- Take one capsule daily with breakfast, even with your antibiotic medication.
- Take daily until the antibiotic course is finished, and preferably for one week after.
- Continue until the pack is completed and add a second pack if the antibiotic treatment lasts more than one week.
In clinical trials involving those undergoing antibiotic treatment for Helicobacter pylori infection, participants were given Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11 and Bifidobacterium lactis Lafti B94 alongside antibiotics all three strains were proven to survive alongside the medication11,12.
Clinical Trials Around Taking Probiotics With Antibiotics
Participants were given Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11, and Bifidobacterium lactis Lafti B94 alongside antibiotics in clinical studies for Helicobacter pylori infection all three cultures were demonstrated to thrive alongside the medication.
Lactobacillus acidophilus Rosell-52, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell-11, and Bifidobacterium lactis Lafti B94, which have been tested in this age range, can also be given to children aged 1 year and higher. Parents may want to look for a supplement designed specifically for childrens digestive health.
For those with a vaginal infection who are taking antibiotics for an intimate health problem, probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14® and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1® may be worth exploring. These strains are frequently used in conjunction with antibiotics for vaginal infections, although they should be given at least 2 hours apart.
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Why Should You Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Antibiotics are important for treating bacterial infections, but theyre not gut-friendly. Fortunately, you can take steps to preserve and restore your microbiome for whole body health during and after a course of antibiotics.
Research shows that probiotics and antibiotics taken together can reduce the risk of side effects, like diarrhoea. They even help to restore some of the healthy gut microbes lost through antibiotic therapy. Strains of Lactobacillus and Saccharomyces can help mitigate antibiotic side effects.
TIP Find out how your gut microbiome responds to prebiotics and probiotics with the Atlas Microbiome Test.
Challenges To Implementation: Lack Of Guidance On Dosing And Duration
Since probiotics are considered food supplements, health insurance will not cover the cost . No single probiotic strain has high-quality evidence however, most of the RCTs included in the meta-analysis used combinations of Lactobacillus species, which are usually found in over-the-counter antidiarrheal probiotic supplements. No standard dose exists, but dose ranges in RCTs are 107 to 1010 colony-forming units per capsule 1 however, product labels have variable accuracy.11 The duration of treatment ranges from one to 3 weeksor as long as the patient continues to take antibiotics.
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So Can You Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Can you take probiotics with antibiotics? Simply put? Yes. Our intestines contain over 1000 different bacteria species with over 100 trillion bacteria total. You want to ensure that the healthy bacteria stay while keeping the harmful bacteria at bay.
Our immune system is smart enough to recognize harmful bacteria and attack them, trying to destroy them. However, while doing so, our intestinal lining can be broken down and cause inflammation, and thats when antibiotic associated diarrhea comes into play.
Antibiotic associated diarrhea affects between 5% and 39% of patients however, research has also shown that the right probiotic supplement can help curb digestion issues. You will often find that doctors will actually suggest that you take probiotics with your antibiotics, as long as you put some space between the two.
If you wait two hours between taking your antibiotic and your probiotic supplement, the level is low in your intestines. So, it doesnt matter which you take first. You just want to make sure there are at least two hours between the probiotic supplement and your antibiotic treatment.
Can you take probiotics with antibiotics? Yes. Be smart and take your prescription. But as you kill off the bad bacteria in your gut, focus on upping your probiotic intake, and you can come through your infection healthier than ever!
Mistake #: You Take More Than One Type Of Probiotic Supplement
If you are considering layering your probiotic supplements for different health concerns, know that different bacteria can interact. Think of it this way: part of the reason we take probiotics is to fight off other bacteria, says Nielsen. It is possible, in a multi-strain product and if you take two different probiotic products at the same time, that they can out-compete each other. Research supports this: you can include 10 strains in a single product but without proper study, you cant be sure that one strain isnt out-competing the other nine. Nielsen says to check out the manufacturers website for clinical studies that the strains were tested together.
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Are Probiotics An Alternative To Antibiotics
Alternatives to antibiotics are certainly worth investigating, but in the case of a bacterial infection, this should ideally be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Antibiotics are not always required for example, in the event of viral illnesses, antibiotics will be useless . There are also a variety of mild bacterial illnesses that can be treated without the use of antibiotics. Its worth noting that up to 42% of uncomplicated urinary tract infections can clear up on their own in 48 hours, especially when given plenty of water.
Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.
Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:
- Developing an infection.
- Developing a resistance to antibiotics.
- Developing harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.
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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.
Probiotics To Beat The Bacterium
Probiotic supplements are the best way to restore the balance of the natural bacterial colony in your gut. Poor diet and the use of antibiotics can cause these beneficial floras to become depleted, and probiotics can help restore numbers.
When the balance is in favor of beneficial strains again, bacteria like C. diff dont stand a chance.
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Specifically, there are three probiotic bacterial strains that have been shown to combat C. diff effectively. Incorporating these strains into your regular diet or taking in supplement form can prevent the harmful bacteria from taking over or if taken after infection, symptoms can be reduced and recovery will be much faster.
S. Boulardii: This is probiotic yeast, which has been shown to counteract the activities of C. diff within your gut. This beneficial yeast can inhibit the activities of inflammatory markers as well as reduce intestinal wall permeability. These actions reduce inflammation and prevent C. diff toxins from binding. A protease secreted by the S. Boulardii inhibits the production of the toxins produced by C. diff, which prevents it from damaging your intestinal walls.
Lactobacillus: This is a species of probiotics that have been used in numerous studies to combat the effects of C. diff. These bacteria have the ability to colonize in your gut and can protect you from pathogenic invaders.
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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?
Can I Use Probiotics To Help With Medical Conditions
There is currently a large amount of research happening around the idea of what probiotics can do for your body. Even though there are a lot of possibly positive outcomes, researchers are still working to find definitive answers about how probiotics can help with various conditions.
However, there are some medical conditions where probiotics may help. This can vary between people meaning that what works for one person may not work for another. These can also vary based on the certain probiotic that is taken.
Some of the conditions that might be helped by increasing the amount of probiotics in your body include:
- Upper respiratory infections .
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Knowing The Answer Can Protect Your Gut
You may have wondered whether or not you should take probiotics after antibiotics. Perhaps youve read about this strategy or maybe your doctor recommended it. Either way, do you really know everything about the supplements youre taking? Should you even take them in supplement form, or is food better? Read on to learn more about probiotics and antibiotics.
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Mistake #: You Store Probiotics In Your Medicine Cabinet
The bathroom medicine cabinet can have fluctuating temperature changes, which will affect moisture in the air, and can compromise the quality of your probiotics.
Its important to note that there are a few ways to take probiotics. While one is in food , you can also take probiotic supplements. They are available in refrigerated or dry formulas. The latter can be kept at room temperatures. Foods and refrigerated supplements must be kept in a cool fridge to keep the bacteria alive. For dry probiotic supplements, check the packaging on how to store them, but generally they must be kept in a dry, dark place thats free of moisture. However, some probiotic capsules are better kept in the fridge, says BioK scientific director Mathieu Millette, PhD, Mcb. A., RMCCM. Check the instructions on the package to ensure youre storing them properly.
Does Your Gut Need Probiotics After Antibiotics
If you take antibiotics, theres a good chance youll also get diarrhea.
Antibiotics kill harmful bacteria that cause disease. But they also cause collateral damage to the microbiome, the complex community of bacteria that live in our gut. This results in a profound, though usually temporary, depletion of the beneficial bacteria.
One popular strategy to mitigate the disruption is to take a probiotic supplement containing live bacteria during, or following, a course of antibiotics.
The logic is simple: beneficial bacterial in the gut are damaged by antibiotics. So why not replace them with the beneficial bacterial strains in probiotics to assist gut bacteria returning to a balanced state?
But the answer is more complicated.
There is currently some evidence that taking probiotics can prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. This effect is relatively small, with 13 people needing to take probiotics for one episode of diarrhea to be averted.
But these studies have often neglected to evaluate potential harms of probiotic use and havent looked at their impact on the wider gut microbiome.
Feed Your Probiotics With Prebiotics
It is worth remembering that bacteria need some nourishment too! Thus, you must feed them foods rich in prebiotic fiber. One of the primary roles of prebiotics is to increase the survival rate of probiotics until it reaches your gut.
Examples of prebiotic foods are green vegetables, apples, bananas, berries, artichoke, asparagus, dandelion greens, leeks, legumes, barley, cocoa, oats, wheat, chicory, garlic, konjac, onions, yacon, burdock root, jicama and more!
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When To Take Probiotics After Antibiotics
Heres the catch though dont take them at the SAME time. If youre wondering when to take probiotics with antibiotics, a good rule of thumb is to wait two hours after your dose of antibiotics. This gives the antibiotics time to get through your digestive system and into your bloodstream. If you take them together, the antibiotics will wipe out the bacteria in your probiotic supplement.
Its a great idea to take your probiotics an hour after your morning dose and right before bedtime. That way your probiotic will be busily working all night long while you sleep.
Should You Take Probiotic Supplements While Taking Antibiotics
Antibiotics are an important class of drugs that are prescribed by healthcare providers to treat harmful bacterial infections in the body. However, they have not been proven useful for treating illnesses like the common cold or flu, which are viral infections. Moreover, current research suggests that antibiotics may have been over-prescribed in recent years as a preventative medication to reduce the risk of secondary infections. Since antibiotics kill all kinds of bacteria, including helpful gut bacteria, side effects of antibiotic use often include stomach upset, diarrhea, or thrush.
Probiotics are often called the good bacteria because, along with yeasts, they help keep your gut healthy. Probiotics help food pass through your digestive system by affecting the nerves that cause gut movement. Researchers are still actively trying to figure out how probiotics work but doctors often suggest taking probiotics to help with antibiotic-related diarrhea, such as clostridium difficile infection commonly associated with taking fluoroquinolones, such as ciprofloxacin or Cipro.
Tips for Taking Antibiotics
Anytime you are prescribed an antibiotic, you should take the meds exactly as prescribed. You are sick, so dont be too anxious to restore absolute balance to your system. Listed below are few helpful tips for taking antibiotic drugs:
New Research on Side Effects of Taking Probiotics
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Taking Antibiotics With Food
Ask your doctor if it is OK to take foods together with antibiotics.
Note that food and drinks can disturb the effectiveness of antibiotics. Worst, it might even cause side effects if you take food and antibiotics simultaneously!
What could possibly happen? Eating foods and taking certain medications simultaneously may prevent the absorption of the medicine. As a result, it makes your pill less effective.
Side Effects Of Probiotics
There have been very few scientific studies about the side effects of common probiotics. Most of what we know comes from consumer reports. In a large review study, researchers found that in about 10% of cases, people who used probiotics had mild digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea . In another review, as many as 27% of people who used probiotics experienced gas and bloating .
In the case of Clostridium difficile infection, a serious side effect can be developing colon inflammation. However, it is not clear whether the C.difficile was already there prior to taking the probiotic or whether it was caused by the probiotic itself. More studies are needed to clarify this risk .
What we do know is that some bacteria may have antibiotic resistance and pass it on to other bacteria in the microbiome. Probiotics have been known to have multiple effects on the immune system as well, including causing allergies and worsening asthma.
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