Should I Take Probiotics While Taking Antibiotics Or After – In this article, you’ll learn how probiotics can prevent some of the negative effects of antibiotics and keep your gut healthy. You’ll discover the best probiotic supplements on the market for antibiotic-associated diarrhea and other digestive issues, as well as probiotic foods to eat.
Antibiotics are a group of drugs that kill bacteria. They are used for serious infections in or on the body. Common antibiotics include clindamycin and amoxicillin, although there are many different types of antibiotics on the market.
Should I Take Probiotics While Taking Antibiotics Or After
Antibiotics work by killing bacteria directly or by stopping them from growing or reproducing, thereby reducing the number of bacteria over time.
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Antibiotics only kill bacterial infections in the body, which means they are not effective for illnesses like colds or the flu, for example, because these are viral illnesses.
Fortunately, many GI problems caused by antibiotics can be fixed with a probiotic supplement. We’ll get to that in a minute, but hold on tight: There are a few other common side effects of antibiotics that we’ll cover first.
Clostridium difficile is an infection that causes diarrhea and inflammation of the colon. It is associated with recent antibiotic use and being in a healthcare setting.
Researchers have found that while using antibiotics, as well as one month after the fact, your risk of contracting c.diff increases 7-10 times. One month after antibiotic treatment, your risk of getting c.diff increases three to three months after treatment. . (1)
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Common antibiotics associated with c.diff infections include clindamycin and fluoroquinolones (such as ciprofloxacin (Cipro), gemifloxacin (Factive), and levofloxacin (Levaquin), among others).
While it’s easy to see how antibiotics can cause digestive upset or even serious infections like c.diff, you may not realize that taking antibiotics causes negative changes to your microbiome (the bacteria in your gut). Your microbiome is responsible for a number of functions to maintain your health, including aiding in digestion, nutrient production, immune response, and more.
This negative change in bacteria leads to a condition called “dysbiosis”, basically an imbalance in the correct levels of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Dysbiosis can cause digestive problems such as constipation, gas, reflux, constipation, and diarrhea, but it is also associated with many chronic diseases. If you want to know more about dysbiosis and the chronic diseases associated with it, be sure to check out my article on the subject here.
Clindamycin, one of the antibiotics I mentioned earlier, has been shown to cause abnormal changes in healthy intestinal flora even two years after treatment. (2) Clindamycin also has many unpleasant side effects including gastritis, gas and bloating, diarrhea, and can cause a C.diff infection, as I mentioned above. (3) For more examples of how antibiotics affect the gut microbiota and their associated effects, please see this research article. Clindamycin is by far one of the worst antibiotics in terms of unwanted bacterial mutations, but it’s wise to check the research on the side effects of any medication you’re considering taking.
Should You Take Probiotics?
Although we know that the use of antibiotics carries risks, the truth is that sometimes we need them. The goal of this article is not to discuss alternative medicine like natural antibiotics (although that is certainly an important discussion); instead, it is to give you advice on why probiotics are important in reducing the effects of antibiotics.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria can resist the effects of antibiotics. Not good! When we use an antibiotic we want it to work, right? When bacteria become resistant, it means that things that used to be easily treated with antibiotics can no longer be killed by those same drugs.
When antibiotics are over-prescribed and used, this can (over time) lead to antibiotic resistance. There will always be some bacteria that are resistant to the antibiotic you are taking. After finishing its course, the bacteria that remain are those that are resistant to the drug. They are now allowed to grow freely and are no longer protected by the good bacteria in your microbiome. The more antibiotics you use, the stronger the resistant bacteria will become.
Now, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take antibiotics when prescribed. After all, antibiotics are life-saving drugs. But it does mean that you should have an open conversation with your healthcare provider about whether antibiotics are necessary (some doctors still prescribe antibiotics (often because the patient requests them) for illnesses like the common cold, which are not affected by antibiotics because it is a virus).
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Probiotics are live microorganisms that have a beneficial effect on the host (that’s you!). Your microbiome contains tons of probiotics and you can also consume probiotics exogenously by using probiotic supplements or probiotic-rich foods.
Probiotics have many benefits. They improve the side effects of antibiotics (such as diarrhea), which we will talk about soon. But in addition to this, probiotics have been shown to be helpful for many health conditions.
A common side effect of probiotics is increased digestive discomfort, such as bloating or gas. This is usually temporary and resolves after a few days of regular use of probiotic supplements or probiotic foods.
More serious side effects are possible, but very rare. Bacteria or yeast used as a probiotic supplement can enter the bloodstream and cause an infection. Those most at risk of infection include immunocompromised patients, premature babies, those with short bowel syndrome, anyone with a central venous catheter, and patients with heart valve disease.
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Well, the right probiotic to choose depends on what you want it to do. Probiotic effects are strain-specific, which means that different strains have different effects on the body. If you want to reduce anxiety, you can take a strain called Bifidobacterium longum R0175; however, this strain may not be suitable if you want to prevent c.diff infection.
There are many myths floating around about whether or not to take antibiotics during an antibiotic cycle. The argument goes something like this: “I’m taking an antibiotic, why should I take a probiotic? Can’t my antibiotic just kill the probiotics?”
The answer is that probiotic supplementation during antibiotic treatment has been shown to reduce the severity of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. (4) So even though your antibiotics may kill some of that good gut bacteria, antibiotics still reduce the harmful effects of antibiotics.
Here is a list of the most researched and effective supplements for reducing the incidence and severity of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. These are some of the best probiotic supplements on the market.
Pdf) A Complementary Medicine Approach To Augmenting Antibiotic Therapy: Current Practices In The Use Of Probiotics During Antibiotic Therapy
Antibiotics also tend to cause an overgrowth of yeast (especially candida albicans). In a study in patients supplemented with probiotics containing Lactobacillus acidophilus CUL60 and CUL21 and two strains of Bifidobacterium spp., those supplemented with probiotics along with antibiotics showed lower yeast overgrowth compared to the placebo group. (9) S.boulardii, mentioned above, has been shown to help prevent some virulence factors associated with C. albicans. (10) So far I haven’t seen any research on the effects of VSL #3 or Lactobacillus GG on C.albicans or other yeasts, but please post in the comments section if you know of any.
Based on the research, I think either of these probiotics is a good choice when taking antibiotics, but there may be a small advantage to S. boulardii in helping to deal with the yeast overgrowth that is common with antibiotic treatment. However, research has shown that other strains of probiotics may also help in this regard, so it is possible that VSL#3 and Lactobacillus may also be helpful in reducing fungal counts.
It is not necessary to take all these probiotics (it will be very expensive!), although I doubt it will harm you in any way.
If you can’t find any of these probiotics, I still think you’re better off taking whatever probiotics are available to you. While there may not have been research on the specific strains of your supplement (and the effects of probiotics are specific), it’s possible that supplements in general could help prevent side effects of antibiotic treatment.
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In addition to buying probiotic foods at the grocery store, you can also make your own! It’s very easy to do and you can even buy starter cultures online to make the process easier. Check out the Thriving Market that sells some of these starter cultures (plus tons of healthy food delivered right to your door).
Eventually, I started a prebiotic and probiotic drink mix company, Gut Power Drinks, that’s an option too! Our first product is Gut Power Matcha, a prebiotic and probiotic matcha green tea. It’s a great way to get these healthy bacteria into your routine in an easy and delicious way.
As you can see, probiotics are powerful when it comes to preventing the negative effects of antibiotics.
If you are looking for the best probiotic supplement to prevent these symptoms,
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