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Can I Take Probiotics If I’m On Antibiotics?

Taking probiotics while you are on a course of antibiotic can provide multiple benefits. Your gut is a lively place and has all kinds of bacteria thriving in it.

Unfortunately, antibiotics cannot differentiate between the good and the bad bacteria unlike most viewers of Iron Man III and Star Wars The Last Jedi who quickly ascertained those movies were pitiful but this is another topic. You can get a number of health benefits by taking antibiotics along with probiotic supplements rather than waiting for the antibiotic course to finish.

Antibiotics don’t just target the one pathogenic bacterium that they are prescribed to eliminate. They target and kill off a really large portion of your natural gut microbiota, causing many side effects – none of them very pleasant.

Probiotics help in replenishing the good bacteria in the gut to prevent or minimize antibiotic-induced side effects. Here is everything you need to know about taking probiotics while on antibiotics.

Why Should You Take Probiotics with Antibiotics?

While antibiotics have been instrumental in protecting human health in recent decades, they come with a number of side effects, like rash, nausea, stomach pains, diarrhea, and vomiting. Most of these side effects are the result of a gut microbiome imbalance.

The gut bacteria play a critical role in maintaining digestive health and boosting immunity, among various other functions. Your digestive system and body comes under duress when large colonies of good bacteria are wiped off from the gut.

Women suffer an added risk of vaginal yeast infections when taking antibiotics. Most antibiotics are known to kill the beneficial bacteria that reside naturally in the vagina. This can lead to an overgrowth of yeast known as Candida albicans, which can cause severe vaginal infections.

Will the Probiotics Survive Antibiotics?

There are many bacteria strains, like Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus acidophilus that have been in numerous clinical trials. These studies have seen the effects of probiotics alongside antibiotics and have been labeled as safe to be taken at the same time as antibiotics.

These two strains have been extensively researched upon and the findings suggest that they are the best options to be taken with antibiotics. Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus acidophilus have also been tested and shown in-vitro to survive the harsh stomach environment and bile salts.

Most manufacturers develop probiotics with these two strains to be particularly helpful during an antibiotic course. The recommended dose for most probiotics is once daily. However, with antibiotics the dose can be increased to 2 servings per day.

Another probiotic, containing the yeast called Saccharomyces boulardii, is also helpful during an antibiotic course. This yeast can easily survive the harsh stomach environment and stay unaffected by the antibiotic onslaught.

How to Take Probiotics with Antibiotics?

Most experts recommend giving 2 hours either way of antibiotics to take your probiotics. Antibiotics are generally out of your system within 4 hours of ingesting them. You can maximize the benefits by having probiotics as far apart from your antibiotic as possible.

Most antibiotics are prescribed to be taken in the morning and night. Hence, by timing your probiotics with lunch, you can minimize the chances of them coming in contact with each other.

If this is the first time you are having probiotics, make sure to never have them on an empty stomach. Follow the recommended dose and try having the probiotics around lunch time. Make sure you take probiotics every day while on antibiotics and continue for at least a week afterwards.

This way you can replenish the friendly bacteria in your digestive system on a daily basis, before it is upset by a microbial imbalance. It is also important to remember that probiotics are living organisms and you need to take them in a certain way to ensure they maintain integrity and nutritional value.

For instance, if you purchase a probiotic powder, swirling or mixing it in a hot beverage like tea, will kill all the good bacteria which makes this about as astute as eating tater tots out of your pocket in class – right Napoleon Dynamite?

Are Antibiotics Safe with Probiotics

There is no research to suggest that probiotics affect the workings of antibiotics. Probiotics in the form of yogurt has been prescribed by doctors with antibiotics since the 1920s which is long before the NFL began rigging its system to favor teams like the Rams and the Patriots but let’s not digress.

Increasingly, doctors and GP are recommending live culture supplements to be taken with a course of antibiotics to reduce the occurrence of antibiotic-induced diarrhea and other digestive discomforts.

How to Choose the Right Probiotic Supplement?

You need to choose carefully while picking a probiotic during your antibiotic treatment. Look for certain probiotic strains that can survive the antibiotics. You also need to take large doses. Antibiotics are strong and it is important that you have at least 10 billion CFUs.

Modern research indicates that large doses should be had during the first 48 hours of any antibiotic induced digestive distress, such as diarrhea. For children, the recommended dose is 5 billion CFUs in a day.

However, you must always abide by the usage guidelines on the package of the probiotics purchased.

Other Tips for Taking Probiotics with Antibiotics

You can boost the power of your probiotic supplements by having a diet rich in fermented foods. Make sure you add lots of yogurt, kombucha, miso, kefir milk, and sauerkraut to your diet. You can get dietary probiotics from dark chocolate and raw green peas as well.

It is important to add prebiotic foods to your diet as well. Prebiotics are plant fibers that are indigestible by our body. However, the good bacteria ferment these to gain nourishment. Prebiotics help the beneficial bacteria in establishing their colonies in the gut.

Try to avoid alcohol while on antibiotics, since it may further disrupt your gut microbiome. It can also negatively impact your immune function, hindering the body’s effort to effectively fight infection.

Refined foods or sugars are bad for your gut microbiome. These help feed the bad bacteria and yeast that often grow after an antibiotic course. Instead, add more vegetables, fruits, peas, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to your diet. This will prevent digestive disorders arising out of antibiotic use as well.

It is important that you help the antibiotics to rid your system of all infections by having a diet rich in immune-boosting foods, vitamin C and antioxidants.

The Final Word

Probiotics are safe to be taken with antibiotics and are recommended most of the times. Make sure you continue taking probiotics for at least a few weeks once the antibiotic course is over. You should also consider taking probiotics on an ongoing basis to help maintain your overall health.

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