Antibiotics are known to eliminate gastrointestinal distress and yeast infections, but they can also impair the beneficial bacteria that inhabit our guts. Antibiotic users vouch experiencing antibiotic-associated diarrhea caused by bacterial imbalance. Probiotics are usually prescribed to maintain that crucial bacterial balance. Probiotic supplements help maintain microbial pH levels by crowding out an overpopulation of harmful bacteria and replenishing it with good bacteria that were killed off by antibiotic medication. Now the question is, can you take probiotics with antibiotics?
Can you combine probiotics with antibiotics?
Yes, you can. With the proliferation of antibiotics out there, there’s been an equal increase in gastrointestinal distress and other microbial infections. Consequently, it’s now well-understood, and even physician advised to consume probiotic supplements. These probiotic supplements counter side effects of antibiotics by preventing diarrhea and yeast infections, reducing symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and easing off frequent antibiotic use.
Oral antibiotic therapy can obliterate beneficial bacteria. This obliteration can develop into Clostridium difficile (or C. diff), a disease-causing bacteria strain to expand within the intestines and cause an extreme diarrheal infection.
So, in combining probiotics with antibiotics, it’s best not to self-prescribe and randomly buy any generic probiotic you see advertised online. If you’re using antibiotics but need to take probiotics, you have to tailor your probiotic needs to your condition. Remember that not all probiotics are equally formulated; each probiotic product or brand addresses a specific need. Some are formulated for adults, children, or even pets. All probiotic supplements have different strains of bacteria useful for a particular ailment and contain various amounts of colony forming units (CFUs). The best thing we can do to mix probiotics with our antibiotic intake is to choose a probiotic product with specific strains that will go well with antibiotic consumption.
Look for products containing these ingredients:
- Saccharomyces Boulardii, a well-studied yeast strain used as a probiotic to prevent diarrhea caused by antibiotic use.
- Lactobacillus Rhamnosus protects against antibiotic-associated diarrhea in both adults and children.
Plus, doses measured in CFUs should be equal to or greater than one billion to counter antibiotic side effects. Lower CFUs for those who simply wanting to be healthier or regulating their bowel movement without antibiotic usage. Probiotics aren’t just for adults but can also benefit children who are on frequent antibiotic medication.
And lastly, choose reputable probiotic brands that you can find and check if the product has passed legal and regulatory standards.
When to take probiotics with antibiotics
So, when to take probiotics with antibiotics? Although you can consume probiotics while using antibiotics, it’s best not to take them at the same time. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), you should wait at least two to three hours prior or after ingesting an antibiotic to gulp down a probiotic supplement.
Look for probiotics that contain specific strains you need and have at least one billion live cells. Probiotics are proven to be safe as studies show. However, consult your doctor before mixing probiotics with your antibiotic therapy.
A probiotic supplement can…
- Counter antibiotic side effects
- Relieve antibiotic-associated diarrhea
- Regulate bowel movement
- Treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Prevent Clostridium difficile
Taking probiotics with antibiotics…
- Is not for people who have a compromised immune system (AIDS/HIV, cancer)
- At the same time may cause a possible health harm
Furthermore, don’t stop your probiotic intake even if you have already completed the course of your antibiotic therapy. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea can still commence a couple of weeks following your antibiotic completion. Taking probiotics with antibiotics is more effective if you can also supplement your probiotic intake with foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt, dark chocolate, and fermented vegetables. These foods, along with your trusted probiotic supplement, can help replenish your intestinal community with beneficial bacteria that were killed off during antibiotic use.