Why You Need Probiotics When You Take Antibiotics

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If you’ve ever been diagnosed with a bacterial disease such as strep throat, urinary tract infections, or pneumonia, your physician may have prescribed antibiotics as a treatment.

Just about every person takes antibiotics at some point in their lives. In fact, in the United States, over 266 million antibiotic prescriptions are written every year.

Antibiotics have enormous benefits as medicines that help stop infections caused by bacteria.  These powerful drugs have transformed healthcare. Antibiotics have made many diseases treatable and have saved millions of lives. The benefits of antibiotics to protect people against bacterial infections cannot be overstated.

But as useful as antibiotics are, there are some serious drawbacks for adults and children taking these prescriptions.

Side Effects of Antibiotics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adverse reactions to antibiotics are responsible for one in five medication-related emergency room visits. This may be the result of serious allergic reactions or when the antibiotics interact with other drugs such as blood thinners, antacids, and anti-inflammatory drugs (like over-the-counter pain medicines) and cause problems.

And although antibiotics are important for treating bacterial infections, they are not gut-friendly.

For the majority of people, the most common side effects occur on the digestive system such as

  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating

Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to help these tummy troubles. There are natural choices that can preserve and restore the proper balance of the microbiome (collection of bacteria that naturally lives in our gut) during and after a course of antibiotics.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Intestinal Health

Since antibiotics kill the bad germs that can cause infections throughout the body, they also often kill the beneficial bacteria as well that you need for optimal health. That’s because antibiotics cannot tell the difference between the “bad” bacteria and “good” bacteria. Instead, they kill all types of bacteria as they work to stop the infection.

There is a natural solution. Most experts agree that taking Probiotics along with antibiotics is a smart decision. And their advice is supported by a multitude of published research papers.

And best of all, Probiotics are safe, natural, and effective.

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are the ‘friendly’ bacteria that normally and naturally live in the human digestive tract.

Although people often think of bacteria and other microorganisms as harmful “germs,” many are actually helpful. Probiotics replace the beneficial bacteria that may have been killed by the antibiotics. Probiotics can help restore the balance between healthful and harmful bacteria.

Probiotics are like superheroes who help rescue the body and restore harmony in your gut.  By adding beneficial bacteria, Probiotics support intestinal health, balance the levels of microorganisms in the intestines, and boost the good bacteria for optimal intestinal wellness.

The Benefits of Using Probiotics with Antibiotics

A great deal of research has been done on Probiotics. As seen in published scientific documents, supplementing antibiotics with Probiotics drastically reduces the nasty side effects of gut flora health issues mentioned before such as bloating, gas, stomach cramps, and diarrhea,

By reducing or eliminating these (and many other) side effects, probiotics also make it easier to tolerate the antibiotic prescription. This prevents many people from stopping these important medicines and allows them to finish the entire dose of antibiotics.

Continuing to take Probiotics even after finishing the antibiotic treatment helps replenish the digestive tract with healthy bacteria.

So, if your healthcare professional decides that you need antibiotics for a bacterial infection, take steps to support your body during the process. Take action to minimize negative health consequences by supplementing with Probiotics.

How to Use Probiotics with Antibiotics

When using Probiotics with prescriptions, there are some timing issues to be aware of for best results.

It is usually advised that antibiotics and Probiotics should not be taken within two hours of each other.  This is because as antibiotics work their way through your system, they destroy everything in their path, including the good bacteria. If the Probiotics are taken to close to the time the antibiotics are consumed, they won’t be able to do their job as efficiently.

Waiting a minimum of two hours will give the antibiotics time to pass through your body so the probiotics can safely work and rejuvenate healthy bacteria.

Probiotic Foods Can Help During Antibiotic Therapy

And you don’t need to stop with Probiotic supplements alone. By eating foods that are rich in Probiotics you continue to help your stomach stay strong. Just remember that in order for these foods to provide benefits, the Probiotic bacteria must be alive at the time of consumption.

Both fermented foods and high-fiber food will help support your digestive health during and after your antibiotic treatment.

Fermented Probiotic foods include:

  • Yogurt. This is the classic and most familiar Probiotic food choice, but remember that not all yogurt is created equal. Be sure to choose a product that delivers live and active cultures
  • Kombucha.  This is a tangy, fizzy, effervescent fermented tea that is now readily available at most health-food stores
  • Tempeh.  This plant-based protein from soybeans is loaded with fiber, vitamins, and Probiotic benefits and is often used as a meat substitute
  • Sauerkraut and kimchi are fermented foods that are rich in beneficial Probiotics. However, pasteurization typically kills live bacteria, so be sure to choose “unpasteurized” items
  • Kefir.  Asa thick and creamy fermented probiotic milk drink, Kefir packs a Probiotic punch
  • Miso. Most familiar as Miso soup, this is actually a Japanese fermented soybean paste

Probiotic foods help rebalance and restore optimum gut health by creating an environment where the good guys in your digestive tract can regain strength. Both Probiotic supplements and a healthy diet provide reinforcement for good intestinal health every day, and especially when you are taking antibiotics.

The Bottom Line

When you are sick with a bacterial infection, antibiotics can be very useful and important. But they can cause side effects, including long-term negative changes in the gut.

Probiotics, however, have powerful positive effects on health and may help relieve some of these problems to make you more comfortable.

Taking a Probiotic supplement and eating Probiotic foods may help reduce the immediate side effects of prescriptions, and can help to get your gut microbiome back on track even after the medicine is completed. Consider adding Probiotics to your daily life, and particularly when you are taking antibiotic medications.