Taking probiotics with antibiotics is not anything new. This has long been a standard recommendation to avoid side effects from antibiotics, and for good reasons. Supplying the gut with probiotics before, during, and after taking antibiotics has for many helped avoid problems.
Some people have asked: Are probiotics safe to use? Which probiotics are recommended to help avoid damage to the digestive system?
Risks with probiotics?
Absolutely not! Consuming probiotics has proven a simple and safe way to spare the body from the onslaught of antibiotics. In fact, many doctors will routinely prescribe probiotics together with antibiotics for the simple reason that adding probiotic bacteria in many cases counteracts the harmful effects of strong medication.
Antibiotics have its place in medicine and can definitely save a life, as in case of bacterial infections. But antibiotics can also cause serious problems, some of which can take a long time to resolve. What are some antibiotic side effects?
Antibiotics side effects
Some classes of antibiotics are penicillins, cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, sulfonamides, tetracyclines, and others. They all produce more or less side effects that you should be aware of.
Side effects of antibiotics:
- can permanently change the colony of gut bacteria causing imbalances in the digestive system
- can interfere with hunger hormones leading to increased appetite and weight gain
- might cause allergic reactions, both minor and severe
In some cases, severe reactions to antibiotics can lead to shortness of breath, wheezing, hives, swelling of the face, lips or tongue. If you experience any such reaction, do not delay contacting your doctor. Be aware that antibiotics sometimes react with other drugs causing acute symptoms.
Antibiotics devastate digestive health
Few things are as devastating to intestinal health as antibiotics. Why? Because antibiotics kill, not only harmful bacteria but also healthy bacteria residing in the digestive system. This can disturb the delicate balance that must exist for the digestive tract to work well.
An adult human has 3 to 4 pounds of microorganisms colonizing the intestines. When this colony is balanced, it promotes many body functions. However, when this delicate balance gets disturbed many problems can occur. And it may take months or longer for the gut to fully recover after eating antibiotics.
Less serious reactions include…
- Bloating, indigestion
- Loss of appetite
- Yeast infections
- Stomach pain
Antibiotics only when absolutely necessary
Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed medications and surveys show that many doctors prescribe antibiotics when they shouldn’t. One reason for this is that patients pressure their doctor to give antibiotics as a quick cure. Many doctors comply simply to please the patient. Often doctors don’t have the time or the means available to identify the infecting germ and just prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics. However, this may harm more than healing the patient!
- During 2010, Levaquin was a best-selling antibiotic in the US. But during 2011, it was the subject of more than 2,000 lawsuits from patients who had suffered severe reactions.
- In an interview, a pharmacological epidemiologist at the University of British Columbia said the drugs were overused “by lazy doctors who are trying to kill a fly with an automatic weapon.”
There are therefore solid reasons to avoid antibiotics as a quick cure, and only take them in the rare case of a serious infection.
Which probiotics work best?
When prescribed, but be sure to consume ample amounts of probiotics before, during and after consuming antibiotics. This will help protect the intestinal health. In many cases, it’s even more effective to take a probiotic supplement AND at the same time consume fermented foods. This floods the gut with many different beneficial strains which compensate for the loss because of antibiotics.
Excellent fermented foods include…
- fermented vegetables or sauerkraut; homemade is the best
- yogurt with probiotics; excellent for your gut
- kefir is similar to yogurt but containing other probiotic bacteria
- other foods containing natural probiotics
For most people, any of the following supplements will probably work well.
How to take probiotics with antibiotics
Star taking antibiotics as soon as you learn that you will start taking antibiotics. This will prepare the gut and lessen severe reactions to antibiotics. How should probiotics be taken? Try the following:
- Avoid taking probiotic supplements within 2-3 hours after taking antibiotics. However, you can eat fermented foods at all times.
- Take the probiotic supplement 10-15 minutes before breakfast with some water or juice. If you take antibiotics in the morning, take the probiotic supplement at lunch.
- Consume small amounts of fermented foods throughout the day, perhaps with every meal. Probiotic foods are fine to consume with antibiotics.
- Some specialists also recommend consuming prebiotics, which is another simple but effective strategy.
Some specialists recommend continuing eating probiotics long after taking antibiotics as this will help stabilize the gut and counteract many problems.
Consuming probiotics with antibiotics is simple, safe and may prevent many problems.