Does It Help to Take Probiotics With Antibiotics? Benefits and Effects

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Most people have been prescribed antibiotics at least once in their lives. Besides, penicillin is one of the main reasons lifespans have increased significantly, antibiotics have drastically changed over the years, and now they are safer than ever.

However, the truth is that antibiotics can eliminate some good gut bacteria, and it’s best to have as much information before taking them. One of the most common queries we, as a medical company, receive is whether you should combine probiotics with antibiotics.

This post will review probiotics with antibiotics, their side effects, and whether you should mix them or not. When you finish going through this article, you’ll be ready to take your meds safely.

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What are Probiotics?

Probiotics are “good,” live bacteria and yeasts. They are particularly beneficial for your digestive system, flooded with bacteria that regulate digestion and other functions.

According to LiveScience, these good cells support the immune system, enhance nutrient absorption, and decrease inflammation. Besides keeping your gut microbiome healthy, they even help maintain a healthy vagina floral and teeth.

Some Foods rich in Probiotic

Probiotics are present in bacteria-fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, or kombucha. You can also buy probiotic supplements if your doctor suggests them, or you often face digestive complications.

How Probiotics Work

Probiotics reduce the effects of pathogenic microbes in the digestive system by competing with them for sustenance. Probiotics produce anti-microbial substances or bind onto viruses and pathogenes to kill them.

They balance the good and bad bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract to keep the body functioning (also known as the gut microbiome). Likewise, they replenish the good bacteria in your body after losing them due to an infection or drug.

Most Common Side Effects of Probiotics

There are many different types of probiotics. For example, one common bacteria used in probiotic boosters is lactobacillus. However, there are at least 12 separate lactobacillus species in the products.

That means that side effects vary greatly from one person to another, even when most people don’t experience any. That said, the most reported common side effects are as follows:

  • More gas and bloating than usual – Which goes away after prolonged use
  • Headaches or migraines
  • An increase in histamine – Which causes watery eyes, itchiness, and other allergy symptoms
  • Thirst or constipation

To avoid these risks, reduce the doses and notice how your body feels. Then, if everything is okay, increase or maintain said dose.

Drug and food interactions with Probiotics

Some foods and drugs interfere with probiotics and their effects. So while taking them, it’s advisable to avoid the following foods:

  • Carbonated drinks / Tap water – Which make you more bloated and have difficult digestion
  • Gluten-rich foods – As can irritate your gut flora
  • Dairy foods, except for yogurt – Opt for full-fat dairy products

Regarding drugs, probiotics are generally safe and not known to interact with any medication. However, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor before taking them.

Probiotics and Antibiotics: What’s the Difference?

Probiotics are live, good yeasts and bacteria in your gut and digestive system that help regulate your body. On the other hand, antibiotics are drugs created to treat bacterial infections by killing the responsible bacteria.

Often, antibiotics also kill the beneficial bacteria in the digestive flora. As a result, your immune system efficiency decreases, and you are ironically more likely to become sick.

Taking Antibiotics & Probiotics at the Same Time

If probiotics are live bacteria and antibiotics kill bacteria, the following question arises: Can you take them together?

The answer is yes! Often, dietitians and doctors suggest you take probiotics during or after the antibiotic treatment to replenish and encourage healthy bacteria growth in the gut.

Researchers report that taking antibiotics and probiotics together reduces antibiotic-associated diarrhea. It may also help reduce other side effects and consequences.

Why You Should Take Probiotics With Antibiotics

The Best Way to Combine Probiotics with Antibiotics

The FDA does not regulate probiotics since they are food or supplements instead of medication. So there are no dosing guidelines.

Opt for high-quality probiotic foods to avoid compromising your gut health and overall well-being. Trust only reliable sources and companies.

Since antibiotics can and will kill healthy bacteria in your system, take one a few hours after the other to ensure effectiveness. But, according to Dr. Hoberman, a board-certified Gastroenterologist, it doesn’t matter which you take first, as long as there are two hours between usage.

Do Probiotics Lessen Antibiotic Side Effects?

One may think that taking live bacteria when undergoing a treatment aimed at killing other bacteria is counterproductive. But research and studies reviews indicate the opposite.

Combining probiotics with antibiotics is indeed more effective than taking medication alone.

Do Probiotics Make Antibiotics More Effective?

As reviewed in the post, yes, probiotics make antibiotics more effective. They counter the harmful effects on your gastrointestinal floral by encouraging new bacteria growth.

Research and studies don’t show any harmful interference between probiotics and antibiotic treatment, but rather the opposite.

Best time to use probiotics: During and after treatment

You can take probiotics during and after antibiotic treatment. One of their popular uses is to restore the microbiome after taking antibiotics. You can use them indefinitely, so long as it is in moderation. Include yogurt in your daily diet and more greeny vegetables like spinach.

During the antibiotic treatment, as already mentioned, you should take the probiotics within 2-3 hours of difference, regardless of which one you take first.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It will help if you avoid alcohol when on antibiotic treatment. Some antibiotics can make you sick or dizzy, aggravated by consuming alcoholic drinks.

Regarding drugs, some antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of the contraceptive pill. The best way to ensure everything is safe is by asking your doctor or pharmaceutic before taking any meds. 

Yes, especially penicillins. Some antibiotics are safe for pregnant women, though it’s always advisable to ask your doctor. 

The answer is yes. Antibiotics can kill healthy bacteria. So often, dietitians and doctors suggest you take probiotics during or after the antibiotic treatment to replenish and encourage healthy bacteria growth in the gut. 

Since antibiotics can and will kill healthy bacteria in your system, take one a few hours after taking the other to ensure effectiveness. It doesn’t matter which you use first, as long as there are 2-3 hours between usage. Buy supplements from reliable and well-established companies to avoid compromising your health. 

The best approach to avoid this situation is to avoid taking antibiotics without a prescription. You should strictly follow your doctor’s indications and never stop the treatment before the due date. 

Probiotics are good for your health even when you are not undergoing antibiotic treatment. They help regulate your gastrointestinal system and boost your immune system, along with many other benefits. Taking supplements or natural foods with probiotics is advisable, even when you don’t have a bacterial or yeast infection. 

No, they don’t. Antibiotics can kill some healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal flora, though. It depends on the antibiotic you take, how long the treatment is, your overall immune system condition, and more. 

Yes. Even though some people may think it’s counterproductive, research shows that the effectiveness of antibiotics increases when combined with probiotics. 

It’s always best to ingest natural probiotic-rich foods like yogurts and spinach. However, sometimes you need supplements. Should you buy them, make sure the company is reliable and meets health criteria.

The Bottom Line | What You Need to Know

Many people worry about whether they should combine probiotics with antibiotics. The truth is that mixing them ensures better results than taking antibiotics alone.

Antibiotic treatment aims at harmful bacteria but can kill good gastrointestinal bacteria indiscriminately. That’s why intaking probiotics, either via natural foods or supplements, help restore the gastrointestinal flora.

Do you have more doubts or want more information? Then, contact us today and schedule a virtual appointment.

The content on Doctor Alexa’s blog is reviewed by Advanced practice registered nurses or pharmacist and is intended for educational purposes only. This information should not be relied upon as professional medical counsel. Be sure to always consult with your physician about the dangers and benefits of any medication, treatment or procedure.

You shouldn’t wait to see the doctor for simple health needs.