Sometimes health can take a different turn, and taking antibiotics becomes inevitable. This might be of concern, especially on the well-being of your gut. So you may ask, should you take probiotics with antibiotics?
Antibiotics are usually associated with side effects, including diarrhea, bloating, gas, yeast infections, and in some cases, headaches.
Most of these effects are due to the disruption that occurs in the gut flora. So taking care of your gut while taking antibiotics is essential, and taking probiotics can help you achieve it.
So yes, it’s good to take probiotics with antibiotics, and this article explains further, including the best timing to ensure maximum benefits.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live microorganisms similar to the good bacteria in your gut that can help restore the gut microbiome.
Probiotics can be taken as a supplement or by eating fermented foods.
How Do Antibiotics Influence The Gut?
In ancient days, bacteria were only viewed as disease-causing microorganisms, which led to the invention of antibiotics.
Yes, they saved millions of lives, but something else was going unnoticed: The good gut bacteria plus their amazing health benefits and the damage each antibiotic prescription was causing.
But with many different studies today, the medical community is now aware of the harmful effects of antibiotics on gut flora.
Your gut environment consists of a trillion bacteria, fungi, and yeast, all commonly referred to as the microbiome. While some of these organisms can be harmful, others are extremely beneficial to your digestive health, immune system, mental health, and heart health.
But consuming antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria. This leads to a disruption in normal gut function, breaking the protective gut barrier and leaving you susceptible to infections.
In extreme cases, you might end up with Candida overgrowth, irritable bowel syndrome, acne, malabsorption, depression, anxiety, brain fog, and autoimmune diseases. But you don’t have to wait for your body to reach this breaking point.
How Do Probiotics Restore Gut Flora?
Probiotics contain the same beneficial organism as those in your gut.
After an antibiotic course, the gut flora takes time before it can resume normalcy.
This may put your health at risk, and instead of waiting for the gut to slowly restore itself, boosting it with a good probiotic comes a long way.
And even though probiotics may not restore the gut flora immediately, taking them will help prevent harmful bacteria from taking over during the course of antibiotics.
And if your timing is right, the good bacteria will begin to do their job until the next dose of antibiotics wipes them.
Taking a prebiotic 2 hours before or after probiotics will help you reap as many benefits as you can.
What Is The Best Prebiotic To Take With Antibiotics?
Most probiotic strains are considered safe for most people, but if you’re allergic, avoid strains with high histamine-producing tendencies, such as Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, Lactobacillus Casei, and Lactobacillus Reuters.
Choose a probiotic that improves digestion and reduces histamine levels while preventing inflammation, such as Bifidobacterium Lactis, Bifidobacterium Longum, Lactobacillus Plantarum, and Bifidobacterium Infantis.
Another great alternative is to use a yeast strain probiotic such as S. Boulardii. Since it’s not a bacteria, antibiotics won’t even come near.
Studies are now showing that S.boulardii can prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) if taken with antibiotics.
Natural food sources of probiotics
Besides taking a probiotic supplement, probiotic-rich foods can help boost your intake while offering additional benefits.
Most of these foods are fermented, which is the natural process that enables the probiotics to form.
Best probiotic foods include:
Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish that has been around for centuries. In fact, it was believed to have originated in China about 4,000 years ago! Sauerkraut is packed with healthy bacteria and nutrients, which makes it an excellent choice for boosting your gut health. Here are 10 benefits of eating sauerkraut:
- Sauerkraut helps to detoxify your digestive system.
- It’s a good source of probiotics, which help to maintain your gut health.
- It’s a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants.
- It’s high in calcium and potassium.
- It’s low in calories and sodium.
- It can help to reduce inflammation in the body.
- It can improve your mood and energy levels.
- It can aid in weight loss efforts.
- It has anti-cancer properties.
- Strengthens bones and prevents osteoporosis
- A good source of vitamin B12
Tempeh is a delicious and healthy alternative to meat. It is made from fermented soybeans and has many health benefits, including:
- It’s a high-quality source of protein. It contains all of the essential amino acids, which are important for muscle growth and maintenance.
- Tempeh is a good source of fiber. This helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of obesity and heart disease.
- Tempeh is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect cells from oxidative damage, which prevents chronic conditions, including cancer.
- Tempeh is a good source of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and zinc. These minerals help maintain your body’s balance and function.
- Tempeh is low in fat and calories. This makes it an ideal choice for people who are trying to lose weight or maintain their weight loss goals.
- Tempeh tastes great! Unlike many other types of meat alternatives.
- Tempeh has anti-inflammatory properties. This can help to reduce the risk of diseases such as cancer and arthritis.
Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish made from fermented vegetables like napa cabbage. It’s popular in South Korea and other parts of East Asia. It’s a healthy and versatile dish that can be enjoyed for its many health benefits.
- Kimchi is high in antioxidants, which can help to protect your body from damage caused by the sun and other internal and external factors.
- Kimchi is a good source of probiotics, which can help to improve your gut health.
- Kimchi is a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system, among other benefits
- It’s low in calories and has no cholesterol or saturated fat.
- Kimchi has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis and other diseases.
- It has antimicrobial properties, which can help fight against harmful bacteria in your gut.
- Kimchi can improve your mood and mental well-being by stimulating the production of serotonin and dopamine in your brain.
- Kimchi can help reduce the risk of cancer by promoting the growth of healthy cells in your body.
- Overall, kimchi is a nutritious and healthy dish that can offer you many health benefits!
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning and condiment made from fermented soybeans, barley, or rice. It has a rich flavor and is often used in soups, stews, and sauces.
Here are 10 health benefits of miso you should know about.
- Miso can improve your digestion. It contains lactic acid bacteria, which helps break down food in the gut and promote healthy intestinal flora. This helps reduce inflammation in the gut and promote better digestive function overall.
- Miso can lower blood pressure levels. Studies have shown that people who consume miso on a regular basis have lower blood pressure levels than those who do not. Miso is also a good source of potassium, which can help to lower blood pressure levels.
- Miso can help to reduce the symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). IBS is a condition that causes pain and discomfort in the stomach and intestines. Miso can help to improve the symptoms of IBS by reducing inflammation and relieving constipation.
- Miso is a good source of protein. It contains high levels of both essential amino acids and muscle-building minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and iron. This helps to provide your body with all the essential nutrients it needs to build muscle mass.
- Miso can boost your immune system. The bacteria in miso acts as a natural antibiotic, protecting your body from harmful bacteria and viruses. Additionally, miso contains vitamin B12, which is important for maintaining your immune system function.
Kombucha is a tea made from black tea, sugar, SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), and sometimes added herbs. It has been used for centuries in many cultures as a health drink.
Some of the health benefits of kombucha include:
- Kombucha is good for a healthy gut. Kombucha can improve gut bacteria balance and protect against inflammation.
- Kombucha may be beneficial for weight loss. One study found that people who drank kombucha lost more weight and body fat than those who didn’t drink it. The reason for this is unknown, but it may be because kombucha contains ingredients that promote satiety, which limits your calorie intake.
- It may help to improve your cognitive function. Several studies have shown that kombucha can improve adult memory and cognitive function.
- Kombucha may help to reduce anxiety and stress. Many people find that drinking kombucha helps to reduce anxiety and stress levels. This is likely due to the various nutrients and antioxidants contained in kombucha.
Are there Harmful Effects and Interactions when Taking Probiotics?
Probiotics have been used for years, and the live cultures in probiotics are generally considered safe, especially since they already exist in your gut. However, side effects may occur in a few sensitive individuals.
Some of these may include?
- Digestive issues such bloating and gas.
The reason for these symptoms is not yet known, but studies say they should resolve within a few weeks. Normally, it’s your system trying to adjust.
If the symptoms persist, discontinue and try a different brand. In most cases, you might have to try a few brands before you find what works best for you.
- Allergic reactions
Some probiotics may contain allergens such as dairy, soy, and eggs. Make sure you read the labels carefully. In case of yeast allergies, you should consume bacteria-based probiotics.
Fermented protein-rich foods like soybean, kimchi, yogurt, and sauerkraut produce biogenic amines such as histamine, tryptamine, tyramine, and phenylethylamine, which may decrease or increase blood flow, excite the nervous system, and trigger headaches in sensitive individuals.
However, more research is needed to determine whether amines are a trigger for headaches or not.
How To Deal With Probiotic Side Effects
Generally, your system needs to adjust in the initial days, because the symptoms should disappear within a few weeks (2 weeks probably). During this period, you can reduce your intake to half the recommended dose, then gradually increase as your body adapts. If symptoms persist, discontinue that particular brand.
In case you experience diarrhea as a side effect, make sure to rehydrate enough to prevent dehydration.
Additionally, since most probiotics can interact with certain foods to produce gas, it’s better to take them on an empty stomach (possibly first thing in the morning) 30 minutes before a meal.
Just remember to drink a glass of water first, as this will help dilute the gastric juices and promote probiotic survival.
Body-probiotic adjustments may last up to 2 weeks before the benefits can kick in, so practice patience.
Are All Probiotics The Same?
Delivery mechanisms, diversity, and dosage may differ with different types of probiotics, and the same is with benefits and side effects. That’s why you shouldn’t conclude that your body doesn’t like probiotic supplements simply because a certain strain or brand failed.
Studies show different survival rates for different probiotic strains, whether taken 30 minutes before food, with food, or after food. You just need to approach your probiotic intake according to the specific strain in your probiotic – follow your manufacturer’s recommendations.
Probiotics are generally safe, but side effects such as bloating, constipation, allergies, and headaches may occur. In case of side effects, reduce your dosage to half and increase gradually as your body adjusts. If symptoms occur for more than two weeks, discontinue your current brand.
Conclusion on Probiotics
Antibiotics disrupt the beneficial bacteria in your gut, leading to unpleasant adverse effects and increased susceptibility to disease-causing pathogens. However, taking probiotics with antibiotics probably 2 hours before or after antibiotic intake may help maintain normal gut functions despite your illness. Additionally, eating fermented foods more often may help enhance your probiotic intake and benefits.
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