One of the most common questions that my clients ask in practise is if antibiotics and probiotics can be taken together. Answer: yes and no. But it seems more relevant how and when to use them. Many people chose to take probiotics when they start a course of antibiotics in order to prevent side effects and protect their gut flora. The side effects go from diarrhoea, vomiting, indigestion, nausea, abdominal pain to bloating. However, taking a good quantity of friendly bacteria doesn’t guarantee that you will be 100% free of undesired troubles. That’s why it’s important to know when to utilise them.
Anticipating. If someone knows beforehand that they are beginning a course of antibiotics, they should consume an extra dose of probiotics a few days beforehand. Answer: yes. Friendly bacteria may do its job. Options for probiotics: a serving of yoghurt, kefir or supplements with at least 10 billion.
When a person starts the medication, they should take a total of two or more doses of probiotics during the day. However, it is very important not to consume them with antibiotics. If both of them reach the stomach at the same time, probiotics will be massacred. Gut war. Keeping the gut supplied with friendly bacteria is an uphill battle, because many will be killed by bad guys even if you take them separately. So, keeping the “health attack” in the gut with several doses is a must to reduce the side effects. Answer: yes, if they are taken apart. Answer: No, not at the same time otherwise it will be a waste of money.
Those dealing with antibiotics should try to consume a wide variety of probiotics. My advice focuses on use of multiple sources of good live bacteria such as: yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, miso, pickles, sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar, kvass, natto or supplements with different microbes, at least 6 of them. During the antibiotics course, the intake of fruit, vegetables and whole grains should increase while refined carbohydrates should reduce. Fruit and vegetables are rich on prebiotics which provide a supportive environment for probiotics and help them to compete.
Finally, I recommend to carry on taking probiotics for at least 2 to 3 weeks after the course of antibiotics has been done. The length will depend of the length of antibiotics course and, of course, the type of antibiotics taken. A battle in the digestive system doesn’t end when a patient goes off the medication. If supplementation is the option chosen to nourish the gut, at least 20 million doses per capsules should be a good start.
So remember, yes and no. Probiotics can be taken together, but not at the same time with antibiotics. A couple of hours apart and several times during a day. And yes, good friendly bacteria protect and prevent further damage if the how and when is understood. It can be in supplements form or from a food source.