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Should You Take Probiotics After a Course of Antibiotics?

We've all been there - the doctor prescribes a course of antibiotics, and suddenly, you're left wondering what effects it may have on your body, specifically your gut health. This raises the age-old question, should you take probiotics after a course of antibiotics? Well, just before we answer this question, it's important to understand the relationship between antibiotics and your gut's microbiome.

Antibiotics are great for eliminating harmful bacteria that cause illness, but unfortunately, they also wipe out some of the beneficial bacteria in your gut. So, what's the solution? The answer may lie in probiotics - live bacteria and yeasts that can work wonders for your health, especially your digestive system.

The Impact of Antibiotics on Your Gut Health

When you take an antibiotic to fight an infection, its potent medicinal properties, while vitally important, can also disrupt the delicate ecosystem of bacteria in your gut. This disruption is often referred to as gut dysbiosis, which could lead to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. Antibiotics are not discerning — they wipe out both friendly and harmful bacteria. 

Multiple studies have demonstrated that the antibiotic-associated diarrhoea is a common side effect, and probiotics can work wonders in preventing this distressing problem. On a more unnerving note, an imbalance in gut flora is not just about tummy troubles. Emerging research has made startling connections between gut flora and diseases we wouldn't ordinarily link to our gut health, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and depression. 

These are pretty compelling reasons why it's worth your while to consider taking probiotics soon after your course of antibiotics. More so as research into the health benefits of probiotics is a hot topic in the scientific community, with potential positive implications for tackling conditions like atopic dermatitis, paediatric acute infectious diarrhoea, antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD), inflammatory bowel disease, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity. 

So, if you're wondering whether it makes sense to take probiotics after antibiotics, the answer is a resounding yes. It's about supporting your gut health, and in turn, your overall well being. 

Woman in sportswear showing heart on her stomach

Rediscovering Balance with Probiotics Post Antibiotics

So, why should you consider taking probiotics after a course of antibiotics? The reason is simple and profound. Antibiotics, while effective against bacterial infections, tend to sweep good bacteria along with the bad. This throws off the delicate ecosystem within your body - the gut microbiome. Thankfully, probiotics can act as repair tools, restoring balance to your gut flora. 

Probiotic supplements carry beneficial bacteria and yeasts that can recolonize your gut, offsetting the fallout of an antibiotic regime. They help replenish the gut microbiome and alleviate symptoms like antibiotic-associated diarrhoea that some people experience. Studies have shown probiotics to be quite effective in this regard. 

When choosing a probiotic to help replenish your gut microbiota after a course of antibiotics, a few top picks to consider include: 

  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG: One of the most studied probiotic strains, it is renowned for its ability to reinforce the gut barrier and supportive role in immune health.
  • Saccharomyces boulardii: While technically a yeast, this beneficial organism functions like a probiotic and is known for supporting gut health and enhancing the body’s immune response. It is also commonly used to alleviate antibiotic-associated diarrhoea.
  • Bifidobacterium longum: Another well-researched strain, B. longum aids in maintaining a healthy gut environment and is known to have antibiotic resistance, making it a suitable choice after a course of antibiotics.

But here’s the caveat. No two bodies are alike, and what works best for one person might not always be the best fit for another. So, it’s always a great idea to talk to your healthcare provider or nutritionist about your specific health needs before deciding on a probiotic supplement.

What to look out for when choosing a Probiotic supplement

Opting to include probiotics in your routine after a course of antibiotics is a smart choice, though it's just as important to make an informed decision when selecting your probiotic supplement. Here's what you need to look for: 

  1. Read the Label: As a consumer, make it a point to dissect probiotic labels for crucial information. Check for recommended storage conditions, expiration date, and the total number of Colony Forming Units (CFUs). The CFUs are a measure of the viable microbes that can actually confer health benefits. 
  2. Safety and Side Effects: While probiotics may carry a range of benefits with few side effects, like any health supplement, they should be used judiciously. Supplements containing lactobacilli or bifidobacteria strains are generally considered safe. However, start with a low dose and gradually increase as your body adapts. 
  3. Proven beneficial variety: Not all probiotics are created equal. Probiotics of different strains address different health conditions. Hence, it's vital to choose a supplement containing a variety that's been proven beneficial for your particular health condition. 
  4. Survival in the Digestive Tract: Lastly, ensure that the probiotic you select can survive the harsh environment of the digestive tract. The supplement must deliver live organisms to the gut where they can exert their beneficial effects. 

As a nutritionist, I always recommend Nutravita's Pro Bio Cultures Complex to my clients. With an impressive 60 billion CFU, this unique probiotic supplement ensures a substantial amount of good bacteria to help restore your gut health.

 

All Good
"These have really helped me with my IBS great relief" - Mrs CB Eaton
Our Bio Complex 60 billion CFU capsules are resistant to stomach acid allowing them to travel to the intestine where the live bacteria can be the most effective. In addition, every capsule contains 100mg of Inulin which promotes the growth of the friendly bacteria.

What makes Nutravita's Pro Bio Cultures Complex stand out from the rest? One of its remarkable benefits is its delayed-release capsule feature. This ingenious design ensures that the good bacteria have a better chance of reaching your gut intact. Unlike most probiotics that can be disabled by the acidic environment of your stomach, the delayed-release capsules gradually dissolve and release their contents in your intestines where the beneficial microorganisms should be.

By delivering its potent formula to your gut, Nutravita's Pro Bio Cultures Complex helps rebuild your gut health effectively. It's an excellent strategy to recoup the beneficial bacteria you may have lost after a round of antibiotics or merely to strengthen your overall gut health.

Shot of sporty young woman eating a yogurt while sitting on fitness ball at home.

How Long Should You Take Probiotics After Antibiotics?

Upon completing your antibiotic course, incorporating probiotics into your regime is essential. But how long should one continue taking these gut-friendly helpers? There's no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends largely on your personal health conditions, the potency of your probiotic supplement, and the integrity of your gut microbiome. However, most clinicians recommend taking probiotics for at least as long as your antibiotic course lasts, and preferably beyond that.

Research shows that supplements such as LGG or Saccharomyces boulardii, started within two days of the first antibiotic dose, can help reduce the risk of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhoea (AAD) in children and adults up to 64 years of age. This indicates that continuing probiotics for several days or even weeks post-antibiotics can help ensure a smoother, safer recovery. 

Your body's response to probiotics is key here. Observe how you feel, and consider continuing with probiotics if you notice improvements in gastrointestinal discomfort or any symptoms suggestive of dysbiosis. However, always seek advice from a trusted healthcare professional before starting, extending, or modifying your probiotic regimen. 

A beneficial tip to remember is that the probiotic strength, usually measured in Colony Forming Units (CFU), may range from 1 to 50 billion per dose. The specific strain and dosage will affect the duration of use.

Above all, remember to use a reputable product and proceed with caution. The journey to reestablishing a healthy gut microbiome can take time and patience, but the benefits to your overall wellness are without a doubt, worth it.

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