Take Probiotics after, not during antibiotic treatment

A study published in September, 2015 found that the timing of probiotic supplementation may be very important.

Researchers from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia confirmed that probiotic supplements contain live microorganisms that offer nutritional and health-promoting benefits if taken in adequate amounts, especially for intestinal health. However, probiotics added to foods (like yoghurt) have been found to contribute to antibiotic-resistant genes, and these genes may be transferred to bad bacteria sharing the same area in the intestines as the probiotics. Therefore, probiotics in supplements and foods may offer pathogens protection against the antibiotic drugs that you are taking to fight an infection. It is wise, then, to wait until after you have finished your medications to begin taking probiotics to help rebalance your GI tract.

Five brands of probiotic dietary supplements were tested in this study (no brand names were provided) for resistance towards different types of commonly prescribed antibiotics. All probiotics products were resistant towards the drug vancomycin, while just some were resistant towards streptomycin, aztreonam, gentamycin and ciprofloxacin.

The study explains that using probiotics, particularly lactobacillus acidophilus, at the same time as “misusing” antibiotics (taking them too often or not finishing your prescription) over time has been found to establish “a reservoir of antibiotic resistant genes in probiotic bacteria.” While antibiotic resistance can be good because probiotics help to restore good bacteria in the gut after a course of antibiotics, the transfer of resistant genes to pathogenic bacteria could be detrimental.

(Aloysius Wong, Davey Yueh Saint Ngu, et al., “Detection of antibiotic resistance in probiotics of dietary supplements” Nutrition Journal, September 14, 2015, 14:95, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia & 2 UCSI University, Malaysia)

Carol Crenna, Holistic Nutritionist


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