Should I take probiotics while taking antibiotics?

Whether it's to aid your digestion or as a supplement, is taking probiotics at the same time as antibiotics healthy for your system or doing you harm? Here's some advice to help answer the question.

Should I take probiotics while taking antibiotics?

Whether to help your digestive system, improve your overall health or simply as a preventative supplement, taking probiotics is commonly suggested by healthcare professionals. So, you’re asking yourself this: Should I take them with antibiotics or is it better to avoid mixing the two?

The side effects of antibiotics

Some people may feel side effects shortly after starting a course of antibiotics. That includes symptoms such as stomach aches, digestive problems and diarrhea. Although not usually worrying, these side effects can cause discomfort and may be very unpleasant.

  • They typically occur because antibiotics, while tackling bacterial infections, can also eliminate "good" bacteria and thus disrupt your system's equilibrium.
  • Consequently, taking probiotics is suggested to restore balance to your digestive system.

What are probiotics?

Your intestinal flora is composed of billions of bacteria that produce vitamins and help to protect your system.

  • Probiotics are supplements that greatly assist your immune system; they consist of live bacteria that, when absorbed by your body, are beneficial to your health.
  • Probiotics are easy to find in the form of capsules, tablets, powders and even in liquid form.
  • Some dairy products, such as yogurt, even tout the presence of probiotics. However, if dairy products upset your stomach, you may want to consider temporarily easing off of them as a source of probiotics.

Different probiotics for different situations

If you're asking yourself should you should take probiotics while taking antibiotics, the risks are usually minimal and chances are they will help to alleviate any discomfort you may be experiencing.

  • Any time you consider using a supplement, you should always consult a healthcare professional first. He or she can best advise you which ones might afford you the most benefits according to your particular health situation, and the ones you should avoid.

Good together, but not at the same time

You can take probiotics at the same time as antibiotics – or almost.

  • When taking antibiotics as per instructions on the label, it is recommended to wait about two hours before consuming probiotics. That way, the two can complement each other and maximize the beneficial effects.
  • While the antibiotics are fighting your particular ailment and helping you get better, probiotics are creating new bacteria that will help your digestion and boost your immune system.

Keep in mind that it is usually recommended to take medication with food to minimize stomach upset. Your doctor or pharmacist can provide you with specific directions about how and when to take your medication, which you should follow.

  • Generally, probiotics should be taken after a meal.

Are probiotics right for you?

If you’re still wondering if you should take probiotics while taking antibiotics, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional. In some instances, probiotics may be completely unnecessary for certain people and could even be potentially harmful.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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