Why we need to take friendly bacteria both alongside and following antibiotics

Our gut bacteria (microbiome) is fundamental to our health and has a wide range of functions in our body – including anti-inflammatory and immune influence, providing essential nutrients, defending against pathogens and supporting the structure of the gastrointestinal tract.

Maintaining a balance of ‘good’ to ‘bad’ bacteria is key to ensuring these functions are carried out efficiently.

Antibiotic effects

Antibiotics still the most common medication prescribed for children and are also high on the list of medications prescribed to adults. They are designed to kill bacteria that cause disease, but do not distinguish between good and bad bacteria – they destroy all bacteria indiscriminately.

As a result, taking antibiotics can quickly lead to an imbalance in the gut microbiota – and balance may not be restored once the course of antibiotics is complete.

This give the pathogenic (bad) bacteria chance to take over, can cause side effects such as antibiotic-associated diarrhoea and can lead to permanent changes in the structure of our microbiome.

Probiotic support

Research has shown that taking probiotics alongside antibiotics can reduce the adverse effects of the antibiotics on the gut bacteria, helping to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in our digestive tract.

Studies have also shown that taking probiotics alongside antibiotics can help to support the effectiveness and reduce the side effects of the antibiotics, helping to ensure the full course is completed.

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Medication

Antibiotics are the most common type of medication prescribed for children.[1]

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Infection

Antibiotics are often prescribed for viral infections, such as the common cold, but are designed to destroy bacteria (not viruses).[2]

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Bacteria

Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria that cause disease, but do not distinguish between good and bad bacteria and destroy all bacteria indiscriminately.[3]

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Time

Taking antibiotics can very quickly lead to an imbalance in the gut bacteria (microbiota) and balance may not be restored once the course of antibiotics is complete.[4]

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Balance

A balanced microbiota is fundamental for our health.[5]

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Microbiota

Friendly bacteria can help to maintain a balanced microbiota.[6]

Choosing a friendly bacteria supplement

There are a number of key factors to consider when choosing a friendly bacteria supplement to take alongside your antibiotics – including a high number of multiple strains of friendly bacteria, researched and manufactured by an experienced, reputable brand. The following diagram lists everything to look for before buying friendly bacteria:
Choosing a friendly bacteria supplement - ProVen Probiotics

Take good care of yourself

Finally, remember to look after yourself well if you have any form of infection that requires antibiotics – take your friendly bacteria as instructed below throughout the whole antibiotic course and be sure to rest, hydrate and eat healthily.

6 things to remember when taking antibiotics

  • Take the antibiotics as prescribed and always complete the full course
  • Take probiotics both alongside and following the antibiotics
  • Always take the probiotics at least two hours away from the antibiotic doses (so the antibiotics do not kill the probiotic bacteria)
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, herbs and spices for gut support and reduce sugar and alcohol intake
  • Get enough rest to allow your body to work with the antibiotics to fight the infection
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other healthy liquids, such as bone broth (which also supports the gut)

[1] Vangay P et al (2015) Antibiotics, Pediatric Dysbiosis, and Disease. Cell Host Microbe 17(5):553-564
[2] https://www.nesta.org.uk/news/antibiotics-gps-still-erring-on-side-of-caution-despite-patients-requesting-less/ 13 Nov 2017
[3] Petersen C & Round JL (2014) Defining dysbiosis and its influence on host immunity and disease Cell Microbiol 16(7):1024-1033
[4] Madden JAJ et al (2005) Effect of probiotics on preventing disruption of the intestinal microflora following antibiotic therapy: A double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study. Int Immunopharmacol 5:1091-1097
[5] Round JL & Mazmanian SK (2009) The gut microbiome shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease Nat Rev Immunol 9(5):313-323
[6] Plummer SF et al (2005) Effects of probiotics on the composition of the intestinal microbiota following antibiotic therapy. Int J Antimicrob Agents 26:69-74

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