Antibiotics Vs Probiotics - On Your Gut

Antibiotics Vs Probiotics
30 Apr 2022
7 mins
Table Of Content
Antibiotics Vs Probiotics - On Your Gut

    Our body is home to a million microbes. You can find microbes in your intestine, skin and mouth. Isn’t it surprising that we have medicines to fight outer microbes while they naturally reside in our bodies? Actually, not all microbes are harmful. Even though they live in our gut, skin, and mouth, it benefits our health more than we think. If that is the case, why antibiotics aremused? What do antibiotics do to ‘our’ microbes? Read further to understand the debate of antibiotics vs probiotics, the effect of antibiotics and probiotics in the gut and the uses.

    Everything You Should Know About Antibiotics And Probiotics:


    Antibiotics vs probiotics: What is the difference?


    The difference between antibiotics and probiotics is quite evident in the name. Probiotics are composed of live microorganisms intended for health benefits when consumed or applied on the skin, while antibiotics kill the microorganisms. Our intestines are loaded with a composition of good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are available as commercial products that contain healthy bacteria commonly found in the human gut. It enhances the composition of good bacteria in the gut. Thus they destroy cells that cause disease and enhance digestion.

    Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium are the two most common groups of bacteria preferred for formulating probiotics. You can consume them through fermented foods, yoghurt, and fermented milk (Yakult). You can also use them in the form of probiotic supplements.

    Antibiotics or Antibacterials medicines are prescribed to eliminate certain infections by acting against disease-causing bacteria. There were times when bacterial infections were considered untreatable, which led to several deaths. Since antibiotics were discovered, bacterial infections like tuberculosis are no longer fatal.

    Of course, your body needs antibiotics in case of bacterial infections. Although antibiotics are life-saving in many cases, they also kill the good bacteria in the gut, leading to the overgrowth of toxic microorganisms that start resisting the treatment. This is known as antibiotic resistance, and this leaves the body more prone to pathogens. 

    When the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut is disturbed, it is known as dysbiosis. Dysbiosis also causes inflammation, diarrhoea and yeast overgrowth. Since antibiotics tend to disturb the gut flora, a course of probiotics can help restore the gut health to normal.

    Can You Take Antibiotics And Probiotics Simultaneously?


    Certain strains of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium can be taken along with antibiotics. However, this does not apply to all probiotics. In general, you can take antibiotics and probiotics on the same day, but not at the same time. On the safer side, you need to leave a two hours gap between each other. There is no harm in taking both simultaneously, but there is no benefit either. 

    Talk to your physician about the type of illness you are trying to manage through probiotics and take them accordingly as not all probiotics are the same. You can take probiotics till you finish your antibiotic treatment course. Take probiotic supplements along with your lunch or mid-day snack. They are good for reducing the risk of diarrhoea associated with antibiotics usage.


    Effect Of Antibiotics On The Gut:


    Different antibiotics are indicated for different types of infections. The way in which each antibiotic influences the gut is different. The short-term use of antibiotics can cause diarrhoea, antibiotic resistance, etc. Chronic use leads to allergic reactions, asthma, food allergies, and obesity. All these side effects are due to the disturbance in the gut microbial balance. However, the extent to which dysbiosis occurs depends on the type of antibiotic prescribed and the duration of the treatment.

    Treatment with antibiotics can alter your gut microbe’s composition directly and indirectly. Studies have shown that treatment with antibiotics that are broad-spectrum in nature alters your immune response.

    Effect Of Probiotics On The Gut:


    As soon as probiotics reach the gut, they balance the concentration of microbes and release substances that make the body healthier. The effect of probiotics depends on the type of organism. For example, a specific lactobacillus species helps fight a particular illness. Still, it is not necessary that other species of lactobacillus act against the same illness. They are highly effective in alleviating constipation, diarrhoea, polycystic ovary syndrome, ulcerative colitis, depression, anxiety, etc.

    Do Probiotics Help Fight Infection?


    Evidence suggests that probiotics do help in fighting some infectious diseases. They have a great affinity to the protective lining of the intestine and release substances (bacteriocins and hydrogen peroxide) and stop the infectious microbes from binding to their sites. So they act either directly against the invading disease-causing microbe or induce the immune system to fight them. Though this is not applicable for all infectious diseases, probiotic use may help prevent the risk of infections in the future.

    Scientists are working continuously to find whether probiotics effectively treat different infectious diseases since continuous use of antibiotics may result in higher chances of resistance. Studies suggest that patients affected by COVID 19 should take probiotic supplements to prevent secondary infections. Since most COVID patients are highly prone to gut dysbiosis, nutritional intervention and probiotic supplementation may help maintain ideal balance in the gut microbes.



    Written by
    BhairaviContent Writer
    AboutPharm D
    Tags :probioticsantibioticsgut healthmicrobiomegut microbes