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Ask our Wellness Educators
Debating How and When to Take Probiotics

Q: Dear NEEDS Wellness Educator,

I'm a little confused about using probiotics when taking antibiotics. If I want to take probiotics while I am on antibiotics, is there a risk that the antibiotic may kill the probiotic? Which type(s) of probiotics should I take and how many hours after I take antibiotic? What is the most 'hardy' kind of probiotic? How about taking boulardii? Can it survive antibiotics?

Thank you for helping to clarify the confusion!

~ PJ

A: Dear PJ,
Thank you for your questions. You are certainly not the only person confused about this topic! Physicians tend to be divided about the best timing to take probiotics during a course of antibiotics. Our experience here at NEEDS suggests it is better to start taking probiotics during the course of antibiotics to minimize damage antibiotics can cause, rather than waiting until you are done. According to some of the best probiotic companies, the optimal suggested times to take the probiotics are at least one hour before or two hours after ingesting antibiotics. You can take the probiotics with or between meals; however, some studies suggest they are more effective when taken with food.

Again practitioners have differing opinions on this topic, so you have to figure out what works best for you. If you have to take the antibiotic with meals, you could take the probiotics with a little snack in between meals. Depending on the formula, you may be dosing the probiotic one to three times per day. We also recommend taking the probiotics for at least several weeks after discontinuing the antibiotics. There are several species of hardy probiotics available. Two that come to mind are Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Saccharomyces boulardii. The first is helpful for enhancing immunity. The second is very useful for preventing antibiotic-induced diarrhea and yeast overgrowth. It should be taken two hours away from antifungal agents, but will not be harmed by antibiotics and is compatible with other probiotics. If you have intestinal yeast infections (Candidiasis) or antibiotic-induced diarrhea, you may want to consider the heavily researched Lactobacillus GG—the trade name is Culturelle.

Probiotics from Klaire Labs are 100% dairy-free, therefore an excellent choice for those who are sensitive to dairy. Klaire grows its probiotics on a chicory derived inulin base that promotes growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines. Ther-biotic Complete and ABX Support, a probiotic designed to be used with antibiotics, are both excellent choices.

There are many differing opinions about the best times and ways to take probiotics, but I think the scientific community can agree that they are beneficial to take, especially to combat the negative effects of antibiotics. I hope this information has been helpful and good luck with the probiotics!

~ Jen Morganti, ND

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