ANTIBIOTICS AND PROBIOTICS. Have you found yourself going on antibiotics (again perhaps) this Winter? If so, you must read on: A story on how it can pay to trust your own judgement and get a second opinion, and advice on which probiotic to take to help r
Antibiotics WILL destroy good bacteria in your gut and do link to other gut and health problems, including reduced immunity and a build up of tolerance to antibiotics over time leading to the need for stronger antibiotics to fight the same symptoms you might have had today. And you get sicker quicker and more easily, and perhaps more often once you start the antibiotics merry-go-round. Avoid them if you can, but if you are absolutely in a state and MUST take them after getting more than one opinion, then read on about taking probiotic to help while under antibiotic therapy.
Before I do go on about taking probiotics during antibiotic therapy however, I will start with this story about getting a second opinion first:
My kids have both been sick lately, with mucous on the chest, symptomatic of sore throats and ears, snotty noses, sooky, sleepy etc. They have been sick for about a week and a half, but I have been keeping a close eye on them, giving them plenty of wholesome food, water and rest, and dosing them up on zinc, omega 3, good fats and vitamin C (and hiding lacto-fermented food - kefir yoghurt - in their meals, muahaha). They have had a little bit of fever on and off over this time, however we have kept a close eye on them and checked temperatures regularly, and made sure it has not gone up too much (by too much I am talking under 39 degrees which is considered safe). The goal has been to try and encourage their own immune defences to utilise this time of being sick to build up and fight their own battles and become stronger when they come out of being sick. So far so good. We took them to see a doctor on the weekend to get a quick check up just to make sure their chests were sounding ok – he checked them for less than 10 seconds each and immediately told us they both had chest, ear and throat infections and needed antibiotics straight away (my daughter might even be needing grommets to drain all the excess fluid and puss away from ears! This was after checking her ear for less than a second while she was thrashing about as a toddler does), even threatening that our son might have a big fever tonight and if it goes up too high then take him to the hospital immediately. So straight away there is an installation of fear from the urgency by which the doctor checked, prescribed and urged us to give the kids antibiotics and that our son could struggle tonight. I can fully appreciate he is also reassuring us that we would not be feeling silly by taking our son to the hospital should he get a high fever, but anyhow… We were not alarmed, we knew that they were both ok and would sleep through that night. And they did. No fever, no hospitals. No dramas.
We held onto the antibiotic prescriptions and I booked them in to get a second opinion the next day, by a holistic GP who practises both Western and Eastern/Nutritional Medicine. She spent a considerable more amount of time checking both my kids thoroughly, and said there is no chest infection with any of the kids, no ear infections just some slight redness and certainly no throat infection, again just some slight redness. She said I am doing a good job by letting the kids fight their own battle and that with continuing vitamins, a good diet, fluids and rest and keeping an eye on their temps they should be fine in a few days, and probably not requiring any antibiotics. She did say if I was particularly concerned at any point or they were not improving over the next few days then I could come back for another check up and then make a call whether antibiotics were needed or not.
Today (day after) – kids are still improving and were well enough to go back to kindy. They have not been on antibiotics. They have gotten through the worst and I feel they will come out stronger this time. I am particularly resistant to giving my kids antibiotics at this point in time unless absolutely vital, as we have spent SO much time, money and energy on trying to re-inoculate their guts with new flora/bacteria and heal up their already leaky and compromised guts from being born premature and being put an antibiotics while they were premature. Giving them antibiotics now, will only take us backwards in our efforts to make them stronger and help their immune systems to build up properly.
By allowing their bodies to fight their own infections and sicknesses this time, they have added strength to their immune systems and will hopefully keep getting stronger as we continue to keep this up when they get sick. We just have to monitor and assist them while they fight their battles and use our instincts as parents to know when is the right time to take them to get checked, and then still if we are not convinced we don’t hesitate to get a second opinion.
We got through this patch with some great success and avoided antibiotics, from one doctor’s opinion being so incredibly convincing they both needed antibiotics to another the very next day telling us there was their bodies were doing well to clear their sicknesses themselves and there being no major chest, ear or throat infections to be alarmed about. It pays to get that second opinion than to deal with the cascade of issues that comes with yet another bout of antibiotics. This does not just apply to kids but to adults as well.
Now back to WHY it is SO incredibly important to rebalance good bacteria if you absolutely MUST go on antibiotics. Here is a good, light-hearted article outlining in quite simple terms WHY bacterial balance in your body is absolutely vital to good foundations for your body’s health and where probiotics can come into play. Click here.
And here is an article on why antibiotics are not ideal, so why probiotic therapy is vital during antibiotic therapy, if you absolutely must go on antibiotics (after your second opinion tells you they agree with the first doctor!).
When it comes to probiotic choice during antibiotic therapy, you need to ensure you are on specific bacterial strains of probiotic before, during and after the course of antibiotics. Here is some information on which strains to look for in your probiotic and why I recommend Charles Poliquin’s S.B.1.0 Probiotic:
Benefits of S.B. 1.0 include:
Contains a 3:1 blend of: 4 billion live organisms:
“S.B. 1.0 contains Saccharomyces boulardii, Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001. The S. Boulardii has been shown in many double-blind placebo-controlled peer-reviewed studies to reduce Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea and Clostridium Difficile infection. Also, many experts are concerned with immune function suppression due to antibiotic treatments and the HN019 and HN001 strains have been shown to support immune function.”
From the article “What Makes a Probiotic a Probiotic?” by Charles Poliquin
Why not just walk into the chemist and pick up a probiotic off the shelf?
According to Charles Poliquin, here are some questions to ask/test when comparing retail probiotics to high quality practitioner brands:
“Most products state their potency by time of manufacture, not at time of expiration. Probiotics are notorious for dramatic die-off, which is why all of our bacteria strains are guaranteed at expiration. We’ve done the testing to verify that what’s on the label is what’s in the bottle. I have no idea what’s in the bottle from a company that tells you what it had when they made it, and frankly, neither do they. My probiotics are guaranteed at time of expiration under room temperature conditions.
The word “microorganisms”: Studies have shown that you can’t compare the function of one strain or probiotic to another strain of probiotic. That means that just stating that it is Lactobacillus Acidophilus tells me nothing. That would be like walking into a pet store and asking for “dog.” We always identify the strain—Lactobacillus Acidophilus NCFM or Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, for example. Most inferior products only list the genus and species (the “lactobacillus” and the “acidophilus” in my first example) and not the strain (NCFM). They don’t truly and accurately identify the microorganism. If I were a manufacturer of cheap products, not identifying the strain would allow me to buy whatever was the cheapest acidophilus available at the time and it would never have to be reflected on my label. My probiotics always specify the strains used.
The phrase “adequate amounts”: This one’s pretty obvious. You need to have your serving size be roughly equivalent to the quantity used in the research. If a study showed a specific bacterial strain to be effective at 15 billion cfu, for example, and I only put 500 million cfu per capsule that would be disingenuous at best. My probiotics are always delivered in appropriate dosages.
The phrase “confer a health benefit”: How can I know that my live microorganism in adequate amounts confers a health benefit? RESEARCH. If there isn’t research on your strain then you’re just wasting my time. By the way, that NCFM strain I mentioned before is at 132 studies and papers at last count. My probiotics contain only research-validated strains.
If a product claiming to be a probiotic fails in any one of these areas, it’s not a probiotic. Did yours pass? Did your client’s product pass? If not, you may want to rethink your probiotic choices.
Interestingly, in addition to the above tests, my probiotics also pass the tests for: safety, bile resistance, acid resistance, pepsin resistance, pancreatin resistance, ability to adhere to intestinal cells, and exact DNA analysis.”
Also from the article “What Makes a Probiotic a Probiotic?” by Charles Poliquin
If you would like any more information on how to take S.B.1.0 or wish to buy some (I have some in stock), or how to avoid taking antibiotics this winter and what other remedies you can do for improving your own immune defences (or your kids) even while you are sick, get in touch.
In good health!