The war of bacteria: is it worth taking probiotics if you drink antibiotics?

The war of bacteria: is it worth taking probiotics if you drink antibiotics?

Everyone knows that antibiotics can badly affect the digestive tract. They kill the bad bacteria that cause the disease, but they damage the microbiome, the community of bacteria that live in the gut. Therefore, antibiotics are often recommended to be taken with probiotics. But is it really necessary?

The logic is simple: since there are fewer beneficial bacteria due to antibiotics, why not replenish their numbers with other drugs? But the problem is actually much deeper than it seems.

There is some evidence that taking probiotics can prevent indigestion – diarrhea. But out of 13 people who participated in the experiment, this helped only one. In addition, probiotics are not so simple!

Pros and cons

Recently, an interesting study was conducted in Israel. Participants were divided into two groups and given them an antibiotic. The first took probiotics from 11 colonies of bacteria for 4 weeks, the second took a placebo.

The results showed that in the first group the drugs worked, and colonies of bacteria populated the intestines. But at the same time, they prevented the normal restoration of the flora, with which there were problems throughout the entire six-month period of observation.

In the second group, the flora returned to its normal state three weeks after taking a course of antibiotics.

The study revealed a curious fact: we still do not know which bacteria are the most beneficial, what a healthy intestinal flora consists of. Thousands (!) Of different types of microorganisms work there, and each person has an individual set. Therefore, there is no single list of beneficial bacteria that would suit everyone.

Accordingly, it is impossible to guess which needs each.

Is there an alternative?

Yes, even if it sounds rather strange, but this scheme is becoming increasingly popular, and its effectiveness has been proven. Several participants agreed to freeze their stool before starting antibiotics, and then they put it back into the intestines. Fecal transplantation allowed the microflora to return to normal in 8 days instead of 21.

Another option is to feed beneficial bacteria with dietary fiber. These components pass intact through the small intestine and enter the thick intestine, where they undergo fermentation. So if you eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains, then the bacteria will quickly return to normal.

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