Probiotics necessary partners with antibiotics

Citing statistics one in five patients stop taking antibiotics prematurely because of diarrhea, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York recommend doctors prescribe probiotics for patients taking antibiotics.

Probiotics contain good bacteria and can be used to supplement similar bacteria that inhabit our digestive system. Good bacteria play an important role boosting immunity, helping with digestion and keeping bad bacteria counts down.

Antibiotics are notorious for killing both good bacteria and bad  resident in our digestive system.  When good bacteria are killed off, it provides opportunity for bad bacteria to gain ground potentially leading to a number of gut related ailments including gastrointestinal viral or bacterial infections..

In an article published in American Family Physician (November 2008) authors Benjamin Kligler MD and Andreas Cohrssen MD said they reached these conclusions after analyzing seven  major studies on probiotics tested on humans.

One study showed consuming probiotics — while taking antibiotics — reduced the onset of diarrhea by 52% (on average) with the best results showing up if individual started taking probiotics within three days of commencing antibiotics. [Note in some instances the reduction was as high as 65%]. Other major studies showed similar results.

Probiotic quantities important

It’s important a person ingests sufficient numbers of probiotics while on medication to overcome the negative side effect of antibiotics. Based on studies showing 10 billion cultures for adults were “significantly more effective,” Kligler and Cohrssen recommended a daily dose of at least 5 billion cultures for children and 10 billion for adults while on medication.

“With the level of evidence that probiotics work and the large safety margins for them, we see no good reason not to prescribe probiotics when prescribing antibiotics,” Kligler said. At the residency program for Einstein college, doctors are strongly encouraged to combine probiotics with antibiotics.

The studies also showed probiotics did not reduce the effectiveness of antibiotic and generally came with minimal side effects limited to incidences of gas and minor abdominal discomfort. In rare incidences probiotic consumption could lead to septicimia.

Grading probiotics effectiveness in dealing with gut related problems

In their article, Kligler and Cohrssen graded probiotics effectiveness in dealing with common gut ailments. An “A” grade indicated both a consistent ability to deal with the ailment and quality studies to support the conclusion.  A “B” grade indicated inconsistent results or the trials did not include sufficient numbers of people to be conclusive on the results.

  • “A grade” for reducing antibiotic related diarrhea.
  • “A grade” for reducing both the length and intensity of infectious diarrhea
  • “B grade” for reducing symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (based on small, but successful trials)
  • “B grade” for reducing atopic dermitis in children (allergies)

Quality probiotics important

Kligler and Cohrssen also warned  people needed to be sure about the quality of probiotics they are consuming as one study which looked at 19 different brands of probiotics found five did not contain the number of cultures listed on the packaging. They also noted that traditional yogurt brands often do not deliver the necessary cultures to overcome antibiotic sessions.

Melaleuca’s Florify

If you have recently taken on antibiotics, you may need to replenesh the good bacteria in your gut. Melaleuca has a product called Florify that delivers good bacteria (probiotics) to your body in sufficient quantities to re-build the colonies damaged by medication.

The quantity

Florify contains five billion flora or active cultures in its daily dose. Just as importantly, it provides bacterium that can survive the journey through the acid bath of your stomach. It’s always wise when resupplying good bacteria colonies, to make sure they show up alive.

The quality

Melaleuca provides two different strains of probiotics:

Lactobacillus acidophilus: According to an article on the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) website this is one of the most popular strains  of probiotics and benefits the body by helping breakdown food for absorption and keeping populations of bad bacteria low. (In the reference section below, you can read a list of benefits this particular strain of bacteria taken from the UMMC website.) If you would like to more information on the potential benefits of this particular bacteria, read UMMC’s full article on Lactobacillus acidophilus.

Bifidobacterium lactis: In her article entitled, “Bug crazy: Assessing the benefits of probiotics,” Laura Johannes’ of the Wall Street Journal states  this probiotic specializes in helping your immune system. An Israeli study of 201 babies — published in the magazine Pediatrics (2005) found this particular strain of bacteria reduced incidences of diarrhea and fever in babies. In addition, it also aided digestive health.

The supply lines

On top of this, Melaleuca also includes a prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) which serves as a power food for good bacteria, particularly the two just noted. This prebiotic ensures the good bacteria has an effective food source upon which the colonies can grow and thrive. Studies have also shown that FOS is also unhealthy for certain forms of bad bacteria such as salmonella.