We've all heard about the importance of probiotics after a course of antibiotics, but should we have them other times? Should there be specific probiotics we take or are any fine? And what about the quantity and how long we need to have them?
To help you navigate the murky waters of myths and facts about probiotic use, we dispel four myths about probiotics and gut health.
Fact: Nearly all over the counter probiotics dare different from each other and do not permanently colonise the gut.
Unfortunately probiotics don't last long in our system, while we don't know what makes probiotics so transient, we do know that:
A human gut microbiome is comprised of a core microbiome and variable commensal community, which depends on recent diet
We also know that the first three years of life are crucial for the development of your own individual core microbiome. C-section delivery, stress, antibiotics and other factors can all change the microbiome leading to a decline in diversity.
Probiotics have been shown to change the pH of the gut, and allow the core microbiome to grow. Needless to say if you want to improve your microbiome, then you need to include probiotics.
Fact - While it takes bacteria to ferment the milk to make yogurt, not all of the bacteria are alive by the time you purchase it.
Yogurts that have specific probiotics in them should have on the label "live active cultures" or similar wording. Also, keep in mind that you would need to consume a lot of yogurt to get the required amount of bacteria.
Fact - Our bodies naturally manufacture billions of flora in our intestines and digestive track but sometimes it needs a boost, particularly when on antibiotics or our systems have been overloaded with toxins.
Probiotics can be used for extended periods to nurture your gut and digestive tract back to good health and improve specific conditions.
Some probiotic strains have been scientifically researched as they do enhance the growth of your own indigenous populations. (Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 and Bb12 as well as Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG). To establish a more diverse microbiota we recommend including prebiotics and prebiotic-like foods.
Fact You can and should take probiotics while you have antibiotics.
While you should take probiotics when having a course of antibiotics, it is important to take antibiotics and probiotics at different times.
Most antibiotics get absorbed in the upper gastrointestinal tract where probiotics work mainly in the lower gastrointestinal tract. So it's important you give the antibiotics time to move through the gut.
If possible wait around six hours between the two. It's best to take probiotics that have more potency when on antibiotics as the probiotics can be affected by your medication.
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