It’s fairly common knowledge that antibiotics are used frequently to treat a variety of bacterial infections—some of the most common are urinary tract infections, strep throat, and even some pneumonia. Antibiotics kill or prevent bacteria from reproducing, allowing the body’s natural defenses to eliminate the illness-causing pathogen. Not all bacteria and other microorganisms are harmful “germs”. In fact, many microorganisms help our bodies function properly, such as the bacteria that are normally present in our intestines that help digest food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms, and produce vitamins.

While antibiotics are very effective in targeting the pathogenic bacteria that they are prescribed to eliminate, they also wipe out a large amount of the normal, beneficial bacteria that we have in our gut. It’s not unexpected for an infection to cause digestive-related problems, but it’s important to know that the antibiotic itself may also cause issues– most commonly, diarrhea.

Probiotics, on the other hand, are live bacteria that provide health benefits. A wide range of products are sold as probiotics, including foods (like yogurt), drinks and dietary supplements. Many of the probiotic strains are the same as or similar to those that naturally live in our bodies. So, should you take probiotics when you are prescribed antibiotics? Let’s take a closer look.

In a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, researchers reviewed 63 randomized controlled trials of nearly 12,000 patients and their use of probiotics for the prevention or treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD). Patients were being treated for a range of conditions, from ear infections to sepsis. The study concluded that 42% of patients were less likely to get diarrhea from their antibiotic drugs if they were also taking a probiotic.

Preliminary evidence indicates some probiotics may be helpful in the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD), but more needs to be learned. Further study is required in order to determine which probiotics are the most effective and in what dosages. Researchers also need to determine which types of patients would most likely benefit from taking probiotics. Just remember, probiotics are not considered drugs, and are not approved for the treatment of any illness or disease.

Simply put, antibiotics often disrupt the gut’s microflora. The evidence seems to suggest that probiotics can help.

At Deerland Enzymes, we take pride in the science-supported dietary supplement formulations we develop with our customers. Our DE111® strain of Bacillus subtilis is a clinically studied probiotic spore which supports a proper balance of bacteria in the gut. To learn more, visit http://www.deerlandenzymes.com/de111/ today.

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