Antibiotics kill the good bacteria in your gut, leaving your body defenseless against harmful pathogens like the fast-growing Candida albicans. After a course of antibiotics, this yeast can quickly come to dominate your small intestine, resulting in the illness that we know as Candida Related Complex, or Candida overgrowth.
Taking probiotics before, during, and after your course of antibiotics can help to maintain the balance in your digestive system. Many Candida sufferers question this, thinking that the antibiotics will quickly kill the good bacteria in the probiotics. However, studies have shown probiotics to be remarkably effective during antibiotics.
How Can Probiotics Help?
A course of strong antibiotics can kill virtually all the bacteria in your digestive system, eliminating the competition and clearing the path for fast-growing Candida (or another pathogen) to fill the gap. Taking probiotics during your antibiotic treatment can help to slow the growth of Candida by filling your gut with beneficial, healthful bacteria.
As the probiotics maintain the balance in your gut, they also reduce the common side effects of the antibiotics. A 2008 study published in the “Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology” found that probiotics significantly reduce diarrhea in patients taking antibiotics. Probiotic foods like yogurt and sauerkraut can also play an important role in protecting your gut microbiome.
There is, of course, an even simpler answer to this problem. If you can avoid taking antibiotics unnecessarily, your body will certainly thank you. But sometimes they are a necessary evil – the harm they do to your digestive system is more than balanced out by their other, lifesaving properties. Make sure that if you are taking antibiotics it is because you really need them. Many doctors prescribe them far too quickly, and getting a second opinion never hurts.
If you really have to take the antibiotics, a course of good probiotics will help in two ways. It both gives you relief from the side effects of the antibiotics, and protects the balance of your gut flora in the long term.
How Should You Take The Probiotics?
To maximize the beneficial effect of the probiotics, take them at least 2 hours apart from your dosage of antibiotics. This way as few as possible of the ‘good bacteria’ will get killed by the antibiotics in your gut.
There is a great deal of confusion about whether you should take probiotics before, during, or after your meals. Luckily, a 2011 research study examined exactly this question. Researchers created a synthetic digestive system in the lab and ran through it various scenarios using a commercial probiotic. They found that probiotics survived best when taken during a meal, or in the 30 minutes before the meal began. When you take your probiotics, just remember to take them during your meal or immediately before you start eating.
Choosing a good probiotic is not always easy. In our Ultimate Candida Diet treatment program, Dr Eric Wood and I have written a detailed guide to finding a probiotic that will work with your Candida treatment.