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What are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are antimicrobials that fight bacterial infections such as ear, sinus, and urinary tract infections by stopping the bacteria from multiplying or destroying them. Some bacterial infections get better on their own, mitigating the need for antibiotics. Antibiotics are also unnecessary for fighting viral infections such as bronchitis, common colds, flus, sore throats (excluding strep throat).  

What are the Side Effects of Taking Antibiotics?

Antibiotics can cause minor to severe side effects and vary from individual to individual. Some of the minor effects of antibiotics include diarrhea, nausea, rash, and yeast infections. Some of the more severe side effects include allergic reactions, antibiotic-resistant infections, and Clostridium difficile–associated diarrhea (CDAD). 

How do Antibiotics Impact Gut Health?

Antibiotics can dramatically impact the amount and type of bacteria in the gut for months on end. Unfortunately, antibiotics cannot discriminate between “good” bacteria and the “bad” bacteria that cause infections, and these antibiotics can wreak havoc on the gut microbiome. Changes in the gut microbiome can lead to constipation, diarrhea, flatulence (passing gas), loss of appetite, mucositis, nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal side effects. These gastrointestinal side effects are among many of the reasons that doctors typically recommend taking antibiotics after eating a meal.

Should I take Probiotics with Antibiotics?

Since antibiotics adversely affect the health of the gut microbiome, doctors usually recommend taking probiotics alongside antibiotics, rather than separately. In addition to increasing the health of the gut microbiome, taking certain strains of probiotics, such as Lactobacilli and Saccharomyces, have been shown to be effective at alleviating some of the gastrointestinal side effects associated with the use of antibiotics, such as antibiotic-associated diarrhea. 

Should I take Probiotics After Taking Antibiotics?

This is a controversial topic that is supported by limited scientific data, some in favor and others against using probiotics while taking antibiotics. Some studies show that in a specific case of C. difficile infections, while treating it with heavy antibiotics, the patients have a better outcome if they take probiotics while taking antibiotics. It gets tricky though, as the timing of the start of probiotic intake relative to antibiotics is very important for their efficacy. Other studies show that probiotics can slow the recovery of the healthy microbiome after antibiotics are taken.

How do I Restore my Gut Health after Taking Antibiotics?

The best way to restore gut health after taking antibiotics is to establish and consume a healthy, highly-personalized diet. Viome uses artificial intelligence (AI) and metatranscriptomic technology to identify foods and supplements that increase beneficial bacteria and decrease harmful bacteria, optimizing gut health. Diverse and rich gut microbiomes lead to healthier gut microbiomes. Another way to restore gut health after taking antibiotics is to consume prebiotics, which creates an environment for probiotics to live and thrive in.