Amoxicillin is, by the CDC’s numbers, the most-prescribed antibiotic in the US (just ahead of azithromycin). It is prescribed for a very wide range of bacterial infections, ranging from pneumonia, through dental abscesses, to UTIs and more. There’s practically nothing amoxicillin can’t do. It’s easy to see why it is such a standby for prescribing doctors; it is the very model of a “broad spectrum antibiotic” as favored in a majority of simple infection cases.
Chances are if you are diagnosed with bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe amoxicillin. While that’s generally good news for your primary recovery, what does it mean in terms of side effects? Can you counteract those side effects with a dose of “good” bacteria? What do you need to know about amoxicillin and probiotics? Let’s get to it.
Does amoxicillin kill good bacteria?
There are few classes of bacteria that amoxicillin doesn’t attack. From opportunistic bacteria such as H. Influenzae to the digestive-focused Helicobacter pylori, it searches and destroys the cultures that cause some of the worst symptoms of food poisoning, meningitis and strep throat. When paired with clavulanic acid, it is particularly effective in breaking down stubborn respiratory tract infections. And while all of this makes it highly useful, it also means that some “good” bacteria will get pulled down in the crossfire.
Therefore, it is worth considering whether amoxicillin and probiotics can be choreographed in such a way that you get the benefits of the former with no side-effects (or, at least, a reduction). Can you take probiotics with amoxicillin? For sure, you can, but it is worth asking deeper questions such as “Can I take probiotics with amoxicillin and still get the desired effect from both?” Let’s look into it more closely.
Should you be taking amoxicillin and probiotics?
While we can recognize the benefits of seeking out the best probiotic for amoxicillin, any patient will necessarily be curious. There is room to wonder whether we should be letting probiotics, amoxicillin and an existing infection all fight it out in our bodies. Perhaps one of the key answers to this question is that feeling comfortable, being well-rested and getting enough sleep will play a big part in beating any infection.
Knowing the best probiotics to take with amoxicillin will help you stay comfortable, so it is worth bearing that in mind. Particularly if you take probiotics that are designed to work in tandem with what your body needs at the time, using them to counteract the harsher effects of an antibiotic like amoxicillin can be hugely beneficial all around.
Once you know what probiotic to take with amoxicillin, you are in a much better place to both deal with the initial bacterial infection, and to replenish the good, necessary bacteria that will have been depleted by the treatment of that infection. If you are wondering whether you should be taking probiotics with amoxicillin, the answer is yes, if you are wondering “what probiotic should I take with amoxicillin?” then your options are a little wider.
What is the best probiotic to take with amoxicillin?
To get the benefit of probiotics, you should consider what result you are looking for. In most of our cases, the most notable side effect of amoxicillin is digestive disturbance; within days of taking the antibiotic, or even sooner, you may begin to feel uncomfortable in the stomach, and even experience diarrhea. If you’re being treated with amoxicillin, probiotics can restore your gut flora and help maintain digestive balance. Sure, they’re miracle workers.
For the best results, the ideal probiotics for amoxicillin users will include Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and yeasts such as Saccharomyces boulardii. If you are suffering digestive discomfort as a result of using amoxicillin, lactobacillus should be part of any probiotic treatment you use to mitigate the effects.
When is the best time to take probiotics after amoxicillin?
To some extent, this depends on the dosage recommendations for the antibiotic itself. Often it will be recommended that you take an antibiotic three times a day, at six-hour intervals (for example at 8am, 2pm and once more at 8pm). In this case, the wisest move will be to take probiotics after amoxicillin at a three-hour interval (at 11am, 5pm and 11pm) This ensures that there is time for the probiotic to work unhindered - as far away as possible from each dose of the antibiotic.
While it can naturally negate the benefits of lactobacillus amoxicillin will see those effects lessened by this kind of staggering of doses. Allowing a window when taking probiotics with antibiotics is beneficial not just because it gives maximum functionality to the former, but because the latter will also be able to work on the bacteria it really needs to be killing, without its task being further complicated. If the gap between doses is shorter than six hours, then it is important to also narrow the window for doses of the probiotic. The optimum time to take lactobacillus is half-way between antibiotic doses.
Let’s wrap up
No-one can dispute the obvious and invaluable beneficial impacts of amoxicillin, which in its use against pneumonia and other bacterial infections can be nothing short of life-saving. Its use as a broad spectrum antibiotic is essential to disease control. With that said, any prolonged period of use can leave you feeling severely under the weather for different reasons, and in need of a probiotic.
Look into your options for an effective probiotic that boosts gut flora and enhances the digestive system’s workings - ones with lactobacillus and beneficial yeasts are particularly good in this respect. Remember that amoxicillin and probiotics, if used correctly, can be the perfect tandem to ensure that you come swiftly through a period of infection feeling much better. There’s no need to suffer the harsh effects of antibiotic use simply because you need the anti-bacterial benefits that they undoubtedly provide.