Probiotic and antibiotic are very different substances with very different uses. They may end in –biotic, but that’s as far as the similarities between antibiotics and probiotics go.
Antibiotics are medications that are often prescribed to kill the harmful bacteria that cause infections. Probiotics are the substances that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. There’s a lot of confusion out there about these substances and misinformation, too.
There’s a commonly held belief that one should not take antibiotics and probiotics at the same time, but in some cases, this just isn’t true. Although they’re on separate ends of the spectrum, there is evidence that consuming a probiotic during antibiotic treatment for an infection can lessen some of the less-desirable side effects of the antibiotics.
Types of Probiotics and Effectiveness with Antibiotics
Well-known antibiotics like penicillin and amoxicillin work by inhibiting the growth of certain bacteria to prevent or treat illnesses. There are different types of antibiotics, and they are used to treat different conditions.
Just as there are different types of antibiotics, there are different types of probiotics. Some work to lessen diarrhea symptoms, others boost the immune system, and some can even lessen the symptoms of conditions like eczema. Some are bacteria-based, while others are yeast-based. Perhaps the most well-known probiotic is lactobacillus, which is marketed under several different brand names and found in some yogurts.
While some bacteria-based probiotics may be compromised by concurrent antibiotic treatment, not all probiotics are that sensitive. Yeast-based probiotics, for example, are not typically destroyed by antibiotic consumption. While the antibiotic may weaken the yeast-based bacteria, this type of probiotic can still work in the body even as antibiotics kill the infections that are making individuals sick.
If you are interested in supplementing the work of antibiotic treatments, be sure to talk with your doctor to determine exactly what type of probiotic would be most beneficial.