Do you know that our body has more microbial cells than human cells?
Believe it or not, microbes are vital for everyone, as they perform various metabolic functions and involved in some main biological processes. Most importantly, there is a unique symbiotic relationship between the microbes and human cells in the gut. When such intricate relationship is disturbed, our digestive health and immune system will be compromised, sometimes even lead to life-threatening consequences.
Unfortunately, many factors can affect this symbiotic relationship, including antibiotics.
Antibiotics are one of the most commonly prescribed medications. They have been used steadily over the past decade as a treatment for various infections. Nevertheless, such treatment may lead to undesirable side effects, ranging from mild diarrhea to serious fatal complication.
Antibiotic-associated-diarrhea (AAD) which can be referred to unexplained diarrhea due to antibiotic administration, has an increasing incidence rate over the past years1. The truth is, the overuse of the broad-spectrum antibiotics kills both the beneficial bacteria along with pathogenic bacteria in the gut and ultimately, disrupts the gut functions. In some cases, antibiotics administration may even increase the risk of certain infection eg. Clostridium difficile infection (CDI)2 despite its indication is to resolve this health problem.
The key solution: Alleviate the undesirable side-effects of antibiotics
The use of probiotics-microbial cell preparation (MCP) in the prevention of antibiotic-associated-symptoms especially diarrhea has been well studied. These beneficial microbes are believed to restore gut health through competition with harmful bacteria for colonization and nutrients in the gut; stimulating human’s immune function3.
According to Hempel (2012), probiotics-MCP is able to lower risk of AAD up to 42%!4
Interestingly, the most frequently studied bacterial strains for treating AAD are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. In addition, animal model studies have also suggested that multi-strain preparations are more effective in the prevention of AAD compared to those containing only one strain5,6.
Throughout a course of antibiotics therapy, probiotics- MCP should be administered starting from the first day; to be taken at least 2 hours after each dose of antibiotic, and until at least a week or two after the course of antibiotics is completed7,8.
On balance, the good safety record and potential of microbial cells to reduce the serious complication of antibiotics treatment, support the administration of high-quality multi-strain MCP as an adjunct to the antibiotic therapy, in creating a more favorable treatment outcome.
- McFarland, L. V. (1998). Epidemiology, risk factors and treatments for antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Digestive Diseases, 16(5), 292-307.
- Bartlett, J. G. (2006). Narrative Review: The New Epidemic of Clostridium difficile–Associated Enteric DiseaseClostridium difficile–Associated Colitis. Annals of internal medicine, 145(10), 758-764.
- Parkes, G. C., Sanderson, J. D., & Whelan, K. (2009). The mechanisms and efficacy of probiotics in the prevention of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhoea. The Lancet infectious diseases, 9(4), 237-244.
- Hempel, S., Newberry, S. J., Maher, A. R., Wang, Z., Miles, J. N., Shanman, R., … & Shekelle, P. G. (2012). Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Jama, 307(18), 1959-1969.
- Chapman, C. M. C., Gibson, G. R., & Rowland, I. (2011). Health benefits of probiotics: are mixtures more effective than single strains?. European journal of nutrition, 50(1), 1-17.
- Timmerman, H. M., Koning, C. J. M., Mulder, L., Rombouts, F. M., & Beynen, A. C. (2004). Monostrain, multistrain and multispecies probiotics—a comparison of functionality and efficacy. International journal of food microbiology, 96(3), 219-233.
- Boyanova, L., & Mitov, I. (2012). Coadministration of probiotics with antibiotics: why, when and for how long?. Expert review of anti-infective therapy, 10(4), 407-409.
- Biradar, S. S., Bahagvati, S. T., & Shegunshi, B. (2005). Probiotics and antibiotics: a brief overview. Internet J Nutr Wellness, 2(1), 1-6.