The term Antibiotic comes from the Greek “anti,” meaning against, and “bios,” meaning life. This may seem like a negative term, but the purpose of ingesting antibiotics is to end the life of the harmful bacteria in the body when it is plagued by an illness. Unfortunately, though they mean well, antibiotics aren’t able to distinguish between beneficial and pathogenic bacteria and end up killing off much of the essential bacteria in the digestive system along with the harmful bacteria. This can lower immunity, cause gastric distress or diarrhea and lead to an increased risk of illness or infection. In women, it can also lead to a high risk of yeast infections.
Beyond that, a growing number of bacterial infections are becoming immune to or actually feeding off what we consider “normal” antibiotics and doctors sometimes need to prescribe powerful forms of antibiotics with toxic side effects and unpredictable outcomes ranging from vision damage, hearing loss and taste perversion to tendonitis and certain brain, heart, liver and kidney disorders. The FDA labels these antibiotics with a “black box” warning, but in certain extreme cases they are still prescribed, despite the risks.
To combat the adverse effects from “normal” antibiotics and decrease the chance of serious side effects from the “black box” antibiotics, people on an antibiotic regimen should also take a probiotic supplement. Probiotics (“pro,” meaning for, and “bios,” meaning life) are defined as live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, provide a health benefit to the individual. Everyone naturally has hundreds of trillions of bacterial microorganisms in his or her digestive system and probiotics, affectionately known as “good bugs,” help maintain a healthy balance of essential bacteria.
Doctors prescribe antibiotics for a number of common bacterial infections including acne, food poisoning, tonsillitis, eye styes, pneumonia, staph infections and many more. Probiotics work best when taken daily leading up to an antibiotic regimen and again for months after the prescription ends. Introducing probiotics beforehand will help build up the good bugs so that your system can minimize any negative reaction to the antibiotic. Continuing probiotic supplementation after taking antibiotics continues to repopulate all the good bacteria and helps bring the digestive system back into balance.
When choosing a probiotic, it is important to find one that has a high number of bacteria colony forming units (CFUs) and uses strains that have been clinical tested. Vidazorb® carries up to 10 billion CFUs per tablet, delivering a therapeutic dose of beneficial microorganisms with each use. Also, many over-the-counter probiotics use only one bacteria strain, in insufficient amounts to make an impact. The best products combine two to five key, researched bacteria strains that work together to best provide health benefits. I recommend Vidazorb® to my patients because the chewable, non-refrigerated tablets are convenient and the strains used, including Chr. Hansen’s LA5® L. acidophilus and BB12® Bifidobacterium, are some of the most effective I’ve seen.