I am amazed by the number of new medical articles on probiotics. The scientific evidence of probiotic benefits keeps expanding.
In May 2012, two major medical journals published reports about the advantages of probiotics.
Why take a probiotic when prescribed an antibiotic?
A 53-year-old woman reports severe watery diarrhea with cramps. She is in her seventh day of a 10-day course of cefixime, which was prescribed for bronchitis.
Could the diarrhea have been prevented?
In the May 9th issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), there was a report titled “Probiotics for the Prevention and Treatment of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea”(AAD).
When antibiotics are prescribed for infections like bronchitis, they can also destroy the healthy intestinal bacteria in the body. As a result, harmful bacteria can proliferate and cause diarrhea that ranges from mild to life-threatening.
The study reviewed 82 trials in which patients (adults and children) randomly received either an antibiotic alone or in combination with a probiotic.
A total of 11,811 studied patients were pooled together for the reviewed trials. The authors found that adding a probiotic when prescribing an antibiotic reduced the risk for diarrhea by 42%.
Take away message
Based on the results of this report, ask your health care provider if he/she would recommend a probiotic when prescribed an antibiotic. Remember to separate the time of taking an antibiotic and the probiotic by two hours. This will lower the risk of the antibiotic destroying the probiotic bacteria.
Can probiotics prevent urinary tract infections?
A 64-year old woman is on her third course of antibiotics for recurrent urinary tract infections. Unfortunately, the cultured E. coli bacteria are resistant to the antibiotic medication.
Was there anything else she could have tried?
In the May 14th issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, a clinical trial2 was published titled “Lactobacilli vs Antibiotics to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections.”
Recurring UTIs are common among some women and low-dose antibiotics can sometimes prevent them. The worry is that overuse of the drugs also reduces their effectiveness by making disease-causing bacteria like E. coli resistant.
The authors conducted a controlled trial in 252 postmenopausal women with recurrent UTIs.
The randomized patients would receive a daily antibiotic or a probiotic containing Lactobacilli for one year.
The researchers then tracked how many UTIs occurred in each group of women over a year. They also collected vaginal swabs and samples of the women’s urine and feces every month to test for the presence of good bacteria and infection-causing bacteria like E. coli.
Over the year, the antibiotic group had an average of 2.9 UTIs per woman, and the probiotic group had an average of 3.3 UTIs. In the year prior to the study, the average number of recurrent UTIs was 7 in each group.
About 20 percent to 40 percent of E. coli in samples from all the women resisted the antibiotic at the beginning of the study. At 12 months between 80 percent and 95 percent of the bacteria resisted the drug in the women taking the antibiotic.
The resistance rate of the E. coli in the women taking the probiotic was slightly lower at one year compared to the start of the study. That is, the E. coli did not develop antibiotic resistance.
The authors concluded that taking a daily antibiotic was not any better than taking a probiotic in lessening recurrent rate of UTIs. “However, the development of antibiotic resistance is considerably lower with the use of lactobacillus. Therefore, lactobacilli may be an acceptable alternative for prevention of UTIs, especially in women who dislike taking antibiotics.”
Take away message
If you have recurrent UTIs, consider taking a probiotic containing Lactobacillus…like EndoMune.
Eat healthy, exercise, take EndoMune and live well!
1) Hempel,S PhD; Newberry,S PhD; Maher,A, MD; et al. Probiotics for the Prevention and Treatment of Antibiotic-Associated DiarrheaA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis JAMA. 2012;307(18):1959-1969. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3507
2) Beerepoot MAJ, ter Riet G, Nys S, et al. Lactobacilli vs antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections: a randomized, double-blind, noninferiority trial in postmenopausal women. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(9):ioi120011704-712