"Should I take probiotics with these antibiotics?" Recently a patient in her early 30's, with a long history of repeat throat infections, asked me.
In recent years, there has been increased interest in the use of probiotics.
What are probiotics?
They are consumable beneficial bacteria, that will settle in our guts once we take it.
Bacteria in our gut?
There are actually a lot of food we consume, that we cannot digest properly. We have a whole lot of good bacteria living in our intestines, that help break down the food we eat, which we then absorb.
This is why sometimes during or after a course of antibiotics, we can get an attack of diarrhoea – because the good bacteria have greatly reduced in numbers, causing us to pass a whole lot of undigested food, and a lot of it.
The purpose of taking probiotics, is to replace the good bacteria that has been lost during a course of antibiotics.
For someone who is prone to indigestion, diarrhoea, or requiring multiple courses of antibiotics, probiotics would be a great way to maintain the health of the digestive system.
Is having yoghurt
There certainly are some beneficial bacteria in yoghurt, however almost never enough. With transporting and sitting on the shelves at the supermarket, there would not be enough to be helpful by the time it gets to our refrigerator.
Probiotic supplements or special probiotic yoghurt would be the way to go.
In the end, for my patient with the recurrent throat infections, I prescribed her a course of antibiotics, but I also recommended that she take probiotics, for the throat.
BLIS K12 Throat Guard (TM), is the only probiotic specifically designed for the health of the mouth and throat. It was developed right here in New Zealand, at the University of Otago. It has been proven to be helpful in reducing the number of throat infections, in particular Streptococcal pharyngitis, commonly known as 'strep throat'. Ask your pharmacist about this product if you or your child suffers from throat infections, tonsillitis or bad breath (halitosis).
The best way to think about repeat throat infections, is to compare it with a neighbourhood of houses.
If a whole lot of 'nice' people live in the houses, the neighbourhood would be a good area. If a whole lot of 'nasty' people live in the houses, the neighbourhood would be a bad area.
If we move the 'nasty' people away, there would be a whole area of empty houses.
Nice or nasty people may move in, making it a good or bad area (again).
After we kill off the bad bacteria, if good bacteria move back in, you won't get a sore throat.
But if the bad ones come back, you will get another sore throat. Probiotics replaces the empty houses (your throat or guts) with good bacteria – making the area a happy place!