Antibiotics and beneficial gut bacteria

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by richvank, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, all.

    I'm kind of surprised that this is big news, but maybe it is to the conventional medical establishment. It will be great if it causes physicians to give probiotics after prescribing antibiotics.

    Best regards,


    Repeated antibiotics alter beneficial gut germs
    Levels plummeted in volunteers in small study, researchers found

    WASHINGTON — An antibiotic can temporarily upset your stomach, but now it turns
    out that repeatedly taking them might have lingering ill effects — by triggering
    changes in all those good germs that live in your gut.
    Nobody yet knows if that leads to later health problems. But the finding is the
    latest in a flurry of research raising questions about how the customized
    bacterial zoo that thrives in our intestines forms — and whether the wrong type
    or amount plays a role in ailments from obesity to inflammatory bowel disease to
    Don't be grossed out: This is a story in part about, well, poop. Three healthy
    adults collected weeks of stool samples so that scientists could count exactly
    how two separate rounds of a fairly mild antibiotic caused a surprising
    population shift in their microbial netherworld — as some original families of
    germs plummeted and other types moved in to fill the gap.
    It's also a story of how we coexist with trillions of bacteria, fungi and other
    microbes in the skin, the nose, the digestive tract, what scientists call the
    human microbiome. Many are beneficial, even indispensable, especially the gut
    bacteria that play an underappreciated role in overall health.
    "Gut communities are fundamentally important in the development of our immune
    system," explains Dr. David Relman of Stanford University, who led the
    antibiotic study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of
    Sciences. "Let's not take them for granted."
    Next, Relman plans to track if antibiotics during the first or two year of life,
    when youngsters form what will become their unique set of gut bacteria, seem to
    predispose children to later immune-related diseases.
    Antibiotics already should be used cautiously because they can spur
    infection-causing bacteria to become drug-resistant. The new research raises
    different questions about effects on beneficial bacteria — and if abnormalities
    in the microbiome really are linked to health problems, how those changes might
    We should start paying attention to this," says Dr. Martin Blaser, a microbiome
    specialist at New York University Langone Medical Center, who wasn't involved
    with Relman's work but also is planning to study the issue in children. "The
    main point is that antibiotic use is not free in a biological sense."
    Everyone is born with an essentially sterile digestive tract, but within days
    the gut is overrun with bacteria from mom and dad, the environment, first foods.
    Ultimately, a healthy person's intestinal tract teems with hundreds of species
    of microbes, the body's biggest concentration, with many involved in such things
    as digestion and immune reaction.
    In the not-so-healthy, scientists have discovered that overweight people harbor
    different types and amounts of gut bacteria than lean people, and that losing
    weight can change that bacterial makeup. They've also found links to other
    digestive diseases, precancerous colon polyps — and even are pursuing a theory
    that early use of antibiotics disrupts the developing microbiome in ways that
    spur autoimmune disorders like asthma or allergies.
    Antibiotics aren't choosey and can kill off good germs as well as bad ones. But
    Relman and fellow research scientist Les Dethlesfsen wondered how hardy gut
    bacteria are, how well they bounce back. So they recruited healthy volunteers
    who hadn't used antibiotics in at least the past year to take two five-day
    courses of the antibiotic Cipro, six months apart.
    The volunteers reported no diarrhea or upset stomach, yet their fecal samples
    showed a lot going on beneath the surface. Bacterial diversity plummeted as a
    third to half of the volunteers' original germ species were nearly wiped out,
    although some other species moved in. Yet about a week after stopping the drug,
    two of the three volunteers had their bacterial levels largely return to normal.
    The third still had altered gut bacteria six months later.
    The surprise: Another die-off and shift happened with the second round of Cipro,
    but this time no one's gut bacteria had returned to the pre-antibiotic state by
    the time the study ended two months later.
  2. amomwithsickkids

    amomwithsickkids New Member

    I wish that every doc prescribing antibiotics would have a discussion with their patients about probiotics. S. boulardi can help prevent C. diff. Other probiotics re-populate the gut with beneficial bacteria. I also wish that every doc prescribing a fluoroquinolone like cipro would counsel patients to take magnesium to help avoid tendon issues (wish I knew that back in the day).

    Another thing on my wish list is that medical professionals would make full use of both allopathic and "alternative" medicine. Fortunately, more medical professionals (in my experience) recognize the importance of both.

  3. u&iraok

    u&iraok New Member

    I had heard that years ago they always provided probiotics when they proscribed antiobiotics but they stopped doing it.
  4. amomwithsickkids

    amomwithsickkids New Member

    Hi, quinine medications are different from fluoroquinolone medications.

    Plaquenil is a quinine medication that is used for malaria, lupus, lyme disease, and maybe other conditions that I am not aware of.

    Fluoroquinolones are antibiotics, not anti-malarials. Examples are: Levaquin, Cipro, Factive, Tequin, Avelox and others. These are the ones that can cause tendon rupture. Magnesium helps prevent that.

    The main thing to know about plaquenil (assuming that's the quinine medication your daughter is taking) is to get her eyes checked on a regular basis. Plaquenil is a very old medication and has helped a lot of people. From what I know it is generally considered safe.

    I don't know much about porphyria, only that there are different types. On lymenet there are several threads about it.

    I find magnesium supplements in general to be helpful. They can keep you "regular" and help your bones. There are various types: mag citrate, mag oxide, mag glycinate, mag malate. Not sure exactly how one differs from the next.

    I go to and enter in all the medications and supplements my children are on. I want to make sure there are no dangerous interactions. Many supplements are not in that database, unfortunately. There are other sites that do have more supplements in their database, but I don't know them.

    Anyway, I hope this helps. Good luck to your daughter and good for you for being a proactive mom!
  5. amomwithsickkids

    amomwithsickkids New Member

    Maybe when generally healthy people take abx for a week every year or two probiotics aren't needed. Otherwise, I too definitely think probiotics are necessary.

    S. boulardi is an excellent probiotic (actually a beneficial yeast) that can help prevent c. diff which is so important for those on abx.

    There are other great probiotics out there as well--I'm sure prohealth has some on the site.
  6. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, gb66.

    No problem!

  7. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I went to a gastroenterologist today and am having several tests, a colonoscopy and an endoscopy of the esophagus and stomach. I have been having severe IBS symptoms plus some other symptoms probably from being on the wrong setting with the APAP. The adjustment has helped the symptoms but they want to check things out. Since I need a colonoscopy next year they are doing both at the same time.

    What a bargain. Two for the price of one!!!!!! :>)

    He also said, "You know this is often associated with Fibro." My jaw hit the floor.

    All right!!! Some doctor's are learning.

    The doctor wants me to take a probiotic but here's the kicker. It is a prescription probiotic made by a pharmaceutical company, so the purity is (hopefully?) better than some of the OTC. Some OTC probiotics by reputable firms (probably PH) may be covered by some insurance companies. My insurance will cover it, there's nothing about not being approved by the FDA, yadda, yadda.

    Of course, when he recommended the Probiotics the first thing out of my mouth was about the research, my concerns about getting them OTC. He reassured me that probiotics have scientifically been shown to work, , which I really already knew. I was just concerned about getting it OTC.

    Kismet? , LOL!!
  8. amomwithsickkids

    amomwithsickkids New Member

    Thanks for mentioning that. Many people don't know that hearing loss can be caused by zithromax.

    Everyone needs to do their homework about everything!!
  9. amomwithsickkids

    amomwithsickkids New Member

    The only probiotic that I am aware of that is covered by insurance is VSL #3. It is excellent (but doesn't taste so's a powder that you mix into juice or water).

    Good luck with your procedures.

  10. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I just looked and mine are the same, VSL#3, but in pill form. Sounds like that might be a good alternative to the nasty tasting drink or does your insurance only cover the type you take?

    I have to keep mine in the refrigerator, so other than being cold going down, no bad taste. Yet, LOL!!!

    Take care.

  11. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Thanks for providing this info. I am a looooong-time user of probiotics, especially when I'm on an ABX. I have yet to have a doc tell me to take probiotics. Those that do usually suggest patients eat yogurt. Yogurt is good but not good enough to repopulate the gut with good bacteria.

    As we age, our body produces less and less of the good bacteria and using probiotics helps us digest our food, get more nutrients, and avoid inflammation and infection in the digestion tract. They are good to use every day with our other supplements.

    I get here so rarely anymore but just wanted to say, "Hi."

    Love, Mikie
  12. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I took one pill night before last. I woke up yesterday and was amazed that I was not having any problems as AM is usually the worst. But by last night had diarrhea with stomach cramps. Don't know whether to chalk it up to what is going on with my IBS, which is usually C or the probiotic as so many factors are going on at the same time. The doctor did say that if the probiotic bothers my stomach, to take it every other day.

    The probiotic is prescription strength so that may be the problem as I have taken probiotics in the past without any side effects and only minimal relief. But the time laspe between taking the pill seems a little long. Who knows, but I will start with every other day.

    Anyone else have this experience?


  13. ljimbo42

    ljimbo42 Active Member

    I've have been taking the vsl#3 sachets for a few months now, I have also taken the capsules. I noticed a huge difference in everything from my ibs to my energy levels. I take about one sachet a day, which is equal to 4 capsules or 450 billion cfu's. I slowly worked my way up to 450 billion. The capsules are 225 billion cfu's for 2. I can't and won't be without them now. Best of luck to you! I think if you keep taking these you will feel so much better in many, many ways!
  14. richvank

    richvank New Member

    It's really good to hear from you again, Mikie. I hope things are going O.K. for you!

    Best regards,

  15. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Thanks. I am not going to give up on them yet. My stomach is much better today. I am going to take them every other day and then work up to one a day. It could be pure coincidence that the two happened together.

    Take care.

  16. amomwithsickkids

    amomwithsickkids New Member

    I knew in the back (way back lol) of my mind about the pill form, but that wasn't the one prescribed...probably because it has less CFUs than the powder. But the powder is really gross, so IMO it's a much better idea to take the pill form, even if you have to take 2 or 3 of them to get the same dose.

    The powder (sachets really ... like others have called them) need refrigeration also. Good question about the insurance. I have no idea if the pill form is covered. Next time will ask for a script for the pill form to see if the insurance will cover it.

    Also, FYI, you probably know this, but the VSL does not contain S. boulardi, which is critical to take when on antibiotics.

  17. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    My insurance does cover the pill form but this does not mean every insurance company will cover it.

    I am not taking the probiotic because of an antibiotics but because of IBS. I will have to ask my doctor about the S. boulardi.


    [This Message was Edited on 10/01/2010]
  18. LittleBluestem

    LittleBluestem New Member

    the allopaths are finally catching up with the veterinarians! My horse has been dead several years and my veterinarian had me give he probiotics after I wormed her. She never needed antibiotics, but a friend told me her veterinarians had her give probiotics along with antibiotic to her horse.