Could Probiotics Help Treat Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea?
Diarrhea and Probiotics
Organisms that although most are harmless or often beneficial, several are pathogenic and cause infection disease. Antibiotics are among the most frequently prescribed medications in modern medicine that cure infection diseases. Today, over 100 different antibiotics are available to cure minor and life-threatening infections.
The use of antibiotics disturbs the delicate microbial balance that normally inhabits the gut resulting in a range of symptoms, most notably, diarrhea. Antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) is a common problem in the treatment of infectious diseases. The severity of AAD may range from uncomplicated to severe diarrhea, and serious complications may arise, including electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, pseudomembranous colitis, toxic megacolon, or death.
Benefits of Probiotics for Diarrhea
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help restore the gut microbial balance and reduce the risk of colonization by pathogenic bacteria and diarrhea.The short-term use of probiotics appears to be safe and effective when used along with antibiotics in patients who are not immunocompromised or severely debilitated.
The use of probiotics could help in the treatment of AAD by stimulation of the immune system, competition with the pathogenic bacteria for nutrients and adherence sites in the gut cells, acidification of the intestinal content and neutralization of the intestinal pathogens.
Diarrhea and Probiotics: Specific probiotics can prevent and treat AAD
An important study showed that the simultaneous administration of Bifidobacterium lactis, Streptococcus thermophiles and antibiotics resulted in a significant reduction in AAD. In this study, 80 infants, 6 to 36 months of age, were randomly assigned to receive a commercial formula containing B. lactis and S. thermophilus at the initiation of antibiotics for a duration of 15 days. The infants were assessed daily for formula intake, stool frequency, and stool consistency for a total duration of 30 days. Seventy-seven infants received non supplemented formula for the entire duration. There was a significant reduction in AAD in the children receiving probiotic-supplemented formula (16%) than non-supplemented formula (31%) .
The use of Saccharomyces boulardii is safe and has clear beneficial effects in the prevention and treatment of acute diarrhea . Several studies showed that the simultaneous administration of S. boulardii with antibiotics resulted in a significant reduction of AAD by more than half in children and adults .
Conclusion: Antibiotic-associated Diarrhea and Probiotics Treatment
The data described here supports the consumption of specific probiotics in the treatment of antibiotics associated diarrhea.
Recommended Probiotic Supplements for Antibiotic-associated Diarrhea
According to these scientific findings reviewed here, the first bacteria strains recommended are Bifidobacterium lactis and Streptococcus thermophiles. We found these specific strains in the following products: Complete Probiotic by Mercola, Megaprobiotics by Altman, and Jamieson’s Probio-Tec® Quatro.
The second recommended bacteria strain is Saccharomyces boulardii, which can be found in Florastor, Abx Support by Klaire labs, and Probacto.
Antibiotic-associated Diarrhea and Probiotics: Research Resources Corrêa NB, Péret Filho LA, Penna FJ, Lima FM, Nicoli JR. A randomized formula controlled trial of Bifidobacterium lactis and Streptococcus thermophilus for prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in infants. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2005; 39(5):385-9.
More about AAD in the Mayo Clinic website. Feizizadeh S, Salehi-Abargouei A, Akbari V. Efficacy and safety of Saccharomyces boulardii for acute diarrhea. Pediatrics. 2014; 134(1):e176-91.