Antibiotics and its side effects

Date Posted:20 October 2016 

Antibiotics and its side effects


Antibiotics are one of the major miracles of modern medicine. They are routinely used to treat or prevent infections caused by pathogens such as bacteria, virus, parasite, and fungi. Whilst antibiotics play an important role in saving lives by eliminating harmful bacteria, medium and broad spectrum ones are unable to differentiate between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria. 


More often than not, antibiotic treatment also depletes the good bacteria in our gut that help regulate digestion and good health. Depending on the population and antibiotic type, it is estimated that 5-39% of patients will suffer from side effects. These side effects include intestinal discomforts such as antibiotic associated diarrhoea (AAD), colitis and nausea. The cause of these side effects has not been completely understood although research has suggested it results from disruptions of the fermentation processes in the digestive system which leads to gut colonisation and infection by pathogenic organisms and viruses [1]. Although rarely life-threatening, these side effects can cause debilitating discomforts, which may discourage the completion of the full course of antibiotic treatment, especially with young children and the elderly [2].


While a healthy individual’s gut flora may sufficiently recover to normal levels, often within several weeks of completing an antibiotic course, some species that were originally present may not be replaced or will take longer to be replaced [3]. Gut flora diversity may not recover completely when subjected to regular doses of antibiotics treatment. This compromises an individual’s immune response to new infections. It has been shown that the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases in children rises with the course of antibiotics taken [4]. It is clear that long term physiological changes brought about by shifts in gut bacteria population may bring longer term health effects that once though possible, especially when antibiotics are overused [5]. 


The Role of Probiotics


Evidence from research shows significant evidence for using probiotics to avoid antibiotic associated diarrhoea (AAD) resulting from viral or bacterial infection. Systemic reviews on AAD in adults and children strongly suggest the effectiveness of probiotics [2, 6]. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains have been shown to be beneficial in the prevention of AAD. Studies showed that patients who consumed Lactobacillus probiotics along with antibiotics did not develop diarrhoea [7] [8]. 


In healthy adults, supplementation of probiotics helps maintain the balance of good bacteria in the gut, which in turn helps improve digestive and immune function. Keeping this balance is even more crucial during antibiotics treatment to maintain a thriving population of gut bacteria. Probiotics help prevent bad bacteria from growing by depleting nutrients and competing for colonisation sites in the gut. Additionally, the proliferation of pathogens is controlled by the production of anti-bacterial compounds and by enhancing the body’s immune response towards pathogenic bacteria and viruses [8, 9].


How can PERKii help


In the human body, ingested probiotics attach to intestine walls before colonising and multiplying. In order to exert their health benefits, there needs to be a sufficient number of live probiotics in the small intestine and colon [10, 11]. However, It has been well established that many probiotic strains do not survive passage through the acidic stomach environment, which is designed to kill microorganisms. 


As opposed to traditional methods of delivering probiotics, which require swallowing (tablets or capsules), PERKii delivers live probiotics in a refreshing and great tasting beverage that is also healthy (low sugar/calorie, gluten-free, lactose-free, dairy-free, natural ingredients). Each bottle of PERKii contains a minimum of 1 billion live Lactobacillus casei (Lc431) probiotic strain with proven health benefits. 

The Lc431 strain has been extensively researched and widely used in food with no reported side effects since 1995. Clinical studies showed that Lc431 improves immune response towards pathogens (viral and bacterial) by increasing the activity of macrophages [12]. Study subjects consuming Lc431 also showed an increase in resistance towards infection in the respiratory tract and intestine [13]. The most recent clinical study concluded that Lc431 consumption shortens the duration of symptoms associated with the common cold and influenza-like illness [14].

In PERKii, all of the probiotic cells are encapsulated within natural gel particles smaller than the width of the human hair (<80m). With the patented Progel encapsulation technology, the probiotics are able to be kept alive throughout the product shelf life and passage through the human digestive system. This ensures that all that 1 billion of cells are delivered to your gut alive.

While there is not yet an agreement on the optimal duration of taking probiotics during antibiotic treatment, it has been suggested that probiotics may be taken during, as well as, after the antibiotic course [6]. It is recommended that probiotics be taken at least 2-3 hours apart from the antibiotic dose or as recommended by your doctor. Probiotics may be taken up to 3 weeks after antibiotic treatment ceases as side effects may occur 2-3 weeks after treatment [2]. 

As more evidence on the health benefits of consuming probiotics emerge, it is essential that regular intake of probiotics should be part of everyone’s diet regardless of age, gender, and health.

Author: Su Hung Ching PhD
Progel Pty Ltd | Perkii Pty Ltd



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