Home » How Probiotics Can Alleviate Antibiotics Side-Effects

How Probiotics Can Alleviate Antibiotics Side-Effects

Whenever we talk about antibiotic use and its potential side effects, we usually locate these problems in the guts. And indeed, in this organ we harbour a large diversity of bacteria that work in symbiosis with us by helping us to keep healthy and fit. But these bacteria are not only present in our gut. They are all over our body and are collectively called the microbiome.

Microbiota are found in several regions of the body such as the mouth, nose, pharynx, intestinal tract, vaginal tract, and skin, stomach is not heavily colonized because of its Acidic pH.

However, especially intestinal microbiota influences many areas of human health such as innate immunity, appetite and energy metabolism.

Our microbiome has the ability to process dietary polysaccharides (complex sugars), and vitamin. Moreover, it is relevant in our hormonal production, pH regulation, processing and detoxification of environmental chemicals, and maintenance of the skin and mucosal barrier function

Negative effects of antibiotics on the microbiome

Widespread antibiotics use has led to deleterious consequences for microbiome diversity in humans, for example, Ciprofloxacin use in adults led to decreased bacterial diversity in the gut.

Antibiotics can also kills the normal flora in vagina “Lactobacillus acidophilus” which plays a role in stopping disease-causing bacteria that can lead to infections.

Probiotics can potentially alleviate potential health problems caused by antibiotics

Antibiotics sometimes result in diarrhea or a Clostridium difficile infection (CDI).

Both diarrhea and CDI are frequent complications of broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy, and these can be treated or prevented by using probiotic bacteria.

Probiotic supplementation may induce colonization resistance and alleviate harmful effects of antibiotics on the intestinal microbiota and it could be a reasonable strategy in prevention of antibiotic associated disturbances of the intestinal homeostasis and disorders.

How Probiotics Work

The beneficial effects of probiotics likely result from several complex, interacting mechanisms that will differ for different strains and sites of action.

These mechanisms may include:

  • Competition for binding sites to the intestinal wall.
  • Competition for essential nutrients.
  • Production of antimicrobial substances.
  • Stimulation of mucin production.
  • Stabilization of the intestinal barrier.
  • Improvement of gut transit, metabolism of nutrients to volatile fatty acids, and immunomodulation (immune stimulation and immunoregulation).

The hall of fame for bacteria

Some bacterial strains are better known to us than others. What follows is a list of bacteria that you mind find in your supplements or delibaretly look for, as these are likely better known and researched than others.


  • L. rhamnosus
  • L. acidophilus
  • L. plantarum
  • L. casei
  • L. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
  • L. brevis
  • L. johnsonii
  • L. fermentum
  • L. reuteri


  • B. infantis
  • B. animalis subsp. lactis
  • B. bifidum
  • B. longum
  • B. breve


  • S. boulardi


  • L. lactis subsp. lactis


  • E. durans
  • E. faecium


  • S. thermophilus


  • P. acidilactici


  • L. mesenteroides


  • B. coagulans
  • B. subtilis
  • B. cereus


  • E. coli Nissle

This article has been written by one of our guest writers and does not necessarily represent the editorial point of view.

References and further reading

Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health, 13 June 2018. https://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/361/bmj.k2179.full.pdf

Exploring the microbiome in health and disease: Implications for toxicology 2017. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/2397847317741884

The effects of antibiotics on the microbiome throughout development and alternative approaches for therapeutic modulation – Amy Langdon, Nathan Crook 2016 Apr 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4831151/

Effects of probiotics and antibiotics on the intestinal homeostasis in a computer-controlled model of the large intestine 2012 Mar 27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3338381/

Effects of Probiotic Supplementation on the Gut Microbiota and Antibiotic Resistome Development in Preterm Infants 2018 Nov. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6250747/

Probiotics: Their Potential to Impact Human Health Oct 2007. http://www.cast-science.org/download.cfm?PublicationID=2930&File=f030d2d5777f5676ed033b112a7e65524518

The Comparison of Food and Supplement as Probiotic Delivery Vehicles 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25117939

Health Benefits of Probiotics: A Review 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4045285/

Microorganisms with Claimed Probiotic Properties: An Overview of Recent Literature 2014 May. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4053917/

Yusuf Saeed

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