Q: "I’m on antibiotics, and I’ve been told by my naturopath to take probiotics to combat their effect. Will they really help?"
Meredith Hepburn, via email
A: Dietitian Caitlin Reid responds:
“The human gut is crowded with bacteria – both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ varieties. Antibiotics are prescribed to target illnesses caused by bad bacteria, but once taken, they kill most of the bacteria that are sensitive to them, including the good bacteria. This can destroy the bacterial balance between good and bad, and may cause stomach upsets, diarrhoea or other problems.
Taking probiotics – cultures of good micro-organisms similar to the good bacteria in the gut – has been found to help boost the good bacteria in the gut and restore the microbial balance that is disrupted by antibiotics and infections, so your naturopath’s recommendation is a good one. Probiotics can be found in fermented milk drinks such as Yakult, tablets such as Inner Health Plus, and yoghurt such as Yoplait Elivaé.”