Why Can't You Take Probiotics With Antibiotics

Why Can't You Take Probiotics With Antibiotics

In exploring the benefits of adding probiotics to your diet, we continue to answer many questions along the way. One such common concern our customers have is the use of probiotics with different medications, especially antibiotics. 

Can you take probiotics with antibiotics? Or, why can’t you take probiotics with antibiotics? If you have either of these concerns, don't worry as we are here to offer you expert advice.

The answer lies in understanding the working of antibiotics and probiotics. Antibiotics fight invaders and bacteria that cause various infections. On the other hand, probiotics are beneficial bacterial strains that improve gut health and overall digestion. 

By looking at this simplification, you might think that probiotics and prebiotics are incompatible because of their completely contrary effects. Read on to learn whether this is the case. 

Gut Microbiome and Probiotics

Imagine your gut as a vibrant ecosystem, a thriving community of microbes. Probiotics, the friendly inhabitants of this microcosm, are like helpful neighbors. They ensure proper digestion, bolster immunity, and maintain the equilibrium within. 

Gut Microbiome and Antibiotics 

Now, antibiotics. They're like powerful gusts of wind that clear away unwanted debris but might just sweep away a few cherished trinkets if you're not careful. Antibiotics play the role of the rescuer, wiping out harmful bacteria that cause infections. However, they can be a tad overenthusiastic, leaving no stone unturned, including our benevolent probiotic buddies.

The Potential Interaction | Why You Can’t Take Probiotics with Antibiotics

When it comes to the question of whether you can take probiotics with antibiotics, the answer isn't a simple yes or no. There's ongoing research exploring the potential interaction between these two.

How Antibiotics Affect Probiotics 

Antibiotics are designed to eliminate bacteria, both good and bad. This can disrupt the delicate balance of the gut microbiota, potentially leading to imbalances in digestion and immune function. Probiotics, however, introduce beneficial bacteria back into the gut, aiding in the restoration of balance.

Timing Matters 

One key consideration is the timing of probiotic consumption. Taking probiotics a few hours after antibiotics might help minimize the disruption caused by antibiotics, as it allows the antibiotics to do their job before introducing beneficial bacteria.

Strain Specificity 

Not all probiotics are the same. Different strains of probiotics offer distinct benefits. Some strains might interact positively with certain antibiotics, while others may not. Consulting a healthcare professional can help determine which strains are suitable to take alongside specific antibiotics.

The Benefits of Combining Probiotics with Antibiotics 

Reduced Antibiotic Side Effects 

As mentioned earlier, antibiotics can lead to digestive issues. Probiotics might help alleviate these side effects by promoting gut health and minimizing disruptions in the microbiome.

Preventing Secondary Infections 

Antibiotics can sometimes pave the way for secondary infections. Probiotics have been suggested to support the immune system, potentially reducing the risk of these secondary infections.

Why Don't Doctors Prescribe Probiotics with Antibiotics? 

Lack of Consensus 

While some studies suggest the potential benefits of taking probiotics with antibiotics, there's still a lack of consensus among healthcare professionals. The interaction between probiotics and antibiotics is complex, and doctors may be cautious about recommending them together.

Individual Variation 

Each individual's health and microbiome are unique. What works for one person might not work for another. Doctors may prefer personalized approaches when considering probiotics and antibiotics.

What Happens If You Take Probiotics and Antibiotics at the Same Time? 

Taking probiotics and antibiotics simultaneously could potentially lead to interactions between the two. Some studies suggest that certain antibiotics might reduce the effectiveness of probiotics.

Simultaneous consumption might not allow antibiotics to exert their full effect before introducing probiotics. This could impact the intended purpose of antibiotics.

Best Time to Take Probiotics with Antibiotics 

Staggered Approach 

To maximize the benefits of both probiotics and antibiotics, consider a staggered approach. Take antibiotics as prescribed and introduce probiotics a few hours later.

Consulting a Professional 

Your healthcare provider can offer tailored advice on the best timing based on the antibiotics you're taking and your overall health condition.

Best Probiotics to Take with Antibiotics 

Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are two common probiotic strains that are often recommended alongside antibiotics. They might help counteract some of the negative effects of antibiotics on gut health. So, the best probiotics to take with antibiotics must have these strains

Look for probiotics that have been studied for their interactions with antibiotics. Your doctor can guide you toward reputable brands. 

Can I Take Probiotics with Antibiotics for UTI? 

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are often treated with antibiotics. Taking probiotics might help maintain overall gut health during antibiotic treatment. For UTIs, it's recommended to consult a urologist or healthcare professional before introducing probiotics alongside antibiotics.

When to Take Probiotics with Doxycycline 

Doxycycline is an antibiotic that can disrupt gut bacteria. Taking probiotics a few hours apart from doxycycline might help reduce potential disruptions.

Your doctor can provide specific advice on timing and strain selection when taking probiotics with doxycycline.

How Long to Take Probiotics After Antibiotics 

The duration of probiotic use after antibiotics varies. Generally, it's advisable to continue probiotics for a few weeks to restore gut balance.

Pay attention to how your body responds and consult your doctor if you have any concerns.

Should I Take Probiotics Twice a Day While on Antibiotics? 

Twice-a-day probiotic consumption might help maintain consistent levels of beneficial bacteria during antibiotic treatment.

Discuss the frequency of probiotic intake with your healthcare provider to ensure it aligns with your treatment plan.


In the tug-of-war between antibiotics and probiotics, there's a nuanced relationship that deserves attention. While research suggests potential benefits of taking probiotics with antibiotics, it's crucial to approach this with caution and seek professional guidance. Your healthcare provider can help you make informed decisions that support your health and wellness journey.


Can I start taking probiotics without a doctor's recommendation?

It's recommended to consult a healthcare professional before introducing any new supplements, including probiotics, into your routine.

Are there specific probiotic strains to look for?

Different strains offer different benefits. Your doctor can recommend strains that align with your health goals.

Can probiotics interfere with antibiotic efficacy?

There's limited evidence to suggest that specific probiotic strains might interfere with antibiotics, so consulting a healthcare professional is crucial.

How long should I continue taking probiotics after antibiotics?

The duration can vary based on your health condition. Your doctor can provide guidance on the appropriate timeline.

Is natural probiotic-rich food a good alternative to supplements?

Yes, foods like yogurt, kimchi, and kefir can be excellent sources of probiotics, provided you're not lactose intolerant or allergic to any ingredients.

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