The Toll of Antibiotic Treatment
Updated: Nov 9
Illness is something that we have all experienced over the course of our lifetime. For some, that included antibiotic treatment for speedy recovery. Antimicrobial and antibiotic drugs work, “against a variety of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites” during the host’s treatment process (FDA, 2018). Treatment involving antibiotics is tricky because it can cause antimicrobial resistance which is complex; relating to dosage, timeframe, and consistency. However, it is certain that, “all uses of antimicrobials, whether in humans or animals, can spur resistance” (FDA, 2018). This article will discuss how probiotic technology can help support antibiotic-related treatment and overall health.
Antibiotic usage is associated with a number of health side-effects. Most commonly related to the gastro-intestinal tract, patients are subject to experience nausea and diarrhea. This is known as antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD), and “arises when the antibiotic disrupts the ecology of the intestinal microbiota, by altering the diversity and numbers of bacteria in the gut” (BMC, 2018). Essentially, antibiotics are engineered to specifically kill off foreign, bad bacteria. However, it consequently removes vital and (“good”) healthy bacteria existing in the gut biome during the bacterial elimination process. Healthy bacteria in a host’s intestines is required to maintain good digestive health. Our gastrointestinal system is our primary defender against illness. The removal of “good” bacteria can lead to an imbalanced digestive system and compromised immune system. So, what do we do? In addition to carefully following prescription instructions and completing the full dosage regimen, patients may want to consider including probiotic supplements. Probiotics are the beneficial, live microorganisms that are vital in regulating the gastrointestinal tract in our bodies. The main “benefit of probiotics is exercised by contributing to the maintenance of a balanced microbiota and therefore by creating a favorable gut environment” (BMC, 2018). This bacteria supports the gut biome which houses a collection of microorganisms in the digestive tract, thus supporting the body's immune system.
Probiotics efficacy rate of a product, “can be influenced by strain composition” which is typically either single or multi-strain (BMC, 2018). This has a direct impact on how it will react to our bodies on antibiotic treatment and for its long-term benefits. Imagilin® Technology has developed the single-strain, plant-based probiotic ingredient patented as Pediococcus acidilactici NRRL B-50517 (PA5051®). This unique blend is able to complement and survive different antibiotic treatments, even under high dosages. Utilizing plant-based ingredients has led to higher efficacy rates related to bacterial survival, nutrient absorption, and immune support. One clinical study shows how the single strain PA5051® can maintain higher amounts of bacterial cells as compared to the Lactobacillus acidophilus multistrain when existing in an acidic environment. When a host is suffering from illness, their stomach acidity is higher, on average a pH of 2.0.
In Figure A, we can see how microorganism colonies survive in various acidic conditions. The survivability of pH levels in acidic environments associated with the plant-based P. acidilactici are much higher and have a more consistent bacteria count than the latter, dairy-derived probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus. This is a positive indicator of resilience because oftentimes antibiotics hinder the gut microbiota and trigger acidity whilst fighting off infectious diseases. Leading to a decrease in the survival rate of microorganisms located in the gut biome. The results of this experiment supports plant-based, probiotics complementing antibiotic usage.
Individuals may experience varied benefits depending on their history of treatments and by possessing a “unique microbiome", as well as previous, “impact of a given antibiotic on the composition and stability of different microbial ecosystems (BMC, 2018). Since immunity history varies from person to person, the timeline for noticeable effects is dependent on many factors. However, it is “worth being flexible and trying different probiotics until the most effective one has been found,” because our gut microbiome is vital to a host’s overall well being. Imagilin® Technology’s plant-based probiotics can be used simultaneously with the use of antibiotics, whereas most other probiotics formulas cannot. This makes PA5051® a viable choice for the overall health support of the host.
Agamennone, Valeria et al. “A practical guide for probiotics applied to the case of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in The Netherlands.” BMC gastroenterology vol. 18,1 103. 6 Aug. 2018, doi:10.1186/s12876-018-0831-x
Center for Veterinary Medicine. “FDA’s Strategy on Antimicrobial Resistance.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 7 Nov. 2018, www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/fdas-strategy-antimicrobial-resistance-questions-and-answers#:~:text=Antimicrobial%20drugs%20include%20all%20drugs%20that%20work%20against,are%20antimicrobials%2C%20but%20not%20all%20antimicrobials%20are%20antibiotics.