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Home > Drugs - Nutrient Interactions
Drugs - Nutrient Interactions
by Dave Foreman
Just as we may have Drug-Drug interactions, there are Drug-Nutrient reactions. The potential for interaction(s) is always looked on as a negative, but in Natural Medicine, more often than not they can be positive. After reading that sentence many people shake their head in disbelief and think I have lost my mind. I am here to tell you that, as a Pharmacist and a Natural Medicine expert, I haven't. In this and following newsletters, I will introduce you to strategies for how you can improve current treatment programs by incorporating nutritional supplements.
The first interaction (a positive one) that I wanted to cover may have the biggest impact on your health: antibiotics and probiotics. We all understand what an antibiotic is, but only a few may know what a probiotic is. In short, probiotics are friendly, life-promoting bacteria found primarily in the small and large intestine. Their primary functions are to:
• Assist in the production and absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream
• Form a barrier against harmful bacteria that can cause diarrhea
• Manufacture food for your intestinal cells so they can function optimally
• Help prevent harmful bacteria from causing damage
• Prevent symptoms caused by the use of antibiotics, which can destroy the majority of the friendly bacteria in the intestinal tract
So where is the interaction?
When we take an antibiotic, it doesn't discriminate between probiotic (good) and pathogenic (bad) bacteria-it simply kills all the bacteria in its path. By killing off the good bacteria found in the digestive tract, the body becomes vulnerable to other potentially harmful effects, many of which are worse than the original infection. Most people acknowledge that diarrhea is a major side effect from antibiotic use, but aren't aware that taking a probiotic during and for a week or two after antibiotic use can prevent this from ever happening. This is just one example of the benefits of using a probiotic during antibiotic use. Here is a short list of other probiotic uses:
• Enhanced immune function
• Improved cardiovascular health
• Protection against food poisoning
• Improvement in digestion and digestive tract disorder
• Improved skin appearance
• Decreased food allergies
Just one course of antibiotic therapy may open the body up to severe health problems. Since probiotics don't grow back quickly in the body unless we supplement with a well balanced probiotic formula, the body may end up weak and depleted. Just imagine what might be happening to those who use antibiotics on a regular basis. Scary.
I think it is necessary to have ALL people who are receiving antibiotics take a well balanced probiotic formula. When looking for a probiotic, choose one with multiple strains (types) of beneficial bacteria. You can even find probiotics for infants, children and seniors.