aka the Good vs Evil question!
This is a question I have been asked many times. It is also a question I myself used to ask back in the days when I was a biomed newbie:-) I thought it may help other families new to this journey to share my response.
I’m curious to know what is the relation of antibiotics and probitics? Tq
Mrs. J from Kuala Lumpur
Hi Mrs. J,
Very good question! I’ll try to answer this as best as I can. This is an over-simplified explanation of what probiotics and antibiotics are and their relation to each other based on my understanding.
The purpose of antibiotics as a treatment is to kill bad bacteria in times of acute or chronic bacterial infections. When used judiciously, they can be very useful indeed. Antibiotics are indiscriminate, they will kill bad bacteria AND good bacteria. What is good bacteria? Probiotics.
Remember, antibiotics only kills bacteria, not yeast or viruses. So if you have tinea, sinusitis, candida (caused by fungal infection/ yeast overgrowth) or the flu (which is caused by viruses) antibiotics wouldn’t help because bacteria is not the culprit. However, if during the flu or cold, you contract a secondary bacterial infection, then yes, antibiotics are needed. But above all this, remember to support our child’s immune system in order to fight off the infection.
There are some very nasty bacterias that are linked to autistic, ADHD and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) symptoms and behaviours, even aggression can be attributed to certain bacterias. Bacteria such as Strep and Clostridia will become very familiar words the more you delve into biomedical intervention. Both my daughters have had some nasty bacterial infections including Clostridia, Morganella, Klebsiella, E.Coli, Helicobacter Pylori etc, many of them identified via Comprehensive Stool Tests. Treating those bad bugs were some of the best things we ever did for Mei and Min Min.
Antibiotics is usually pharmaceutical medication, there are also natural antibiotics usually termed as microbials. Natural microbials includes Grapefruit Seed Extract, Oil of Oregano, Olive Leaf Extract and many many more. Many of these herbals also have antimicrobial, antifungal and antiviral properties and are usually broad spectrum. But antibiotics are only antimicrobial, and are usually specific to certain strains of bacteria.
Some children do better on natural antimicrobials rather than antibiotics and vice versa. Of course, this is child specific and depends on the strains of bacteria we are dealing with. For some children, antibiotics was one of the determining factors which caused their regression into autism. Whether it was due to the medication itself or the side-effect of wiping out the good bacteria which causes proliferation of yeast or viruses, I don’t know. But I do know some families who will never use antibiotics ever again.
Do remember, both antibiotics and natural antimicrobials will kill the bad and good bacteria. So whenever you take antibiotics or even natural antimicrobials, always remember to replenish with lots of good bacteria ie. probiotics. We’re talking at least 100 BILLION CFU, my friends even go up to 1 TRILLION CFU when on an antibiotic/ antimicrobial protocol. Otherwise, you’ll leave a vacumn in the gut which then gets colonised by the remaining bad bacteria (yes, there’ll be some sneaky bugs still hiding in there), yeast or viruses. Bacteria, yeast and viruses are very opportunistic organisms and multiply like crazy. So always remember your probiotics during and after antibiotic therapy. When you recolonize with lots of good probiotics, not only do you maintain a good gut health balance, you are also suppressing and preventing opportunistic bad bacteria, yeast, fungi and viruses from multiplying. There will always be bad bacteria, yeast and virus in the human body, it’s normal. What is abnormal is when there are more bad guys than good guys. That’s what we call intestinal imbalance, we want to bring that balance back. Probiotics helps with digestion, immune system and much more.
Remember that most children on the autism spectrum benefit from the GFCF diet (Gluten-free and Casein-Free) Casein is a component in dairy products e.g. cow and goat milk products. Take note that probiotics sold in the market are usually cultured on dairy. Unless of course, it is clearly stated on the label that they are casein-free or dairy-free probiotics.
So which probiotics do I like? As you know, I do like to rotate my probiotics once I finish a jar or two. Some of my favourite brands of casein-free probiotics are from Klaire Labs, Kirkman’s and Custom Probiotics. When choosing probiotics, I prefer a broad-spectrum high CFU (colony forming units) such as Klaire Labs Factor 6 and Custom Probiotics CP-1. Previously, I used Kirkman’s ProBio Gold and Klaire Labs Therbiotic Complete. I no longer use them due to the strep-strains, plus the 25 Billion CFU is too low for my taste now that my children require higher amounts. Though recently I bought Kirkman’s ProBio Gold just to tide us over before my stock of Klaire Labs comes in. I’m taking it for myself now. I have also used Klaire Labs Therbiotic Detox, it is strep-free and is higher CFU, however my children don’t do so well on it. Perhaps the lack of certain strains, as it is not broad-spectrum. Occasionally, I still use Klaire Labs Factor 4 as an add-on. It contains Bifido strains which helps with constipation. Though for my next rotation, I would like to try Custom Probiotics Blend of 6 Strains or D-Lactate Free because of it’s awesomely high CFU. Other high CFU formulations includes VSL.
Not all probiotics are suitable for all children, so please do your own research. For some children, they may be intolerant of certain strains. My children do better on strep-free formulations. We found this out through observation, research and trial and error. There is no ultimate probiotic in my opinion, it very much depends on your child’s needs. And as many of you know, I never skimp on good probiotics. I will continue to give my children probiotics for as long as possible. And I will continue to take probiotics for myself for the rest of my life because the benefits are enormous.
In Malaysia, you can either buy these probiotics from your biomedical doctor, though it depends on what brands they have in stock. I frequently buy them online from www.spectrumsupplements.com, www.iherb.com, www.customprobiotics.com and www.klaire.com Though Klaire Labs requires a physician’s code. You can get it from your own biomedical doctor. A few friends purchase regularly from www.greenandhealthy.com who are also able to source Klaire Labs products. In Singapore, you can also purchase from Back 2 Basics www.b2bdiet.com.sg
There are also other sources of probiotics such as kefir, coconut yoghurt, cultured and fermented foods. Do check the web for more information on recipes and natural sources of probiotics.
You can read here on my previous posts regarding probiotics. However, do take note that they were written some time ago, since then views and experience has evolved.
Of course, I can’t sign off without including this often repeated mantra – ‘start low, go slow’.
When first starting probiotics especially for your young child, please start at a low dose, perhaps 1/4 of the dose. Observe for any bad reactions or side effects, more often there will be healing regression temporarily. If all goes well, increase to 1/2 dose 3-4 days later. I also highly encourage the parents too to start taking probiotics. In our current environment, antibiotics are overly prescribed. And our meat and poultry food sources are fed antibiotics and hormones, so it makes sense to replenish the good bacteria and get our gut into that perfect balance.
Hope this helps,