Can you take probiotics and antacids together?

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can you take probiotics and antacids together?

Antacids are medications used for acid-related digestive issues such as heartburn, acid reflux, and stomach ulcers. Probiotics, on the other hand, are live microorganisms that are beneficial for digestive health. And recent studies suggest that probiotics may also be a viable complementary treatment, in patients with acid reflux, GERD, and gastritis.

So can you take probiotics and antacids together? Here is what you need to know about this combo.

How do Probiotics work?

Probiotics are part of an enormous collection of trillions of live organisms in your gut called the gut microbiome. They are beneficial bacteria that constantly work to keep the right balance in your gut microbiome. They promote a healthy gut, strengthen the gut barrier and fight off pathogens.

What about Antacids?

Congruous with its name, antacids work by neutralizing the acid in your stomach. Antacids can be used to relieve indigestion, acid reflux, gastritis, and stomach ulcers. They can quickly alleviate your symptoms for a few hours, but they do not treat the underlying cause.

Can you take probiotics and antacids together?

Yes, you can. Taking both supplements in tandem provides some benefits.

Some studies have suggested that taking probiotics alongside antacids has beneficial effects on gut microbiota and symptoms of digestive disorders. 

A study published in the Journal of International Medical Research revealed better improvement in symptoms of dyspepsia after probiotic administration in patients receiving conventional pharmacological therapies like antacids and other acid-lowering medications.  

Any Drug interactions? Do antacids affect probiotics?

Some studies suggest that antacids neutralize stomach acid and create a less hospitable environment for probiotics to survive and thrive. This can lead to a decrease in the number of viable probiotic bacteria that reach the intestines, where they can have a positive impact on gut health.

However, there is not enough evidence to suggest antacids can reduce the effectiveness of probiotics.

Moreover, it is totally fine to take probiotics and antacids together as long as you take them in the correct dose and timing. 

The best time to take probiotics alongside antacids

best time to take probiotics

According to research, the survival of probiotics in the GI tract was best when given 30 mins before a meal. And it is best to take antacids with food or soon after eating for optimum results.

So, in my clinical practice, I recommend my patients to take the probiotic 30 mins before meals. And to take the antacids with meals.

Any side effects of the probiotics-antacids combo?

Antacids do not usually have side effects if they’re taken at the recommended dose. But overuse can sometimes cause unwanted side effects. In rare cases, you could experience constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

As for probiotics, they generally have a good safety profile. For more info, you can read the side effects of probiotics here.

Probiotics act as complementary medicines to reduce the side effects of antacid drugs.

The outlook

To sum up, it is safe to take probiotics and antacids together. With the correct use, probiotics alongside antacids may even bring better improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms. As always though, you should speak with your doctor to avoid the possible interactions before taking any supplements. 

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Dr Tun Min is s GP working in NHS UK and writing articles about supplements and vitamins based on personal clinical experience and clinical research.

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