Probiotics and antibiotics are both useful medicinal tools to fight off illnesses and improve health. Antibiotics fight off bacterial infections while probiotics repopulate helpful bacteria in the body. Looking at the etymology of both words, anti means ‘against’, pro ‘means’ for and bio means ‘life’. We can easily draw an idea of how it functions.
What is the role of antibiotics in modern medicine?
Has your doctor ever told you to always take and finish a course of antibiotics as prescribed? This is because not taking the full dose can make the rest of the bacteria antibiotic-resistant and may not help you combat the illness in the future.
While killing the “bad” bacteria, antibiotics also tend to kill the “good” bacteria. With that, that decrease in the “good” bacteria may cause digestive problems such as stomach cramps, gas and such. It may also interfere in vaginal health (for women) and urinary tract (for women and men).
This is where Probiotics come in. Probiotics has the ability to replace the lost “good” bacteria, ensuring a healthy level of beneficial bacteria in your system.
What are Probiotics and what does it do to the body?
Probiotics are live microorganisms that aid the body to produce more friendly bacteria in the stomach and intestines. These good bacteria restore digestive balance which might have been damaged by lifestyle and environmental causes. A healthy digestive system allows better absorption of the nutrients we need. Probiotics are found is several supplements as well as food sources such as yogurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, and soft cheeses. The full range of benefits of probiotics is still inconclusive.
However, it is already being used to help treat medical conditions such as urinary tract infection, vaginal infections, stomach infections, respiratory diseases, skin diseases, and bowel diseases. Researchers are now looking into the possibility of using probiotics in slowing down the growth rate of certain cancers. Probiotic supplements and foods can be effective in keeping the body healthy and treating illnesses but it is always important to know that there are certain cases when using probiotics are not enough to fight off pathogens.
Which one is good for the body?
This question can be very tricky and can only be answered conclusively by knowing the specific needs of your body.
There may be those with certain conditions that are too grave that antibiotics can be the only option to save their lives. However, there might also be certain instances wherein choosing antibiotics will only make pathogens antibiotic-resistant and thus, reject the supposed cure that antibiotics are meant to do.
On the other hand, probiotics are indeed good for the body as it fosters an almost natural and rhythmic way for the body, especially the digestive system, to act accordingly. By that, it helps the body fight off pathogens not by killing the pathogens but by strengthening the immune system and repopulating the good bacteria. Comparably, antibiotics can have drastic effects which can either save one’s life or reduce the efficiency of the digestive system while probiotics may improve the gut after a sustained period of time.
It would be bad judgment to choose one as superior over the other in totality. Relying solely on probiotics if your body badly needs antibiotic would be fatal. On the other hand, the opposite can be also true that relying only on antibiotic can be very unfavorable for the body’s health as there are also arguably a number of minor bacterial infections that can be cured naturally without the help of antibiotic. Both antibiotic and probiotic have their respective uses that vary from each other. It is vital to know when to use which and the exact dosages that will not be detrimental to the health.
Chancellor, R. (2015). Difference Between Probiotic & Antibiotic | LIVESTRONG.COM. [online] LIVESTRONG.COM. Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/449440-difference-between-probiotic-antibiotic/ [Accessed 5 May 2016].
Medtech.edu. (2016). What is the Difference Between Probiotics Vs. Antibotics. [online] Available at: http://www.medtech.edu/?q=blog/probiotics-vs-antibiotics [Accessed 5 May 2016].
Ion.ac.uk. (2016). PROBIOTICS VS ANTIBIOTICS | Institute for Optimum Nutrition. [online] Available at: http://www.ion.ac.uk/information/onarchives/proanti [Accessed 5 May 2016].
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