Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Probiotics, Cystic Fibrosis and Antibiotics

My boys have been on Probiotics before the CF world was even recommending them. We would get this sour face from the CF clinic about the boys taking them. But then a year later, the nutritionist, at our prior clinic, sat down with us to tell us all the wonderful things that probiotics can do for our boys. DUH....

So first off, what are probiotics? Probiotics are the healthy bacteria inside your gut. They protect the digestive system from bad bacteria, in essence helping out the immune system and aiding in the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients. Along with other places, they are found in fermented dairy (yogurt and kefir) and fermented soy products.

The use of probiotics while on antibiotics is becoming common practice these days, as antibiotics are known to kill ALL bacteria in the body, not only the bad bacteria.
If you are taking probiotics simply because you are on antibiotics...the recommendations are to take the probiotics at least 3-4 hours before or after the antibiotic. This will prevent the antibiotic from killing the probiotic. Also take the probiotic 1-2 weeks after you are done with the antibiotic.

Some research has been done on the effects of the probiotic Lactobacillus GG and Cystic Fibrosis. There are some promising results of this probiotic decreasing not only intestinal inflammation but also pulmonary inflammation.

On a personal note, I have found that the boys do great with Lactobacillus GG when they are on antibiotics, but they do much better with a variety of probiotics on a daily basis. For people in the non-CF world, many CFers struggle greatly in the area of poop (yes, I just said poop on my blog, get over it:) When my boys are on a variety of probiotics their struggles diminish greatly!!!!

Supplementation of probiotics....UGH...this is where it gets difficult!!! I had to play it by ear basically, as there is not much documentation on appropriate dosages.
There is a powder form available for infants, both my boys started out getting this powder added into a little yogurt. We started out with the recommended dosage and kept upping it until we noticed their poops started looking pretty normal.
They have yummy chewables for the kids, which are usually between 1-3 billion units. It seemed to us that the 1 billion didn't do much for the boys, so we quickly upped it. At this point my almost 3 year old is on 11 billion units and my 6 year old is on 15 billion units. We spread out their dosage throughout the day (not sure if that is necessary, but it works for us.)
I would definitely look at the companies that are selling the products. Not all companies are truthful about the contents and amounts of such things.
I would recommend putting your probiotics in the freezer (if you don't have enough room, at least in the frig.) as we are dealing with live cultures and warmth can kill them.

If you would like to know the products we use, just let me know. I am not up for advertising just yet on this big world wide web:)

HUGE HUGE HUGE DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, just a mom finding what works best for her boys. Please consult a physcian before making any changes to your medical care.


  1. Would you mind sharing with me the probiotics you use for your sons? My husband is 32 w/CF and is having lots of digestive issues. He uses Tree Lac and Glutagenics right now for his gut, but I'm afraid he isn't getting enough probiotics. He just got off a 3 week round of IV's and is having pretty constant diarrhea. Thanks for your help! My name is Emily and my email is!

  2. I have a 4yr. old daughter with CF, she coughs mostly at night when we all are trying to sleep. What brands do you recommend for probiotics for children? I know you're not a Dr. but I just wonder since I'm not using anything yet.

  3. We also have two boys with CF (4 yrs and 21 months). I really appreciate your blog and I'm guessing my wife will as well. We struggled with the decision to try for a second child knowing we had a 25% chance of CF. After much prayer, I felt a since of peace about it. We conceived really fast and ended up with twin with CF and one without.

    Do you mind sharing what brand of probiotics you use?

  4. Hello David,
    For now, we are using Vitacost brand probiotics, as they are most affordable for us now.
    But I would highly recommend Garden of Life probiotics. This website has some great info!!!
    I know the primal defense ULTRA is 5 billion units a pill and the Primal Kids is 4 billions units for 1/4 teaspoon. Since the boys take now 30 billion units daily, that would be a lot of product. But perhaps they wouldn't need as much, since it is so potent???
    The Garden of Life products are also available on Vitacost. If you have never shopped there, it is awesome. If you choose to purchase something, follow this link and get $10 off
    I am on facebook as Melissa McRoy Meyer, if you would like to discuss more. Its nice to have someone to compare ideas with especially with 2 CFers!!