Can You Eat Yogurt While Taking Penicillin?

Penicillin, discovered in 1929, has been nicknamed the miracle drug. Penicillin fights bacteria in the body that cause infections, and it does so very efficiently in many cases. However, it can cause unwanted side effects. To help you avoid them, health care professionals might tell you to eat yogurt while taking the drug.

A glass container of yogurt topped berries. (Image: peredniankina/iStock/Getty Images)

Helping Side Effects

Penicillin V is a group of antibiotics. It is composed of five different types: amoxicillin, ampicillin, carbenicillin, dicloxacillin and oxacillin. It is used to treat bacterial infection, and it is very important to finish the complete prescribed amount. While taking penicillin you could experience side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, headaches, white patches inside your mouth or throat, and vaginal itching or discharge. If you frequently have side effects from penicillin, your doctor may tell you to eat yogurt to lessen your symptoms.

Probiotic Effects

You have a certain amount of "good bacteria" living in your body that helps kill other harmful bacteria, yeasts, fungi and parasites, all of which can make you feel ill. Probiotics mimic the beneficial bacteria that are found in the human gut. They are live microorganisms, and are generally a type of bacteria or a yeast. Yogurts can contain these "live cultures," which protect the good bacteria in your body.

Yogurt with Penicillin

Many healthcare providers will tell you to eat yogurt if you are taking an antibiotic, such as penicillin. The purpose of penicillin is to kill bacteria, but it can kill both good and bad. If your yogurt states it contains live or active cultures, eating some daily can decrease the side effects of taking penicillin. The yogurt will protect the good bacteria in your body.

Beneficial Yogurt

Not all yogurt has added benefits. If you are taking penicillin, look for yogurts that contain the good bacteria such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus or Streptococcus thermophilus. If your does not have these types of bacteria, it most likely would not provide the same benefits.

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