bp's science: antibiotics and absorption rates

I recently read an article outlining the fact that if we don't start using antibiotics more responsibly, we could be in real trouble.  Coming off a round of antibiotics myself, I became even more aware of properly using these miracle medicines.  The antibiotic I was prescribed was to be taken without food.  I was kind of shocked at that fact.  I've always taken all medicines with food, but now I was being told otherwise.

It turns out that some antibiotics are better absorbed into your body when you haven't eaten (two hours after you've eaten and at least one hour before you plan to eat).  These antibiotics can bind with the nutrients in certain foods thereby stunting absorption OR nutrients can make it harder for the intestine to metabolize the antibiotic.  Other antibiotics are absorbed easier when accompanied by food.  And then there are some that can be taken at any time and are in no way affected by stomach acid.  Sounds like we need a microbiology class to understand all the interactions, but we get the gist.  And it should be emphasized that if not enough antibiotic is absorbed by the body, the possibility of a continued infection exists.  And, well, no one wants that.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in bp's science are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any individual scientist, scientific association or the scientific community as a whole. The scientific information provided on bp's science is, at best, of a general nature and cannot substitute for the advice of a licensed or trained scientist, i.e., a competent authority with specialized knowledge who can apply it to a particular set of facts and circumstances. Please contact a local scientific society or similar association of scientists in your area if you require a referral for a particular scientific question or experiment.  Neither the author of bp's science nor anyone else connected to this blog can take any responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt any of the information or disinformation presented on this blog.


jo said...

fascinating. I hope your illness wasn't too bad and that you are feeling better. a microbiology class sounds fun! how nerdy is that? :)

jo said...

Also, I have a question for you. My pediatrician said not to give an iron supplement with milk due to a decrease in absorption. Why is that? Do you happen to know?

ash said...

Jo, my guess is that it has to do with calcium in milk. The calcium binds with the iron supplement which decreases the absorption of it into the body. Since calcium is Ca2+ and iron comes in two charges Fe2+ and Fe3+, I bet the calcium takes place of the iron (in this case Fe2+) in the iron supplement molecule thereby decreasing the intake of iron.