Does milk affect antibiotics?

In this brief article we will answer the questions does milk affect antibiotics, how it affects antibiotics and what is antibiotic resistance

Does milk affect antibiotics?

Yes, milk and other dairy products like yogurt and cheese have an effect on antibiotics. Don’t take an antibiotic with milk and wait for three hours to drink milk after taking an antibiotic

What are Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are medicinal drugs known for their effect on bacteria. Antibiotics destroy or slow down the growth of these microbes. These drugs are powerful and are used to cure many diseases caused by bacteria. But antibiotics don’t work against viruses that cause cold, flu and coughs.

Mechanism of antibiotic:

Antibiotics work to eradicate the danger of bacteria in our body. They might kill the organism, inhibit the regulation of enzymes of bacterial cells, stop the biosynthesis of nuclear membranes of bacteria and stop the protein synthesis.

What food you can take antibiotics with:

Generally, antibiotics are consumed with plain water and swallowed as it is. Some people also take them with fruit juices. Even though the acidity might affect the absorption of antibiotics in the body. Some antibiotics are also prescribed to be taken with food or before a meal.

Antibiotics are always prescribed to be taken at the same time of day, after meals or before meals. Some antibiotics may need to be taken three times a day, one way to schedule the timing is in relation to your meal timing. Three liquids other than water, with which you can’t take antibiotics with are:

  1. Milk and other dairy products
  2. Juices like grape juices
  3. Alcohols or other beverages

Effects of food nutrients on antibiotics:

Antibiotics work in a way that they get absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and seeps into the bloodstream from there. Many elements affect the proper functioning of antibiotic through the way, some of them being:

Acidity of stomach:

Stomach digests the food by breaking it down with the help of hydrochloric acid. This acid in the stomach sometimes increases in level when you are sick. If the acidity is too much or too low for antibiotics, it will not function properly.

Antibiotics depend on the absorption in the stomach for them to reach blood vessels. If they won’t reach blood vessels they will not reach the infected area. To avoid that it is better to take antibiotics that function properly relative to stomach’s acidity

Effect of milk:

Milk is a rich food with fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals in it, one of the minerals present in large amount is calcium. The presence of certain nutrients in the stomach affects the functioning of antibiotics; Calcium is one of those nutrients.

Calcium and fats have a tendency to bind with antibiotics and this stops the antibiotic from entering the blood vessel. Calcium is a common mineral in milk and other dairy products too. The class of antibiotics called tetracycline has a special affinity for antibiotics.

The bonding of antibiotics with calcium results in the digestion of antibiotics along with food. This results in wastage of an antibiotic as the bonding stops the antibiotic from proper functioning. So it is suggested to drink milk or eat other dairy products three hours after a meal.

Other FAQs about Milk which you may be interested in.

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Antibiotic resistance:

Antibiotics work by killing or stopping the growth of bacteria, but they don’t always work right away. When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics they go in a temporary dormant state, the constant exposure of antibiotics kills it or inhibits its growth. That’s why it is recommended to complete the course of antibiotic always.

Bacteria have a way to resist antibiotics by going into a spore formation period. If they are not constantly exposed to antibiotics or you miss your dose the bacteria will get a chance to grow resistance against these antibiotics.

Doctors also tend to change the antibiotic after a while, it is because the bacteria grow resistant to the same type of antibiotics. They understand the mechanics of antibiotics and may also become stronger than the antibiotic next time.

Antibiotic resistance is a significant issue and many scientists are working on eradicating it. There is no perfect solution but to change antibiotics time to time if you use them permanently. Another way to avoid bacterial resistance to antibiotics is by completing the course as advised by doctor

Antibiotics with other medications:

Antibiotics have a tendency to make bonds with nutrients and other medicines. If you want to take antibiotics with another medicine it is better to discuss it with your doctor or physician. If antibiotics interact with blood thinners aka antacids that might affect your health a lot. It is better to avoid doing that

Antibiotics also affect the functioning of birth control pills and make them less effective. If you are on contraceptives it is better to avoid consuming antibiotics with them. You can ae antibiotic with some supplements but ask your doctor before doing that.


In this brief article we have answered the questions does milk affect antibiotics, how it affects antibiotics and what is antibiotic resistance