Pros and Cons of Probiotics.
Probiotics are frequently considered a cure-all for digestive problems, but they can have some adverse effects and may not be suitable for all demographics.
Live bacteria called probiotics offer many health advantages when taken orally or topically. These helpful bacteria are frequently considered a panacea for various digestive problems. Most people can take them safely, but getting advice from a doctor or nutritionist is best. Despite the substantial evidence supporting their efficacy, there are some circumstances where taking probiotics may have unfavorable side effects.
Your stomach can indeed become overpopulated with beneficial microorganisms. You may even wind up worsening some of the digestive issues you are attempting to treat if you misuse or take too many probiotics. This post details the top five probiotic side effects, how to take probiotics, and who shouldn’t.
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Before taking probiotic supplements, talk to your doctor. This is especially important if you have an immunodeficiency, are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, have just undergone surgery or an illness, are on antibiotics, or have been instructed to watch your vitamin K intake. Probiotics should not be used to put off seeking medical attention or advice.
How Do Probiotics Work?
A variety of live bacteria and yeasts that, when taken, offer health advantages are together referred to as probiotics.
The digestive tract of our bodies naturally contains bacteria that perform various bodily activities. The gut microbiome may occasionally become harmed by these microbes, so taking probiotic supplements might aid in reestablishing healthy bacteria.
They can also be found in foods like kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut.
Regularly taking probiotic supplements could have a lot of advantages for many people. The health advantages with supporting data include:
Probiotics may improve immunological response.
- A healthy GI tract is crucial for supporting the immune system because between 70 and 80 percent of our immune cells are located there. Probiotics have also been demonstrated to help strengthen your immunity, in addition to the wide variety of healthy meals high in fiber that you can eat to achieve this goal.
- Probiotics can interact with and activate intestinal immune cells to modulate particular immunological activities and immune homeostasis, while research in this field is still in its infancy.
- Probiotics are also thought to activate T-cells, vital infection-fighting cells that protect the body against potentially harmful infections everywhere, including in the gut.
Probiotics assist in balancing healthy bacteria.
- In our stomachs, which are naturally abundant, billions of bacteria perform a variety of tasks, from promoting healthy digestion to preventing infections. Numerous things, including antibiotics and a lousy diet, can cause these bacteria to become impaired, making you more vulnerable to infections and digestive problems.
- Probiotics, along with a healthy diet, may help restore helpful bacteria and prevent the formation of pathogenic bacteria (harmful bacteria) in the colon, thereby boosting your immune system, according to a recent 2021 study.
- Enhancing the harmony of beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome can significantly lower your chances of developing allergies, obesity, digestive disorders, and even some mental health issues.
Probiotics can aid in treating stomach problems.
- While occasional stomach upsets are common, persistent digestive problems can be annoying and frequently require additional medical care.
- Probiotics remain among the most popular GI treatment alternatives due to their widespread availability and affordable price.
- This is understandable, given that studies have shown that specific probiotic strains can aid in preventing and treating digestive disorders such as diarrhea, constipation, IBD, and IBS.
Probiotics’ potential side effects.
Although probiotic supplements have been linked to many health advantages, some people may experience negative side effects. The most typical adverse effects to watch out for are listed below.
Probiotics may cause intestinal problems.
Although most people tolerate probiotics well, mild gas and bloating are some of the most frequently reported short-term adverse effects. Some users, especially those taking probiotics made of yeast, may feel minor constipation and thirst. Although the cause of these side effects is unclear, limited research indicates that it might be due to gut bacteria changes.
Start with a low dose, take every other day, and gradually increase until you reach the maximum dose to avoid these side effects. Your body should have some time to adapt to the new bacteria in your gut after this.
Manifest signs of allergy.
Probiotics may contain components that can trigger an adverse reaction in those with specific allergies or food intolerances. Therefore, they should be used cautiously. It would be best to read the label before taking supplements because the most frequent allergens they could include are eggs, dairy, soy, or gluten.
Since many probiotics (including lactobacillus) are produced from dairy products, they could include trace levels of lactose. For people with minor lactose sensitivity, this might not be a concern, but for others with more severe cases, stomach problems might result.
Prebiotics, or certain types of fibers that probiotics eat, are also in some probiotic formulations. Even with their advantages, some people are susceptible to these fibers, which could lead to excessive gas or bloating.
Trigger pathological skin conditions.
Given that some allergens may be included in probiotics, they may occasionally cause skin rashes or itching, which may usually be cured by stopping dosing. Interestingly, probiotics are also available topically to treat inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea, and acne. However, some individuals with sensitive skin might not respond well to these therapies.
You should stop supplementing immediately and seek additional advice from a dermatologist if you have any breakouts or rashes after using oral or topical probiotics.
Increase the chance of infection.
Probiotics have reportedly been linked to an increased risk of systemic infection in some immunocompromised individuals, albeit this is quite unusual. This is because probiotics contain different bacteria that, despite being advantageous to most individuals, may register as pathogenic in particular populations and elicit an immune response. Nevertheless, most people tolerate probiotic supplementation just fine, making these occurrences unusual.
To reduce the risk of infection, it is best to speak with your doctor before taking a probiotic if you have an immune disease or are recuperating from a severe illness.
Cause bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO)
A small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a disorder that causes GI symptoms such as diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain. Many things can contribute to this, including the improper use of probiotics.
Probiotics are frequently used to treat SIBO, but because they contain vast quantities of different microbes, they risk causing an overgrowth of bacteria in your stomach. As a result, it’s usually recommended to gradually increase the dose after gauging your tolerance with a lesser one.
If you are taking a probiotic and encounter any of the abovementioned problems, stop and seek medical attention immediately.
Who Must Not Consume Probiotics?
Probiotics are typically safe for the majority of individuals. However, some populations should avoid taking them for a variety of reasons. These include those who have recently undergone GI surgery, people who are seriously unwell, and people with immunological disorders.
These groups may still be able to ingest probiotic-containing foods like yogurt, miso, and sourdough bread. Still, since they are much more likely to experience adverse effects, it is recommended to err on caution and avoid probiotics altogether.
Contrary to popular belief, probiotics are usually safe for pregnant women and nursing moms because the bacteria don’t reach the body’s circulatory system. However, you should see your doctor before doing so.
How to safely consume probiotics?
Probiotic supplements are generally safe to take and have no adverse side effects. The best ways to lessen your chance of encountering adverse effects are listed below:
- Begin with a low colony forming unit (CFU) dose.
- Use a probiotic with a broad spectrum that contains a variety of bacteria.
- Buy these from a reliable retailer.
- Take this right before eating.
- Begin by taking every other day, then increase the dosage to daily.
Progressively Positive Effects.
It’s crucial to discuss the benefits of probiotics now that the potential drawbacks have been addressed.
The following significant beneficial results have been reported:
- Elimination of yeast infections
- avoiding urethral infections
- enhancement of eczema and other skin conditions
- improved lactose tolerance
- improve meal absorption
Although many users may report experiencing these beneficial effects, there isn’t much evidence to back them up, so you shouldn’t make them the main emphasis of your probiotic regimen.
Side Effects FAQ for Probiotics
When should probiotics be taken?
Probiotics should be taken anytime, but many medical experts advise taking them before or with meals. Additionally, this is a beautiful approach to lessen any potential adverse effects.
What are the alternatives to Probiotics?
Not everyone should take probiotics, especially if they experience adverse effects. Fortunately, there are numerous more ways to increase the number of good bacteria in your stomach through nutrition. Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kimchi are some of the most popular foods that contain probiotics. A fantastic method to acquire your recommended daily intake of probiotics is to include these in your diet regularly.
What indicates that probiotics are effective?
Probiotics often take one to two weeks for most individuals to start functioning. A few typical indications that your probiotics are functioning include better digestion, increased energy, improved mood, and clearer skin. The way a person reacts to probiotic supplementation will vary.
Is daily probiotic consumption okay?
Although higher-dose products might not need to be taken every day, the majority of probiotic products are safe to consume daily. To ensure optimal dosing, make sure to read the product’s instructions. You might want to alternate doses every other day to prevent any side effects while starting.
Conclusion: Are probiotics the right choice for you?
Probiotics are a class of microbes that can positively affect health when routinely supplemented or consumed through fermented foods. While most individuals handle them without concerns, others may develop SIBO, digestive problems, allergic symptoms, skin disorders, or increased infection risk. Start cautiously with a low dose and gradually raise it until you reach the suggested dose to avoid these side effects as much as possible. Stop taking them immediately and see a doctor if you suffer any of the above-mentioned symptoms. Probiotics should never be used by anyone immunocompromised, unwell, or recovering after major gastrointestinal surgery. Overall, using these dietary supplements is a way to enhance gut health that has the support of science and carries a low risk of adverse consequences.
Get professional help.
Probiotics are one of the natural approaches to well-being. Many believe that probiotics represent a panacea for all gastrointestinal medical conditions. This is a big mistake; in most cases, these dietary supplements should only be an addition to treatment.
The Philadelphia Holistic Clinic uses homeopathic remedies and acupuncture to treat gastrointestinal diseases naturally. We recommend probiotics to some patients only when it is scientifically reasonable and necessary.
If you suffer from gastrointestinal medical conditions and prefer naturopathic, holistic treatment, contact our clinic and schedule an appointment for a holistic evaluation with Dr. Tsan. He will examine you, perform holistic computerized tests, and propose the most customized treatment plan.