Some Strains Can Increase Histamine Levels
Some bacterial strains used in probiotic supplements can produce histamine inside the digestive tract of humans .
Histamine is a molecule that is normally produced by your immune system when it detects a threat.
When histamine levels rise, blood vessels dilate to bring more blood to the affected area. The vessels also become more permeable so that immune cells can easily get into the relevant tissue to combat any pathogens .
This process creates redness and swelling in the affected area, and can also trigger allergy symptoms such as itching, watery eyes, runny nose or trouble breathing.
Normally, histamine that is produced in your digestive tract is naturally degraded by an enzyme called diamine oxidase . This enzyme inhibits histamine levels from rising enough to cause symptoms .
However, some people with histamine intolerance have trouble properly breaking down the histamine in their bodies, seeing as they do not produce enough DAO .
The excess histamine is then absorbed through the lining of the intestinal tract and into the bloodstream, causing symptoms similar to an allergic reaction (
Theoretically, they may want to select probiotic supplements that do not contain histamine-producing bacteria, but to date, there has been no research on this specific area.
Some histamine-producing probiotic strains include Lactobacillus buchneri, Lactobacillus helveticus, Lactobacillus hilgardii and Streptococcus thermophilus .
Is There A Way To Make Sure Youre Getting The Most Out Of Your Supplementation
The best probiotic supplements contain live cultures, as well as enzymes, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other plant-based ingredients.
These are usually found in combination forms, with one or more of each of the ingredients being the primary ingredients of the supplement.
For example, a supplement that contains live lactobacillus acidophilus cultures will likely also contain fats, proteins, and other nutrients that will help your body use probiotics effectively.
When used in combination, the combination of ingredients can make sure youre getting all the benefits they list on their labels.
Different types of bacteria inhabit our bodies at different times. For instance, some bacteria are at rest, in the digestive tract.
Probiotics exist in the digestive tract in small amounts, but when probiotics are properly introduced into the body, they can make it easier for these bacteria to inhabit your system.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most beneficial species of bacteria that can be found in the body, so introducing it into your daily diet is necessary.
Acidophilus can also help keep the good bacteria levels in your gut high.
Bifidobacterium is another species often found in the intestines and can play an important role in the prevention of many health problems.
In order to give yourself the best chance at keeping your system healthy and working properly, take a look at the ingredients listed on any probiotic supplement you are considering.
Why Do Probiotics Make Me Sick
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What Should You Do If Probiotics Arent Working
Read the label: If you experience minor side effects like bloating, nausea or gas, check the ingredients to see whether the label contains any ingredients you might be allergic to. Many probiotics contain lactose, which can irritate the gut, especially in adults. This is also important for people who are lactose intolerant or vegan.
Try a different brand: Probiotics vary widely in quality and composition. Perhaps the probiotic you are taking just isnt strong enough or doesnt contain the specific strains to make you feel better. Consider looking for a high quality, multispecies and multistrain probiotic that fits your needs.
Seek out a qualified healthcare practitioner: If youve tried several probiotics and none are working, it might be time to seek out a healthcare practitioner with expertise in gut health to help you get to the root cause of your symptoms.
A Recent Study Shows A Surprising Link Between Probiotics And Brain Fog
Probiotics have become a common way to treat conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, and various formulations even have decent medical data in their favor. However, some patients take probiotics and feel even worse. Symptoms can include cramping, gassiness, diarrhea, fatigue, and even brain fog or memory problems. Often these symptoms intensify just after a meal. Recently, a group of researchers in Augusta, Georgia made an attempt to try to figure out what was going on. The study is open access, so take a look.
They followed a group of patients who presented to their GI clinic of a period of three years. Anyone who came in with gas, bloating, and a complaint of brain fog were included in the study. All people on antibiotics, those with a history of short gut after colon surgery, or those with other reasons for gassiness or abdominal pain were excluded. A few patients who didn’t have brain fog but had abdominal symptoms were included for comparison. The researchers were left with a cohort of about 42 patients with abdominal bloating, 34 with bloating and brain fog, and no known reason why. The cognitive symptoms usually lasted between 30 minutes to several hours after a meal, and in 13% were so severe that the patients had quit their jobs.
In a few weeks, I’ll be attending the Harvard Probiotics Symposium, and I’ll be sure to get back to you with the latest developments, strides forward, disappointments, and surprises.
Copyright Emily Deans MD
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Should Children Eat Probiotic Foods
Some studies suggest that probiotics may be good for children. One study found that children who were given probiotics every day for 3 months were less likely to have respiratory problems and diarrhea than children who were given a placebo.
And while more research is needed, probiotics may reduce childrens risk of developing certain conditions like autoimmune diseases, allergies and asthma.
On the other hand, some researchers note that probiotics may not have much effect on children. Because their microbiome isnt fully developed, probiotics may simply be passed as normal waste.
Probiotics are considered safe for kids with some exceptions, notes Dr. Drass. You should avoid giving your child probiotics if they have a compromised immune system or cancer, or if they are a premature infant. In these cases, probiotics can put them at risk for infections.
In general, its better for kids to get probiotics through foods instead of supplements unless their pediatrician recommends otherwise. Talk to your childs doctor if youre thinking about using probiotics to help your childs digestion because keeping your child safe and healthy is their prime concern.
The Benefits Of Probiotics
There is a lot of research happening in the world of probiotics, but even so, researchers dont fully understand all of the health benefits of having healthy gut flora. The body and the symbiotic relationship that it has with the microorganisms that call it home are complicated, but there is evidence that probiotics may help alleviate or prevent several health conditions as well as boost our overall health.
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What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Probiotics
Again, Probiotics are just the same as the naturally occurring bacteria inside your digestive system. and the incidence of side effects is rare and usually of benign nature.
Possible side effects include:
- Initial Gas and bloating: the most reported side effect of probiotics is gas and bloating in the first few days of taking a new probiotic.Usually, the condition is self-limiting.
- Diarrhea or constipation: some people experience changes in bowel habits after taking a new probiotic.
- Others: such as allergic skin reactions, headaches.
- Serious adverse reactions are extremely rare and limited to people with non-competent immune systems. It includes serious allergic reactions to the probiotics or one of its capsule constituents and an increased risk of infections when bacteria can enter the bloodstream.
How Safe Are Probiotics
Because microbes used as probiotics already exist naturally in your body, probiotic foods and supplements are generally considered safe. They may trigger allergic reactions, and may also cause mild stomach upset, diarrhea, or flatulence and bloating for the first few days after starting to take them.
There are certain people who need to use caution when using probiotic supplements. There is a risk of infection in some people. These people include those who have:
- A weakened immune system .
- A critical illness.
Caution should also be used when giving probiotics to very sick infants.
Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement.
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Probiotics For Travellers Diarrhoea
Whether you’re going away to a familiar destination, returning home to see family or backpacking to distant lands to explore uncharted territory, holidays are invariably a memorable experience. However, sometimes these new experiences can also produce some nasty and uncomfortable stomach-related side effects.
Saccharomyces boulardii has also been extensively clinically researched6 for travellers diarrhoea and found to support gut health in those that travel abroad to exotic locations. S. boulardii, as mentioned above, works differently from other probiotics specifically because of its unique transient qualities. This means that it can pass through the system without binding to the gut wall. It works by adhering itself to harmful bacteria and gently removing those unwelcome pathogens from the system.
When travelling abroad, it is a good idea to also take other types of probiotics alongside Saccharomyces boulardii to give an extra level of protection to the gut, and to battle bad bacteria and other nasties in two ways. Live cultures, like L. acidophilus and L. rhamnosus possess qualities that enable them to line the interior of the gut wall, creating a physical barrier and fortifying the gut’s natural defences. They also create a gut environment which discourages the growth of pathogens so can be a particular aid against contracting upset stomachs in countries where tummy troubles are a common issue for travellers.
Can Probiotics Hurt Me
For most healthy people, probiotics dont cause any harm. They are generally considered safe and are often given a try to see if they could help with various medical conditions. Theres a lot of research around the topic of probiotics. Scientists are trying to determine when and how they should be used, as well as how effective they are. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement because there are some cases where you shouldnt be taking them. Its always best to have the conversation first before starting a new supplement.
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Do I Need To Take Probiotics After I Take Antibiotics
Antibiotic medications are often needed to fight an infection. However, while antibiotics are killing the bad bacteria, they are also knocking out the good bacteria in your body. Some people develop conditions like diarrhea after taking an antibiotic. In other people, this may allow for really bad bacteria to take over and populate the gut, such as with C. diff. Some research has shown a positive connection between taking probiotics after an antibiotic and relief from diarrhea. This hasnt been proven yet and doesnt work for everyone.
The thought behind adding probiotics back into your body after taking an antibiotic is that it can repopulate the good bacteria that was destroyed by the antibiotics and re-boot your system. The extra good bacteria helps repopulate your gut and fight off any remaining bad bacteria. Many people feel that adding in probiotics wont hurt, might help you feel better a little faster and prevent diarrhea.
Do Probiotics Really Expire
Probiotic manufacturers are required by law to indicate expiry dates on their products labels. But this does not always mean that probiotics cease to be effective after that date.
Sometimes, the microorganisms in your supplement die even before the indicated date. Other times, their shelf-life extends way beyond the expiry date shown on the label. Their viability is determined by various factors.
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Negative Side Effects Of Probiotics
The negative side effects of probiotics usually originate in the gastrointestinal tract.
You can find the most common list of probiotic side effects including what to do about them here:
- Nausea -> This is usually caused by the production of stomach acid related to taking your probiotics. To reduce the incidence of nausea simply take your probiotics with a meal.
- Constipation-> Occasionally certain bacterial species may actually worsen constipation. This is felt to occur in patients who have a condition known as SIBO.
- Abdominal pain -> If you experience abdominal pain after taking probiotics it is most likely related to gas or bloating . Occasionally you might experience some abdominal pain or cramping due to an increase in stomach acid as well which causes “indigestion”.
- *Increased gas or bloating -> Certain probiotics may cause gas and bloating in patients who have existing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. This symptom is related to the production of gas from existing bacteria in your gut. SIBO is a fairly common condition and may account for the majority of negative side effects related to taking certain probiotics. If you have SIBO you can avoid these symptoms by taking a soil based organism.
- Rashes, itching or hives -> Usually related to poor quality ingredients, inactive binders or due to the specific formulation of the probiotic . This symptom usually fades when you switch to high-quality probiotics that don’t contain low-quality fillers/binders.
Do Probiotics Make You Sick
Thats a question a lot of people ask every day. Probiotics are good bacteria that live in our large intestines and help to keep them healthy by producing a myriad of different strains.
These strains are essential for our overall health, but sometimes things can get out of whack and our bacteria can become imbalanced, resulting in sickness.
If youre looking for a supplement to take, then one question you might be asking yourself is can probiotics make you sick? The short answer to this question is: only if youre taking the wrong strain.
For example, some people will get sick when taking a probiotic supplement that has been contaminated with a pathogen.
Its often possible to trace the source of the contamination, and then make an educated decision about whether or not the supplement is okay to take. But sometimes its not so easy.
If youre worried about being sick, do some research and find out whether or not a probiotic is right for you.
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Here Are 4 Reasons Why Probiotics Make You Feel Sick:
1. Not all formulas are created equal.
Probiotics and gut bacteria belong in the colon, not the stomach or small intestine. Unfortunately, digestive distress may occur if the majority of these bacteria get stuck up top .
Upwards of 90% of probiotics in the form of lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria probiotic strains on shelves do not contain the probiotics they claim on their label. Why? Many of these formulas cannot withstand gastric acid, demonstrating a reduction of over 100 colony units within 5 minutes .
However, when probiotics are encapsulated for site-specific delivery into the distal parts of the gut , up to 90% of the probiotics are still alive after two hours of stomach acid exposure, and remain in tact up to 75% by the time they make it to where they should be.
2. Digestive distress, brain fog & bloating can happen if you have SIBO, Dysbiosis or yeast overgrowth.
A news headline from a 2018 study tried to debunk the benefits of probiotics, stating: Probiotic use can result in a significant accumulation of bacteria in the small intestine that can result in disorienting brain fogginess as well as rapid, significant belly bloating. Why? The subjects who reported these symptoms also had SIBO and high D-Lactate levelshigh amounts of lactic acid forming bacteria alreadythe most common strains in commercial probiotics .
3. Theres no one-size-fits-all approach.
4. Probiotics are essential to pair with pre-biotics.
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
The small and large intestines usually contain different types of bacteria. SIBO occurs when bacteria from the large intestine start growing in the small intestine.
The large intestine predominantly contains anaerobic bacteria, which do not require oxygen and live by fermenting indigestible carbohydrates from plant-based foods as they pass through the gut.
Symptoms of SIBO are similar to those of IBS, including gas, bloating, and diarrhea. SIBO can also cause brain fogginess and short-term memory problems.
Not everyone with IBS has SIBO, but the overgrowth is more common in people with IBS. SIBO also frequently develops in older females.
Experts do not fully understand what causes the overgrowth, but it may result from reduced gut motility, which slows the passage of food through the gut. This can cause fermentable carbohydrates to remain in the small intestine for longer.
Results of a indicate a possible link between SIBO and probiotic supplementation in people with brain fogginess. The researchers found that symptoms improved when participants stopped taking probiotics and started taking antibiotics.
Anyone with SIBO symptoms should consult a doctor.
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Probiotics: Do The Benefits Outweigh The Side Effects
If youre taking probiotics, its always smart to evaluate whether the benefits of supplementation outweigh side effects and/or unwanted reactions. Unless you have a medical condition or are using a substance that could interact with your probiotic , youre unlikely to experience side effects or adverse reactions. A majority of probiotic users will experience some benefit without any side effects especially if theyve been using for a sufficient duration for their body to adapt to the supplement .
Obviously, those who are deriving significant or even slight benefit from probiotic administration will want to continue supplementing. On the other hand, a subset of probiotic users might experience zero side effects, but also no significant benefit from supplementation. They may continue taking their probiotic assuming that its healthy, but in their subjective experience, nothing has changed to improve GI function or health.
If you happen to be an individual who takes a probiotic without noticing any benefit, you may want to test a different bacterial species and/or manufacturer. No beneficial effects nor side effects may indicate that the probiotic youre using is being degraded by stomach acid before the CFUs have a chance to populate your GI tract. Then again, if youve tested a bunch of probiotics without noticing any significant benefit, it doesnt make much sense to continue spending money on supplements for regular usage you may want to discontinue.