How To Reduce Probiotic Side Effects
If you are taking probiotics and experience any of the above side effects, you dont need to stop taking them completely. Lowering the dosage is often the best way to keep any gastrointestinal discomfort or other side effects at bay.
Most often, your body may just need to adjust to the sudden dose of beneficial bacteria. This initial adjustment period should usually only last the first few days as your guts microflora begin to rebalance. Try to reduce your dosage by half until the symptoms have disappeared then proceed to the suggested dose.
Along with reducing your dosage, you should also:
- Take your probiotics on an empty stomach Probiotics can produce gas when combined with certain foods. Taking your probiotics on an empty stomach ensures that that wont happen and ensures the maximum survivability of the beneficial bacteria. Take your probiotics at least 30 minutes before you eat. If you are still experiencing problems, try taking your probiotics on an empty stomach before bed.
- Drink plenty of water Many of the side effects are a result of your digestive system undergoing the process of detoxification. Staying hydrated will speed up the process and keep you from getting dehydrated if you have diarrhea.
- Stay patient It can take up to two weeks for your body to adjust to the probiotics before the benefits kick in.
Increased Risk Of Infection
review from 2017 suggest that children and adults with severe illnesses or compromised immune systems should avoid using probiotics. Some people with these conditions have experienced bacterial or fungal infections as a result of probiotic use.
If a person has a condition that affects their immune system, they should speak with their doctor before taking probiotics.
Also, anyone using antifungal medication should wait until the infection has cleared up before taking probiotics.
Can Probiotics Cause Diarrhoea
It is uncommon but some people may experience an alteration to their regular bowel pattern when they start taking a friendly bacteria supplement. This may involve the stool becoming softer and bowel motility can increase. Rarely, diarrhoea may even be reported. It is unclear why or how this may occur in certain individuals, but it is thought to be due to the disruption caused to the gut microbiome when introducing new bacteria in the form of a probiotic supplement.
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What Are The Risks And Potential Side Effects Of Probiotics
Probiotics are likely safe for most people. Probiotic side effects are generally few, mild and temporary. Side effects are usually digestive in nature, such as gas or bloating. However, probiotics may cause problems for people with certain medical conditions, such as a weakened immune system. They can also trigger allergic reactions in some people and may interfere with certain medicines. Always talk with your doctor before starting a supplement, including probiotics. If a probiotic supplement is not right for you, ask about the safety of eating food sources of live microbes, such as yogurt.
How Long Do Side Effects Of Probiotics Last
As discussed above, it is uncommon for individuals to experience side effects when taking probiotics. Should they occur, the duration of side effects varies between individuals, but they should not be prolonged – just a few days. Consider the following: if symptoms last longer than a few days, if they are severe or if you are concerned that there may be an underlying health issue at play, advise your client to stop taking the probiotic and consult their doctor.
Be aware that probiotics should never cause harmful side effects. Therefore, always advise that they speak to their doctor about any serious or concerning symptoms rather than assuming they are related to the probiotics.
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Bloating And Probiotics Whats The Connection
Probiotic bacteria are active against harmful microorganisms. When someone starts consuming probiotics, harmful microorganisms can start to die producing gas. Fungi can create much gas in the gut. However, gas production does not happen quickly. When the next meal, gas produced from the previous meal is often the cause of feeling bloated.
Yeast is another cause of bloating. In the case of probiotics, go slow. Try a capsule every second day, or dissolve a capsule in a glass of juice and drink slowly during the day.
Bloating or gas from probiotics is harmless, it usually is a good sign. Why?
There Is No Way To Know What Dose You Are Taking
The probiotic supplement market is relatively unregulated, so it’s hard to know how many CFUs we actually are consuming when we take probiotics in pill form. Moreover, it’s difficult to know if the organisms in those probiotics are even still alive and capable of doing their job, or if they’re dead and useless. Even if the bacteria are alive, there’s a question about whether they can survive once inside your gut.
If you are getting your probiotics from foods like store-bought yogurt, there are also very few ways to be sure that you are consuming a significant dose of good bacteria. The conditions that the yogurt is stored in down the supply-chain, the temperature of your refrigerator, and the strain of probiotic that the yogurt contains all have a significant effect on the dosage of CFU. Many of the beneficial microbes could have perished before you consume the yogurt.
Taking Excess Probiotics Can Cause Mild Discomfort
Taking more than a usual dose 1 to 10 billion colony forming units of probiotics doesn’t necessarily mean better results and, instead, might provoke some mildly uncomfortable side effects.
“Some research has shown that using more bacteria may, in fact, counteract . If the bacteria get to the food before us, they can turn it into gas,” says Farhadi. On top of excess gas, you might experience bloating or a generally upset stomach. Diarrhea can also occur, but that’s about as bad as it gets.
Side effects, most commonly gas, may also occur when someone first starts taking probiotics, as their gut may experience some changes in bacteria levels. Usually, though, if someone is taking an average dose, these side effects should wear off soon, once the body adjusts.
When Should I Talk To A Doctor
If you have consistent stomach pain, talk to your doctor about it. “Probiotics can definitely help ease symptoms of stomach issues like diarrhea and cramping,” Dr. Sonpal told POPSUGAR. “However, probiotic supplements should not replace going to a medical professional for intense abdominal pain or daily stomach problems. If you feel your daily life is being negatively affected by your stomach, it is advised to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist for a diagnosis and treatment plan.”
I’m now taking five billion CFUs of probiotics a day, which helped my stomach feel much better after only a week. This change drastically improved my quality of life, as I was able to enjoy meals and daily activities again. If you think you’re taking too high of a dose of probiotics, stop and talk to your doctor. You don’t have to live with dreadful stomach pain!
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What Medications Can Cause Ibs Symptoms
There are a few medications that we recommend taking a second look at, but please do not make any changes to medications without first consulting your doctor.
What is amazing is that the symptoms that your physician gave you a medication for might actually be part of the root cause of your IBS. For example, if your stomach acid is too low, youre at greater risk of heartburn. But if your doctor prescribes an antacid medication, your symptoms might worsen in the long run because we need to have acid in our stomachs for proper digestion.
This is one common example we see of physicians treating symptoms vs. getting down to root causes.
Are you taking any of the following medications?
Could You Benefit From A Probiotic Supplement
While there are several potential benefits of probiotics, its important to get educated before you increase your probiotic intake.
When you go to the grocery store, youre likely to see a number of items containing probiotics, these friendly microorganisms that are most commonly bacteria and sometimes a type of yeast.
And thanks to their popularity, you can find everything from probiotic smoothies, chocolate, and granola bars to probiotic supplements and powders.
Though theyve become more prominent over the last two decades, Probiotics have actually been consumed by humans in one form or another for more than 100 years, says Susan Lucak, MD, a gastroenterologist in New York City and a special lecturer at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University.
The two most common types of probiotics found on the market are species of good bacteria called Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. While their manufacturers claim that probiotics have a number of overall and digestive health benefits, supplement dosing and the included strains vary widely, and not everyone needs one.
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Probiotics Are Good Bacteria
Your body is home to billions of organisms like bacteria, fungi and yeasts. Most of these organisms are harmless and many help your body work properly they form whats called the human microbiome.
Probiotics are some of the helpful good bacteria that make up your microbiome, explains Dr. Drass. They come in supplement form, but they also occur naturally in certain foods.
These fermented and aged foods are packed with probiotics:
Your kids likely get most of their probiotic intake from yogurt.
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.
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Taking Probiotics Can Cause Some Very Unpleasant Side Effects
Next time, just have a yogurt. Romariolen/Shutterstock
Your gut microbiome the large community of microorganisms that make their home in your colon can have all sorts of impacts on your body, both physical and mental. Many people take probiotic supplements to increase the amount of friendly or good bacteria in their guts. But theres a catch a new study has found that taking probiotic supplements can cause some pretty unpleasant side effects.
The new research published in Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology found that those who take probiotics can suffer side effects like stomach pains, bloating, gas, and even mental fogginess. This is all because the good bacteria expand their territory and colonize the small intestine and stomach, not just the colon.
Lead author Dr Satish Rao was inspired to carry out the research by a patient who, within just a minute of eating, would be affected by severe bloating and brain fogginess.
It happened right in front of our eyes, Rao said in a statement.
After conducting some tests, Rao found she had very high levels of D-lactic acid in her blood and urine, and that she regularly took probiotics and ate lots of yogurt.
D-lactic acid is temporarily toxic to the cells in our brains, and can affect our ability to think properly. How is it produced? Probiotic bacteria release it as a product of fermentation when theyre breaking down sugar in our guts.
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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Is The Cfu Count Too High
Another consideration is the CFU count.
CFU stands for Colony Forming Units an indicator of the number of live and viable bacteria in each dose of a probiotic food or product.
Probiotic supplements are not recognized as a drug, so there’s no standardized dose, and the dosage range can vary between brands.
An effective dose is a minimum of one Billion CFU’s.
One Billion CFU’s per dose may sound a lot, but as your gut microbiota is home to multi-trillions of bacteria, a billion CFU is the lower end of the scale.
However, if you’re taking a supplement with a CFU count of 100 billion per dose and you’re experiencing side effects, that dose is probably too high.
As a general rule, take between 10 to 30 billion CFU’s per day.
Again, start at the lower end of this range and gradually increase the dose over the next couple of weeks.
Use Probiotics To Your Benefit
By now you should be more aware of the potential side effects of overdosing on probiotics and how to eliminate or minimize those side effects. If you continue to have discomfort while taking probiotics, I recommend you stop taking that particular brand.
Because of the differences in dose, diversity, and delivery mechanisms, not all probiotics are created equal. One probiotic will not have the same benefits or side effects as another.
For example, a probiotic using one strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus may help your digestive health, but another using a different Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain may not have the same effect. It may take some experimenting to determine the right brand for you.
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Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.
Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:
- Developing an infection.
- Developing a resistance to antibiotics.
- Developing harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.
Can I Take Or Eat Something To Increase The Good Probiotics In My Body
You can increase the amount of good microbes in your body through foods, drinks and supplements. You may already have certain foods in your daily diet that contain probiotics. Fermented foods in particular are home to a host of good bacteria that benefit your body. There are also fermented drinks like kombucha or kefir that introduce extra probiotics into your diet.
Apart from food, you can add probiotics to your diet through dietary supplements. These arent drugs, so they do not need to be approved by the Federal Drug Administration . Its important that you always talk to your healthcare provider before starting any kind of supplement or major change to your diet.
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Expert Tips For Choosing Probiotics
Probiotics come in two forms: live cultures such as in yogurt or in a dormant form, such as those found in capsules. If you want to try probiotics, here are tips to help you choose.
One advantage to probiotics in food is that they may also contain other beneficial ingredients, such as dietary fiber, which also promotes digestive health. But most experts agree that its a matter of preference whether you consume probiotics in your diet or as supplements.
Watch the expiration date. Because probiotics are living organisms, the amount placed in the container or capsule when it was manufactured may not be the same as when you consume the product. You must use these products before the expiration date to be sure the probiotic is still effective.
Play detective. If your doctor recommends a specific species and strain of probiotic, be aware that you may have a difficult time finding it. Many manufacturers dont tell you exactly which strain is in their product they only list the species . If youre looking for a specific strain of probiotic and its not listed on the label, call the manufacturer and ask. This information might also be on the companys website.
Buyer beware. To avoid being scammed, dont order products online unless you know and can trust the site. Keep in mind that the price of probiotics can vary tremendously, and a higher cost doesnt necessarily mean the products are of higher quality.
Additional reporting by Erica Patino
Probiotics: Who Shouldnt Take Them
Some people find that taking probiotics causes symptoms like gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort. For most people, these symptoms are temporary however, side effects are more likely in those who are very young or elderly and those who have less robust immune systems or a damaged immune system, such as those with HIV or a terminal illness. Indeed, probiotics might not be good for people who are already extremely ill.
A general concern is that probiotics are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration , Lucak says. Instead, they are classified as a food supplement, so the health claims of the manufacturers are not subject to verification and may not be accurate. As a result, evidence also suggests that the strains and concentration per dose can be inaccurate from company to company and even from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
Keep in mind that the effects of one strain of probiotics do not necessarily hold true for other strains or even for different preparations of the same species or strain. If you do experience gas and bloating from one type of probiotic, you can try switching to a different kind to see whether it agrees more with your digestive system.
Because the quality and quantity of probiotics is not regulated by the FDA, it is difficult to accurately assess the effectiveness of one formulation against another, Lucak says.
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