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Could Probiotics Make You Sick

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Should I Give Probiotics To My Kids

Are Probiotics Good for You? | Earth Lab

Probiotics can be beneficial for both adults and kids. If your child has an illness that requires an antibiotic medication for treatment, taking a probiotic can help shorten symptoms. Probiotics can also be used to help relieve constipation, acid reflux, diarrhea, gas and eczema in children.

Introducing probiotics into your childs diet through food is typically a safe way to give them probiotics. Foods like yogurt and cottage cheese are often part of a balanced diet and can add in good bacteria without much risk.

There are commercially available probiotic supplements specifically designed for infants and children. However, it is important to talk to your childs pediatrician before giving them any probiotic supplement or changing the childs diet to include probiotic-rich foods.

Can You Overdose On Probiotics

Taking the most common probiotic supplementseven large doses or over extended periodsis not likely to lead to an overdose for healthy individuals. The most common side effect of probiotics is digestive discomfort.

Scientific research on the gut microbiome and probiotics is relatively newit didnt start gaining attention until the 1990s. While the evidence is still growing, it does not appear that long-term use of probiotics is harmful since your gut already has tens of millions of beneficial bacteria. Most likely, any good bacteria in excess of what your body needs will just leave the body via your next bowel movement.

But probiotics are not advised for everyone. Those with a serious illness or weakened immune system might need to avoid probiotic supplements as they can cause adverse effects, including infection, even in doses that dont seem like too much. Adding a probiotic supplement to their wellness routine should be discussed with a healthcare professional.

While serious risks from taking too many probiotics are rare, you can still experience side effects.

What Are The Most Common Types Of Probiotic Bacteria

Though there are many types of bacteria that can be considered probiotics, there are two specific types of bacteria that are common probiotics found in stores. These include:

  • Bifidobacterium.

Probiotics are also made up of good yeast. The most common type of yeast found in probiotics is:

  • Saccharomyces boulardii.

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How To Ensure Your Probiotic Will Work

The most important way to make sure the probiotic you choose will work is to find a reputable brand and follow the label directions suggested on how to take it. Each brand will have specific information based on the product.

Manufacturers are constantly trying to improve probiotic effectiveness by using different methods such as microencapsulation to protect probiotics from the environment, increasing chances of survival and potency.

tips for effective probiotic use

For a probiotic to work for you, it should be:

  • Good quality . Choose one that shows proof of effectiveness.
  • Stored correctly. Read labels and store as the label states .
  • Taken as directed. Read labels and take as suggested .
  • Able to survive in the body. The probiotic must be able to survive the trip through stomach acid and bile and colonize your gut.
  • Safe for you. Read the label and note added ingredients. Watch out for added fillers and binders which might cause reactions.

A typical label will have the name of the specific probiotic , the dose in CFU, an expiration date, and instructions for use and storage.

The expiration date is important because it should have the use by date, which is how long the product will have live cultures.

Avoid products that list expiration as time of manufacture. The cultures may not be active or be less than listed by the time you buy it.

Can Probiotics Make You Feel Worse Before Better

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Its common to think of probiotics as being nothing but helpful. After all, these supplements are designed to introduce healthy bacteria into your gut, where they can help with everything from digestion to immunity. But in some cases, taking probiotics can actually make you feel worse before you feel better.

Probiotics work by replenishing the good bacteria in the gut, which is thought to promote gut health. However, when taking probiotics for the first time, it is not uncommon for people to experience nausea and other digestive issues as their body adjusts to the new bacteria. These side effects are usually temporary as the body is adjusting to the new bacteria in your gut and should dissipate within a few days.

Symptoms can include:

However, if you continue to experience nausea or other digestive issues after several weeks, its possible that you are taking the wrong probiotic supplement for your needs. Talk to a doctor or nutritionist if youre unsure which probiotic is right for you.

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They Can Increase Infection Risk For Some

Probiotics are safe for the vast majority of the population, but may not be the best fit for everyone.

In rare cases, the bacteria or yeasts found in probiotics can enter the bloodstream and cause infections in susceptible individuals (

50 ).

Research also suggests that people with severe acute pancreatitis should not take probiotics, as this may increase the risk of death .


People with compromised immune systems, venous catheters, recent surgery, acute pancreatitis or prolonged hospitalizations should avoid taking probiotics.

Your Immune System Will Thank You*

The longer you take a probiotic, the more diverse your microbiome will become, and the stronger your immune system and GI tract get,* Bindiya Gandhi, M.D., an American Board Family Medicinecertified physician, previously told mbg. In other words, as your gut microbiome balances, your immune system is supported and strengthened.* In fact, did you know that over 70% of the immune system is located in your digestive tract?

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Which Probiotics Are Best For You

At ZOE, we believe its a good idea to get probiotics from foods that naturally contain them rather than from currently available supplements if you are generally well and healthy.

Most supplements contain probiotic strains that are easy to manufacture. But this doesnt necessarily mean they are the best for you and your unique health needs.

Fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, and certain dairy products are a great place to start for dietary probiotics. Make sure they’re not pasteurized, though, as this kills the live probiotics.

Prof. Tim Spector recommends having a small amount of fermented foods regularly, rather than a large amount every now and then.

A healthy gut isnt just about consuming probiotics, though. Eating a variety of colorful plants provides vital micronutrients and prebiotics that act as food for beneficial gut bacteria to thrive.

Some great prebiotic foods are asparagus, leeks, garlic, chickpeas, and whole grains.

Determining which probiotic is best for you and your gut can be a challenge.

As Dr. Bulsiewic says, Probiotics are a bit like a foreign exchange student arriving in a high school. The cliques are already established, and then this new person walks in, and it’s possible that they change the dynamics, but it’s also possible that nothing changes at all.

With the ZOE program, you can learn what bacteria are living in your gut and find out which foods can improve your gut health.

Conditions Related To Allergy

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Allergic Rhinitis

  • A review of 23 studies in which probiotics were tested for treating allergic rhinitis found some evidence that they may be helpful for improving symptoms and quality of life. However, because the studies tested different probiotics and measured different effects, no recommendations about the use of probiotics could be made. Few side effects of probiotics were reported in these studies.


  • A review of 11 studies of probiotics for asthma in children had inconclusive results.

Atopic Dermatitis

  • Atopic dermatitis is an itchy chronic skin disorder thatâs associated with allergies but not caused by them. Itâs most common in infants and may start as early as age 2 to 6 months. Many people outgrow it by early adulthood. Atopic dermatitis is one of several types of eczema.
  • A 2017 review of 13 studies of probiotics for the treatment of atopic dermatitis in infants and children did not find consistent evidence of a beneficial effect. A review of 9 studies in adults provided preliminary evidence that some strains of probiotics might be beneficial for symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

Prevention of Allergies

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Types Of Probiotics For Dogs

Probiotics for dogs come in several forms. Some dog foods even include probiotics in the list of ingredients.

If you look at the guaranteed analysis section on a package of dog food with probiotics, you will see the type and quantity of bacteria added.

Species-specific strains include Enterococcus faecium and Bacillus coagulans. Other probiotic strains that have helped improve stool quality and consistency in dogs include Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.

Dog probiotic supplements are produced as powders, capsules, and chews. Each are labeled with recommendations on dosage and frequency of use.

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You’ll Feel More Energetic*

Probiotics help your body properly utilize and absorb nutrients.* And when your body is actually getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals, that translates to more energy and just feeling better overall. This means you may find yourself spending less time on the couch watching TV and more time checking things off your to-do list.

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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.

Signs You Are Taking Too Many Probiotics: 3 Diarrhea

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Diarrhea is characterized by loose, watery bowel movements that may happen more frequently. Diarrhea may also be accompanied with general abdominal pain, bloating, and nausea.

Acute diarrhea lasts only about a day or two and goes away on its own. It is usually caused by food or water that has been contaminated by a harmful bacteria, virus, or parasite. Diarrhea that lasts longer can point to a more serious underlying problem.

Probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Saccharomyces boulardii have actually been found to reduce the duration of diarrhea. However, overdosing on probiotics can irritate your gut and result in loose stools.

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Are Probiotics Safe For Cats

Yes, when used adequately under the vets careful monitoring and following the manufacturers guidelines, probiotics for cats are safe. In fact, probiotics can be used in all cats regardless of age category.

But, lets first explain what probiotics are and what they do. Trillions of live microorganisms inhabit the cats digestive tract. Some of them are good and beneficial, and others are bad and harmful.

In a healthy gut, there is always a balance between the good and the bad microbes. Sadly, this balance can be compromised by faulty diets, sudden diet changes, stress, antibiotics, or GI tract infections and illnesses.

In such cases, to prevent harmful bacteria overgrowth and toxins buildup, cats need probiotics. From this explanation, it is safe to assume that probiotics are live bacteria and yeast critical for keeping the gut microbiome in balance.

What Happened When I Stopped Taking Probiotics

However, this is not true for everyone. In fact, I personally had some trouble when I came off the probiotics I had been taking. While I didnt notice any immediate change, after a couple of months I found I was experiencing more bloating after some meals, as well as some brain fog as a reaction to certain foods.

It didnt register at first that the connection was going off the probiotics. But then, I realized that I had stopped taking these a month or two earlier. So, I went back to taking these and within a few weeks I found I was feeling good again.

But going off of these cold turkey for a while was something that I needed to do. This allowed me to see how I felt and to understand that I still needed the probiotics somewhat. The idea is if we do see a difference , we can restart the probiotics and gradually reduce the dose. After normalizing my gut bacteria again, I figured out the dose I needed to feel like I had been before going off the probiotics. In short, I used a stepwise approach that has also helped my patients. Ill detail this approach a little further down.

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Issues To Be Aware Of

If youre considering trying probiotics, there are a few issues you need to be aware of.

Probiotics are generally classed as food rather than medicine, which means they dont go through the rigorous testing medicines do.

Because of the way probiotics are regulated, we cant always be sure that:

  • the product actually contains the bacteria stated on the food label
  • the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect
  • the bacteria are able to survive long enough to reach your gut

There are many different types of probiotics that may have different effects on the body, and little is known about which types are best.

You may find a particular type of probiotic helps with one problem. But this doesnt mean itll help other problems, or that other types of probiotic will work just as well.

And theres likely to be a huge difference between the pharmaceutical-grade probiotics that show promise in clinical trials and the yoghurts and supplements sold in shops.

Page last reviewed: 27 November 2018 Next review due: 27 November 2021

Can You Test Probiotic Supplement Potency

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Some sources recommend testing probiotic capsules for potency by opening them andleaving them to grow in milk or another medium. While this may tell you if the probiotic organisms areactive or not, it doesnt tell you how many CFUs are still viable.

If the probioticsare near the expiration dateand were stored appropriately, there should be some good bacteria remaining. However, they may notbe as potent as fresh product.

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Does Acidophilus Need To Be Refrigerated

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Acidophilus is a type of bacteria that is naturally present in the intestines. Its one of many live microorganisms, called probiotics, that are thought to promote health and guard against illnesses like eczema, diarrhea, and urinary tract infections.

Used to make foods such as yogurt and kefir, acidophilus is found in dietary supplements. Most commonly sold in tablet, capsule, caplet, pearls, or pill form, acidophilus, and other probiotics are also available in a suppository, liquid, and powder form.

If you are looking for an acidophilus product, you may be aware that some products need to be refrigerated, while others are shelf-stable. Or you may have purchased a probiotic but the label doesnt indicate whether it needs refrigeration.

Further adding to the confusion, some manufacturers say that their product is shelf-stable, but still recommend refrigerating it. And does temperature even matter, since when you ingest a probiotic, its entering a warm environment ? Heres what you need to know:

Taking Too Many 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.

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What Is Histamine Intolerance

You might be familiar with histamine in relation to your immune system if you have seasonal or food allergies. Yet, histamine is also a chemical involved in your digestion and central nervous systems. As a neurotransmitter, histamine communicates important messages from your body to your brain. It is also a part of stomach acid, which helps you break down food.

Histamines role in the body is to cause an immediate inflammatory response. It is a red flag in your immune system, telling your body about potential attackers. On the other end of the spectrum, antihistamines prevent this inflammatory response.

Histamine causes your blood vessels to swell so that your white blood cells can quickly move in to resolve any problems. Its part of the bodys natural immune response. Typically, enzymes break down the histamine, so it doesnt build up. If you dont break down histamine properly, it builds up, and you develop histamine intolerance.

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