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.
Can You Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Dr. Eric Wood, ND, MA – Contributing Writer, Physicians Choice
Having been in practice for more than a decade, I am still dismayed at how seldom individuals are provided medical guidance when taking antibiotics, particularly as it pertains to getting gut support with probiotics. A question I often get in practice: Is it ok to take probiotics when Im on antibiotics?
This article is devoted to this issue, discussing the importance of supporting your microbiome, what antibiotics can do to gut health and why our health habits and practices need to adjust based on what else may be going on with our health.
Amines In Probiotic Foods May Trigger Headaches
Amines can excite the central nervous system, increase or decrease blood flow and may trigger headaches in people sensitive to the substance .
One study found that low-histamine diets reduced headaches in 75% of participants. However, a review of 10 controlled studies found no significant effect of dietary amines on headaches .
More research is needed to determine whether or not amines can be direct triggers of headaches or migraines in some people.
Keeping a food diary including any headache symptoms you might experience can help clarify whether fermented foods are problematic for you.
If probiotic-rich foods trigger your symptoms, a probiotic supplement may be a better choice.
Fermented foods rich in probiotics naturally contain amines. Some people may experience headaches after eating these foods, and should instead opt for probiotic supplements.
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How Long Will It Take For My Gut Bacteria To Return To Their Previous Levels If I Stop Taking Probiotics
Another important question when considering what happens when you stop taking probiotics.
If you stop taking probiotics, your gut bacteria levels are likely to return to their previous levels within one to three weeks. Though for some it may take slightly longer, the benefits of probiotics will usually disappear within this timescale.;
What Studies Do Not Recommend Giving Probiotics With Antibiotics
Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel and other institutions reported that the gut microbiome took longer to return to normal in those people given an 11-strain probiotic treatment for four weeks following a course of antibiotics. This was despite the probiotics effectively colonizing the gut with healthy bacteria. The trouble was the presence of the new bacteria and yeasts strains prevented the gut microbiome from returning to normal for the full six month study period.
Conversely, the gut microbiome in those given no probiotics returned to normal within three weeks of going off the antibiotics. The authors did conclude that this study just examined one type of probiotic, and a different probiotic may be helpful in patients taking different antibiotics. However, they did point out the findings of the study imply that the traditional practice of taking a probiotic after antibiotic may not be beneficial.
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You’ll Have An Easier Time Maintaining A Healthy Weight
If you’re trying to slim down, taking probiotics isn’t a bad idea. While experts agree these supplements are certainly not a “magic bullet” for weight loss, they can aid in your efforts.
“Certain probiotic strains help boost muscle mass and strength, while also supporting healthy weight management and exercise recovery through several different mechanisms,” explains Dr. Axe. “Probiotics seem to support a healthy body weight and body composition in several ways, including by improving insulin sensitivity, decreasing autoimmune response found in people with diabetes, helping to regulate one’s appetite, supporting absorption of nutrients that help fuel muscles and organs, and supporting liver and kidney health which are needed for detoxification, and regulating fat storage.”
According to Dr. Axe, certain probiotics can actually inhibit the absorption of dietary fat and increase the amount of fat excreted in bowel movements.
There’s an ever-increasing amount of research to support this. For example, a 2013 study found that when women who were dieting took a probiotic supplement, they shed more pounds than women who took a placebo pilland continued to lose more weight after they finished their diet. Another 2013 study found that when people drank fermented milk products with Lactobacillus gasseri bacteria, they lost 8.2 8.5% of their belly fat over the course of 12 weeks.
Don’t forget to skim through the 18 Best Probiotic Products For Gut Health.
Start Your Day With A Parfait
To get a jump on your probiotic consumption, simply top a breakfast bowl of yogurt with your favorite granola and some antioxidant-rich berries, says Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CDN, a registered dietitian at The Good Housekeeping Institute in New York City. Yogurt is cultured or fermented milk that has been soured and thickened by adding live active cultures that promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut.
While theres plenty of yogurt available at the grocery store, making it at home is simple too. For convenience, make it the night before so its ready and waiting for you in the morning, Sassos adds. I start with my favorite Greek yogurt, add two tablespoons of organic granola, and then top that with frozen organic berries. Place that in the fridge and, when you wake up, the berries will be perfectly defrosted. If you like your granola crunchy, store it in a separate container and add it just before serving.
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When Should I Take A Probiotic
Because supplements like probiotics aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, each probiotic supplement may come with different directions on dosing and timing. The most important advice is to choose a time you’ll actually stick to, especially if you have trouble remembering to take pills in the first place. “Consistency is the key with taking probiotics if one wants to reap the potential benefits,” Dr. Asike says.
While the time of day is ultimately up to you, this expert suggests that probiotics may be most effective if you plan to take them about 30 minutes before a mealand most effective if you take your supplement before breakfast. Probiotics will have a greater effect in your small intestine if you take them before you eat: “During a fast or prior to eating, the stomach won’t be as acidic and this will allow the probiotic capsule or tablet to be able to make its way into the intestine,” he explains.
Adding a probiotic into your routine first thing in the A.M., then, will likely keep your stomach from sabotaging your efforts. “Breakfast is usually eaten around the same time daily, and tends to be smaller and more easily digested,” Dr. Asike says.
How Long Should I Take A Probiotic For
The answer to this depends on your condition. In the cases of diarrhea caused by antibiotics, or other short-term illnesses, a probiotic will quickly have the desired effect, and many stop taking it after the issue is resolved. In other cases, the medical problem is long-term and probiotic use helps keep it under control. A report in the August 2017 issue of;American Family Physician;notes it is best to take probiotics for constipation as long as the symptoms persist.;
You could be surprised at how long it takes probiotics to make improvements that stick to your gut. When scientists looked at probiotics impact on general gut health, they found it took longer than studies that showed improvements for diarrhea relief. A study showed that drinking;Lactobacillus casei,;Lactobacillus paracasei, and;Lactobacillus fermentium;significantly decreased respiratory infections and flu-like symptoms after 12 weeks of daily use. In another study, after only two days of rehydration therapy and probiotics, the frequency of subjects diarrhea attacks significantly decreased3. This is a perfect example of how your end goal plays a large part in how quickly and effectively a probiotic will have the desired effect. The use of probiotics is well accepted by doctors when relieving long-term medical issues.
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You Are Experiencing Side Effects
And finally, while it is unquestionably uncommon, some people do experience side effects when they start supplementing with probiotics. ;
The most common negative side effect associated with the majority of bacteria-based probiotic supplements is an increase in gas and bloating. ;
If your probiotic contains yeast, though, you may also experience constipation and increased thirst.
And if youve been supplementing with probiotic-containing foods, such as yogurt or sauerkraut, you may find yourself experiencing headaches as a side effect. ;This is because these foods contain unique compounds known as biogenic amines. ;
These little compounds form when certain molecules in food are fermented by bacteria. Once in the body, these biogenic amines can stimulate your nervous system and alter blood flow. ;This can lead to headaches!
If youre experiencing any of these side effects then you can be sure that your probiotic isnt working great for you.
When Should Someone Not Take Probiotics
Probiotics are some of the safest natural supplements available, and have very few contraindications. There are a few groups of people who it is recommend exercise a degree of caution when they are considering supplementation with live cultures, an example of which is people who are immunosuppressed , and people with dark blood in their stools.;Under these circumstances, it would be wise to seek the advice of a GP before considering probiotic supplementation. In fact if ever in doubt, always speak to your doctor about any health supplements.;For more information see our;contraindications FAQ.
With regards to medications and natural remedies, there are no known contraindications. The only point to take in to account here is if a supplement has antibacterial or anti-fungal properties. If it does, like garlic for example, then it is recommended that you take the probiotic at least a couple of hours either side of the other supplement, so as not to damage the bacteria. But with regards to safety, probiotics can be taken alongside all natural remedies without any problem.
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Cut Your Consumption Or Quit Probiotics Altogether
In the circumstances mentioned previously, probiotic use is advocated, and its part of the treatment. Thus, patients shouldnt stop probiotics unless instructed by their doctor. Even if probiotics are discontinued from therapy, a common question is whether falling your dose down or quitting altogether is the ideal option.
If youre insisting on quitting your probiotics during treatment, your doctor might recommend dropping your dose down instead. This recommendation is just meant to evaluate how you believe as you drop the dose and make clinical decisions accordingly. If you start having severe symptoms or restart your nausea, your physician might recommend continuing with the preceding doses of probiotics.
They dont exhibit nausea symptoms, so their symptoms dont quantify their state of disease. You may have to receive a stool culture and thorough clinical evaluation before choosing to drop down your dose further or discontinue probiotic therapy.
Put Miso Soup On Your Menu
Miso soup is easy to make with hot water and miso paste, and it adds a probiotic punch to any meal. In Japan, it can be served at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Miso is fermented soy that contains healthy bacteria, says Gabriella Vetere, RDN, CSOWM, a California-based medical health coach in the corporate setting in Silicon Valley.
Just remember that high temperatures can kill probiotics, which eliminates their health boost. Add the miso paste just before serving and avoid too-hot temperatures to preserve as many beneficial microorganisms as possible.
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Should You Take A Daily Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics are good for your gut, but the source matters.
Theres a lot of buzz around probiotics. Theyre endorsed by celebrities and fill grocery stores aisles.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gut. Scientists believe they could unlock a deeper understanding of our health. Probiotics are found in some foods and drinks, like yogurt or fermented tea.;
Just like vitamins, probiotics are available as supplements.;Manufacturers make steep claims about their benefits. They include digestive;health, strengthened immune system, weight loss and reduced cancer risk. But;can a supplement really do all that?
To learn more about probiotic supplements, we spoke with Carrie Daniel- MacDougall, Ph.D., M.P.H., a nutritional epidemiologist at MD Anderson who studies diet and the microbiome.
Heres what you should know about probiotic supplements.
Its always better to get nutrients from food. That includes probiotics.
More research needs to be done on probiotics in general and probiotic supplements, but its always better to get your nutrients from food rather than supplements, Daniel-MacDougall says. They just dont deliver the same benefits as food.
One reason is because supplements arent regulated as closely as medications. So the quality and ingredients can vary greatly from product to product.;
Unless your doctor is prescribing probiotics for a specific purpose, stick to getting them from foods like yogurt that may have other nutrients, like calcium.
What Is The Rationale Behind Taking Probiotics With Antibiotics
Taking an antibiotic for an infection can kill beneficial bacteria that live in your gut.
Probiotics may be taken orally to restore any imbalance in the normal intestinal or urogenital flora. This is the rationale behind taking probiotics with antibiotics. Severe antibiotic-induced diarrhea can also lead to an infection with Clostridium difficile, also known as C. difficile, a bacteria which can cause dangerous inflammation in your colon .
Experts have hypothesized that If you suffer from stomach cramping, gas or diarrhea when you take antibiotics, adding a probiotic may help to lessen, or even prevent, these symptoms. The addition of a probiotic will also reintroduce helpful bacteria into your digestive tract that have been killed or had their numbers reduced by the antibiotic.
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What Quantity Of Probiotic Should You Take Daily
Okay, there isnt a recommended dosage of probiotics that you should take daily. Researchers are still conducting studies to discover the optimum strain and quantity of probiotics. It is essential to recognize that the daily dose can differ because not all probiotics are the same. A lot of probiotics are delivered in a range of 1-10 billion CFU/dose. Yet, there are some products that have proven to be effective at lower levels, whereas others demand significantly more.;
Are Probiotics Safe For Kids Heres What You Need To Know
You may have passed them in the health food aisle at your local grocery store or seen a reference to them in your favorite healthy living blog probiotics.
Many adults use these supplements to help regulate their digestive systems. Some claim that probiotics can help with conditions like eczema and even yeast infections.
But probiotics dont always work the same for children.
Probiotics are useful for keeping your digestive tract healthy, says Dr. Joy Drass, pediatrician at Geisinger Port Matilda. But its important to know which probiotics you can give to your child, since they may not work the same way they do in adults.
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Add Kefir To Your Smoothies
Kefir, a tart and tangy cultured milk drink, is packed with various strains of beneficial probiotics and live cultures, says Sassos, who drinks four ounces of it each morning with her breakfast. Choose plain kefir whenever possible, as the flavored varieties often contain added sugar. If you find that kefir tastes too tart alone, she recommends adding it to a smoothie for a nutritious boost.
Which Probiotics Should You Take With Antibiotics
Your pharmacy probably has shelves filled with different bottles of probiotics. How do you choose the right probiotics to take with your antibiotics? Dr. Bryan Tran, cofounder of DrFormulas, recommends looking for probiotics that have the three Ds:
Dose: The amount of active micro-organisms in a probiotic is measured in colony-forming units, or CFUs. You want a dose with 10 billion CFUs or higher, Dr. Tran says. This dose may appear on the product label as 1 x 1010. And while you may see probiotics with 100 billion or more CFUs, according to Dr. Hoberman, you generally stop reaping added benefits after about 20 billion.
Diversity: The label on a bottle of probiotics will also tell you which bacteria strains the capsules contain. Look for probiotics that have five to 10 unique strains. Studies that compare single-strain probiotics to multi-strain probiotics have found that a variety of strains is more effective at reducing diarrhea, Dr. Tran says.
Delayed-release mechanism: Finally, look for probiotics that use delayed-release capsules. When you take probiotics orally, you expose them to your stomach acid and that reduces the effective dosage that makes it to the gut, Dr. Tran says. Probiotics with delayed-release mechanisms wont release the microorganisms until they go past the stomach.
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Broaden Your Sauerkraut Savvy
Nutritionists know that sauerkraut isnt just for that ballpark hot dog. You can buy it or make it with traditional cabbage or sub in other veggies to give any meal a whole lot more flavor. Fermented daikon radishes, turnips, cucumbers, okra, and string beans can all make great condiments. They can also be eaten as a snack, or added on to a salad.