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.
Why You Should Take Probiotics With Antibiotics
Antibiotics play a critical role in killing bad bacteria. But as they destroy infections, they can also cause collateral damage to the good bacteria in your gut, which could result in diarrhea for a couple of daysor even weeksafter you stop taking the medicine.
So how can you get the benefits of antibiotics without the nasty stomach side effects? The answer might be found in probioticspills or even powders with live microorganisms that offer health benefits.
Your intestines contain around 1,000 different species of bacteria, with 100 trillion bacteria in total, says Dr. Lawrence Hoberman, president and chief executive of Medical Care Innovations Inc. If 80% of that bacteria is the good, healthy kind, the harmful bacteria stay at bay. But antibiotics change the balance in the microbiome, which may result in an increase in the harmful bacteria, he explained.
The immune system recognizes the bad guys and will try to destroy them. But in the process, it breaks down the intestinal lining and causes inflammation, and thats how we get antibiotic-associated diarrhea, Dr. Hoberman explains.
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Mistake #: You Take More Than One Type Of Probiotic Supplement
If you are considering layering your probiotic supplements for different health concerns, know that different bacteria can interact. Think of it this way: part of the reason we take probiotics is to fight off other bacteria, says Nielsen. It is possible, in a multi-strain product and if you take two different probiotic products at the same time, that they can out-compete each other. Research supports this: you can include 10 strains in a single product but without proper study, you cant be sure that one strain isnt out-competing the other nine. Nielsen says to check out the manufacturers website for clinical studies that the strains were tested together.
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Drink Plenty Of Water
Staying hydrated is always a good idea, but even more so if you are grappling with any side effects from probiotics, particularly constipation. Dehydration, even in its mildest forms, is one of main causes of constipation. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help to soften stools and stimulate bowel movements.
If you are experiencing diarrhea as a side effect, you are even more susceptible to dehydration. Drinking water will replenish your fluids and prevent more severe issues related to dehydration, including fatigue, dizziness, and confusion.
Can I Take 2 Probiotics Pills
It is not necessarily better to take probiotics more often than usual 1 to 10 billion colony forming units and, instead, may cause some mild side effects. The positive effects of probiotics may be counteracted by using more bacteria, according to some research.
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How Many Probiotics Can You Take Per Day
As probiotics are exogenous gut bacteria, consuming large amount of them or consuming them every day for too long can cause problems.
So how many probiotics should you take each day?
Th strength of probiotic supplements is measured in CFUs, or colony-forming units. This refers to the number of different bacteria in the supplement capable of forming a colony in the gut.
As you can imagine, the average number of CFUs across different probiotics is both very variable and extremely high. Anywhere fro 1 billion CFUs per dose to 20 billion CFUs per dose is common.
As a general rule of thumb, it is safer to take a probiotic with a lower CFU count on a daily basis from a side effect point of view. The higher the CFUs, the more ptoentially upsetting the probiotic is to your gut if you take it on a daily basis, as your microbiome can become overwhelmed by the foreign bacteria species.
But realistically, the CFU count matters less than the sheer number of different bacteria species youre pouring into your gut on a daily basis.
We recommend using a single probiotic product at time. That means avoiding fermented foods and probiotic drinks if using a probiotic supplement, and vice versa. Try not to consume too many different probiotic foods each day if you are not using a probiotic supplement more is not better!
Probiotics Can Cause Constipation By Revealing Underlying Digestive Issues
Probiotics typically reduce constipation. According to several studies, probiotics were found to increase the average number of weekly bowel movements by 1.3, and generally supported softer stools that were easier to pass. These studies found Bifidobacterium to be the most effective probiotic for supporting regular digestive health.5
Because constipation is not typical when taking probiotics, experiencing constipation with probiotics may be a sign that you do not have enough fiber or water in your diet. In these instances we recommend increasing consumption of fiber with your probiotics. You can also start taking prebiotic fiber with your probiotics. Be sure to select one that is organic and diverse so your probiotics can have good food to thrive.
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Is There Such A Thing As Too Many Probiotics Experts Explain
Probiotics are often recommended for people dealing with uncomfortable gas, bloating, and/or digestive issues. Since the word probiotics actually refers to a healthy bacteria, that recommendation can be a bit confusing. Is it best to consume probiotics through food or through supplements? And is it ever OK to double up?
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When Taken In Excess Probiotics Can Be Dangerous
People at higher risk for adverse effects, like infection, of taking too many probiotics are those with serious illnesses or weakened immune systems, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
If you fall into either of those categories, it’s important to consult your doctor before taking probiotics.
How Effective Are Probiotics
Researchers are currently unsure how effective probiotic supplements are for treating conditions. Theres constant research on the topic. While many research studies have had positive results on the impact of probiotic supplements, more research is still needed.
Its also important to keep in mind that unlike medications, dietary supplements do not need to be approved by the FDA. This means that manufacturers can sell supplements simply with claims of safety and effectiveness.
Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement or giving one to your child. Supplements might interfere with medicines you may be taking. If you are pregnant or breast feeding, check with your provider before taking any supplement.
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Could Your Probiotic Be Making You Sicker
A spread of colorful pills.
Mindy D. had suffered from constipation for years when her gastroenterologist advised her, at 38, to take a popular over-the-counter probiotic. Over the next two years, she experimented with different dosages, sometimes taking it three times a day. But she kept getting sickersometimes so ill she couldn’t work.
“We shouldn’t just presume probiotics are safe.”
Her symptoms improved only after she traveled from Long Island to Georgia to see Satish S. C. Rao, a gastroenterologist at Augusta University. “The key thing was taking her off probiotics and treating her with antibiotics,” he says.
That solution sounds bizarre, if, like many, you believe that antibiotics are bad and probiotics good. Millions of Americans take probioticslive bacteria deemed usefulassuming there can be only positive effects. The truth is that you really don’t know how any probiotic will affect you. To quote the American Gastroenterological Association Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education, “It remains unclear what strains of bacteria at what dose by what route of administration are safe and effective for which patients.”
It’s fineunless it isn’t. “Probiotics are capable of altering the microbiome in unpredictable ways,” explains Leo Galland, an internist in New York who specializes in difficult digestions. “I’ve had patients who got gas and bloating, constipation or diarrhea from probiotics.”
Your Microbiome Is Unique
The Gut Will Let You Know When Something Isnt Right
When it comes to the gut, emotional and external stressors can play a huge role in the health of the digestive system and gastrointestinal tract. Rather than relying primarily on supplements and added probiotics to address gut dysfunction, it may be best to start out by addressing these issues from a whole-person perspective.
For example, not getting enough consistent, quality sleep can disrupt digestion, as can feelings of high stress and anxiety. Before buying a supplement that could also be expensive, a discussion with a Health Coach could illuminate some key areas of your well-being that might be affecting your gut health, and a conversation with your healthcare provider could explore the physiological factors that might be causing you discomfort. Through this integrative approach, you can get to the root of your health concerns and address them head on with a holistic approach.
Interested in learning more about the inner workings of a healthy and flourishing gut? Check out our Gut Health Course for a deeper look into the physical, emotional, and mental components of the health of your gut.
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How Might Probiotics Work
Probiotics may have a variety of effects in the body, and different probiotics may act in different ways.
- Help your body maintain a healthy community of microorganisms or help your bodyâs community of microorganisms return to a healthy condition after being disturbed
- Produce substances that have desirable effects
- Influence your bodyâs immune response.
Probiotics May Increase The Risk Of Infection For Some People
In rare cases, taking probiotics can lead to infections in some people. Caution should be taken when considering probiotic supplements if you have a weakened immune system, current illness or have recently had surgery as there is a higher risk for infection.
Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting a probiotic supplement.
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How Are Probiotics Regulated In The United States
Government regulation of probiotics in the United States is complex. Depending on a probiotic productâs intended use, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration might regulate it as a dietary supplement, a food ingredient, or a drug.
Many probiotics are sold as dietary supplements, which donât require FDA approval before they are marketed. Dietary supplement labels may make claims about how the product affects the structure or function of the body without FDA approval, but they arenât allowed to make health claims, such as saying the supplement lowers your risk of getting a disease, without the FDAâs consent.
If a probiotic is going to be marketed as a drug for treatment of a disease or disorder, it has to meet stricter requirements. It must be proven safe and effective for its intended use through clinical trials and be approved by the FDA before it can be sold.
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What Is Candida Overgrowth
Candida albicans is a species of yeast that lives naturally on your skin and in your gastrointestinal tract. Normally, Candida is kept in check by your friendly gut bacteria, but sometimes, it can multiply out of control.
The resulting infections can cause pain and inflammation throughout the body, both on the skin and in the gut or genitals. Candida overgrowth is most often noticed on the skin, mouth, and vaginal infections.
An intestinal Candida overgrowth can inflame and weaken the walls of the intestines, releasing toxic byproducts that may lead to many different health issues, from digestive disorders to depression.
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How Many Billion Probiotics Should I Take
Probiotics are measured by Colony Forming Units , which essentially indicate the number of viable cells. A probiotic supplement should have around 10 billion CFUs as this is the dose required to reduce the duration of diarrhea in children.
Not only is dose important but delivery as well. Many probiotic products do not protect the probiotics inside from stomach acid which kills many of the probiotics inside before they make it to the gut.
Look for probiotics with an enteric coating or some kind of delayed-release mechanisms to maximize the effective probiotic dose you are getting.
In addition to the dose, you need to consider the diversity of your probiotics. Many probiotics have one, two or just a couple strains or types of probiotics.
Studies have shown that more diverse formulations of probiotics with multiple strains of probiotics is more helpful than single strain probiotics.
What We Do And Dont Know About Concurrent Probiotic And Antibiotic Use
To begin, probiotics will not deactivate the antibiotic or make them not work. It is actually much closer to the opposite, where antibiotics will deactivate/kill probiotics when dosed too close together. The need and relevancy of taking probiotics when on an antibiotic is justifiably increased however, as antibiotics are typically not a very discriminatory killer.
That means that while antibiotics may kill off a lot of the bad bugs causing illness, they will also typically cause a lot of your beneficial bacteria to die and instigate a variety of potential side effects, including diarrhea. Probiotic supplementation can help to offset these potential issues.*
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Is It Safe To Take A Break From Probiotics If You Are Consuming It Everyday
Yes, it is safe to take a small break here and there. We always recommend checking in with your body. After all, you know your body better than anyone else does. Once you have been on probiotics for a while, consider how youre feeling. Some people give themselves a few days off probiotics every month to evaluate the way they feel their body changing. It is all a learning experience learning about your body and what works for you.
So there you have it: a little bit of insight into probiotics and answering how often should you take probiotics. Sure, probiotics can feel like a choose your own adventure ride, but its important to remember that consistency is key hopefully now you understand the benefits of taking probiotics daily.
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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:
Probiotics are also made up of good yeast. The most common type of yeast found in probiotics is:
- Saccharomyces boulardii.
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Possible Side Effects Of Probiotics
Probiotics are living bacteria and yeasts that provide health benefits when consumed in large amounts.
They can be taken as supplements or consumed naturally through fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha .
The health benefits of probiotic supplements and foods have been well documented, including a lower risk of infections, improved digestion and even a reduced risk for some chronic diseases .
While there are many health benefits linked to taking probiotics, there can also be side effects. Most of these are minor and only affect a small percentage of the population.
However, some people with serious illnesses or compromised immune systems may experience more severe complications.
This article reviews the most common side effects of probiotics and how to reduce them.
How Popular Are Probiotics
The 2012 National Health Interview Survey showed that about 4 million U.S. adults had used probiotics or prebiotics in the past 30 days. Among adults, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals. The use of probiotics by adults quadrupled between 2007 and 2012. The 2012 NHIS also showed that 300,000 children age 4 to 17 had used probiotics or prebiotics in the 30 days before the survey.
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