There is little evidence that a person can overdose on probiotics. However, always carefully read the labelling and do not exceed the manufacturer’s recommended dosage. The ideal dosage varies according to the type of probiotic product and a person’s health. If a probiotic causes symptoms or side effects, consider reducing the dosage or discontinuing use.
Besides having plenty of health benefits, consuming probiotics can also have side effects like skin problems, allergies, digestive issues, increased chances of infections, resistance to antibiotics and overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. We have explained each of these side effects in detail in this post.
How To Safely Consume Probiotics?
The primary and most important thing to remember when taking a probiotic supplement is to follow the packaging directions. These will instruct you on when and how to take the probiotic of your choice.
Probiotics come in a large variety of forms, including:
- Capsule or pills.
Most probiotics benefit from being taken on an empty stomach because stomach acid improves survival rates. Many take them about 30 minutes before breakfast or a few hours after their last meal before bed. Consistency is essential.
The Bottom Line: Probiotics work best when you develop and stick to a routine for when and how you take them. The journey through the harsh environment in the stomach is the most difficult challenge for probiotics.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Consuming Probiotics?
While probiotics have many health benefits, they can also have adverse side effects. Most of these are minor and affect only a tiny percentage of the population. On the other hand, some people with compromised immune systems or serious illnesses may experience more severe complications.
1. Skin Issues
Probiotics can cause skin rashes or itching in rare cases. According to a study, two individuals who took probiotics to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) experienced an itchy rash as a side effect. As a result, one participant dropped out of the trial.
Stop using the probiotic if you develop a rash or severe itching. Check the product labelling for potential allergens, and visit a medical examiner if the rash is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other troubling symptoms. Once the rash or inflammation has healed, a person can try a different probiotic product or strain.
2. Risk Of Allergy
Certain ingredients in probiotic supplements can cause allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to milk or yeast. Mould contamination can also cause an allergic reaction. Inulin, a prebiotic occasionally added to probiotic supplements, is also a possible allergen. People suspect probiotic allergens cause a severe condition known as an eosinophilic syndrome on rare occasions.
Anyone allergic or intolerant to soy, eggs, gluten, dairy, etc., should pay close attention when selecting probiotics. Check the ingredients list before taking any supplement to ensure there is no risk of an allergic reaction. Allergen-free probiotics are available from some manufacturers. Anyone experiencing allergic symptoms should discontinue the use of the probiotic immediately. If the reaction is severe, consult a doctor.
3. Digestive Issues
Some people undergo bloating, diarrhoea or gas when they initially start consuming probiotics. Alteration in the microbiota of the stomach can cause bacteria to develop more gas than usual, causing bloating. These side effects, however, usually go away after a few days or weeks of taking probiotics. If the symptoms persist, visit a medical facility to get checked. Sometimes, the doctor may advise you to try a different probiotic.
Probiotics can reduce transit time or the rate at which food and waste pass through your digestive system. While this is excellent news for anyone who goes to the washroom too frequently, it may lead to less frequent visits at first. This irregularity will usually resolve as your body adjusts, and you’ll have more regular bowel movements, but it can be uncomfortable at first.
4.Increased Chances Of Infection
Although probiotics are typically considered good and safe, the findings of a 2017 review showcase that adults and children with compromised immune systems or severe illnesses should refrain from using probiotics. Probiotic use has resulted in bacterial or fungal infections in some people with these conditions.
If a person has an immune system condition, they should consult their doctor before taking probiotics. Also, anyone consuming antifungal medication should avoid probiotics until the infection clears.
5. Resistance To Antibiotics
Bacteria that are naturally present in foods or food supplements or intentionally added to them, such as probiotic bacteria, are a potential source of antibiotic resistance determinants.
Some fermented foods, particularly dairy products, have a bacterial density that is quantitatively comparable to the microbial population found in some parts of the human intestine. This microbial population contains a vast reservoir of antibiotic-resistance genes, and its consumption may impact our bodies’ presence, establishment, and dynamics of antibiotic resistance bacteria.
6. Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth Or SIBO
Bacteria in the small and large intestines usually differ from those in the large intestine. Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) happens when bacteria from the large intestine colonise the small intestine. Experts are unsure what causes the overgrowth, but it could be due to decreased gut motility, which prolongs the passage of food through the gut. This condition can cause fermentable carbohydrates to stay in the small intestine longer.
Anaerobic bacteria are predominant in the large intestine and do not survive on oxygen. These bacteria live by fermenting non-nutritious and non-digestible carbohydrates from plant-derived foods as they pass through the digestive system. SIBO symptoms include gas, bloating, and diarrhoea, similar to IBS symptoms. SIBO can also result in brain fog and short-term memory problems. Not everyone with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has SIBO, but overgrowth is more common in IBS patients. SIBO is also very common in older females.
Probiotics are live strains of healthy or beneficial bacteria or yeast. Regular consumption of probiotics can help restore the natural gut microbiota balance. It may also aid in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions, including IBS and IBD.
Probiotics are generally safe, with any side effects being mild and brief. If a symptom is causing concern, consider reducing the probiotic’s dosage, switching to a different strain, or discontinuing use entirely. Consult a medical practitioner or doctor if you experience severe or long-lasting side effects.
Before using any probiotic product, carefully read the instructions and do not exceed the recommended dosage. Allergy sufferers should also check labels for potential triggers.