Some foods, such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and pickles, including supplements, provide the helpful bacteria known as probiotics. Probiotics help maintain healthy gut microbiota by introducing beneficial bacteria into the digestive tract.
Common probiotic strains include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium; these beneficial bacteria are linked to various health advantages when present in sufficient numbers. That would include alleviating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, lactose intolerance, and certain infections.
While studies have shown that probiotics are generally safe, it’s still vital that you take care when consuming probiotic supplements. This article discusses the signs associated with probiotic use, what happens if you take too much probiotics, dosing recommendations, and who shouldn’t take them.
When you take a probiotic supplement, good bacteria are introduced to your digestive tract, where they can outcompete harmful bacteria and contribute to your overall health. Your gut microbiome already contains many of the bacterial species seen in probiotics.
Though your body may be used to these bacteria, an overdose of probiotics can still cause unwanted symptoms. When taken in large doses, probiotics can cause gastrointestinal distress, such as abdominal bloating, gas, nausea, and diarrhea. However, some people experience moderate stomach discomfort for a few days after beginning a new probiotic. This is a typical reaction as the gut flora rebalances. Once the gut flora has adjusted, the symptoms should fade.
If you use probiotics for constipation, you may go to the bathroom more frequently than usual. Probiotics have been shown to aid digestion and have even been linked to increased bowel movements.
When the gut microbiota rebalances at the beginning of probiotic use, some people may feel minor stomach distress, excess gas, diarrhea, or bloating. Experiencing these symptoms is not always indicative of a dose that is too high, and they tend to go away within a few days. But if you have ongoing adverse effects, it could be time to reduce your probiotic use.
Histamine is a biogenic amine that may be produced by lactic-acid bacterial strains found in foods. Lactobacillus is often used to manufacture fermented foods like cheese and yogurt, which can lead to histamine-rich meals.
Histamine is involved in several vital physiological processes, including the immunological response and the production of stomach acid during digestion, but it can cause moderate toxicity in sufficient quantities. Some people suffer nausea and shortness of breath when their histamine levels rise.
A person should avoid probiotics if they contain histamine-producing bacteria. Every probiotic strain used in products should be checked to ensure it does not create histamine.
Certain people develop headaches because some bacterial strains used in probiotic meals create biogenic amines. Because your intestines may detoxify biogenic amines before they create unwanted effects, it is safe to ingest foods that generate them in small amounts. Overloading the intestinal detoxification system with biogenic amines frequently results in unpleasant side effects like headaches.
Foods that ferment, such as those high in probiotics, like cheese, dried meat, wine, and some types of seafood, are good sources of biogenic amines. It’s unlikely that taking a probiotic supplement will cause the body to overproduce biogenic amines, which might have undesirable effects.
Some people who take probiotics may become sick afterward. You should exercise caution when using probiotic supplements if you have a compromised immune system due to age, sickness, or recent surgery.
While probiotic supplements may provide beneficial microorganisms, they may also include chemicals added during manufacture that might cause allergic responses in certain people. A few people may react to probiotics not because of the microorganisms themselves but because of the other substances. If you have sensitivities or allergies to these common substances, you must read supplement labels and avoid these probiotics.
Always talk to your healthcare professional before starting a probiotic supplement.
A question arises; what happens if you take too much probiotics? To answer it, Probiotics are safe to take for an extended period. One can even safely increase their probiotic supplement dosage if one wants. Remember that high doses of probiotics such as Saccharomyces Boulardii may cause temporary constipation in some people, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a particular brand. This unpleasant effect would only last for a short time and could be avoided by decreasing the dosage.
Except under a doctor’s supervision, probiotics should not be given to people with serious medical conditions such as severe immunosuppression, pancreatitis, being in the ICU, having melaena, experiencing a central venous catheter, having short bowel syndrome in infants, or having open wounds after major surgery. In addition, a person should not use certain supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Each person’s gut flora is different; thus, each person’s ideal daily dose of probiotics will differ. According to the available data, there is little to no danger of side consequences from taking probiotics. The recommended daily intake of a probiotic supplement is between 106 and 109 colony-forming units (CFUs). However, increasing the number of CFUs may not result in better outcomes.
Because probiotics are live cultures, the number of CFUs in a given dose may vary from time to time due to the natural decay of the cultures. For the same reason, it’s hard for researchers to determine whether or not there’s such a thing as a “safe” level of probiotic use.
An effective probiotic will retain at least 50% of its CFUs (colony forming units) by the “best by” date, the last day you should consume it. Finding the right strain of bacteria to offer you the benefit you’re seeking is more crucial than purchasing the product with the highest number of CFUs because the exact CFU amount is hard to quantify.
The probiotics’ delivery system might affect the body’s digestion and absorption of the helpful bacteria. That’s because probiotics are susceptible to being killed off by the stomach’s acidic environment before being absorbed.
In the little time, they have been on the market, studies on probiotic supplements have shown that they pose no serious risks to healthy individuals and that an overdose is highly unlikely. Choose a probiotic that has been studied extensively to provide the necessary benefits.