There are many effects of probiotics that people don’t know about yet. These side effects also vary from one individual to another based on different biological settings.
Probiotics are living bacteria that provide several health benefits when consumed. You can consume them as supplements or naturally by taking fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt. But needless to say, there are some effects of probiotics that you might need to know in advance before trying it out.
The health benefits of using probiotic foods and supplements have been well documented. From improved digestion to a reduced risk of infections, probiotics should help reduce the risk of some chronic diseases.
There are many effects of probiotics and their uses. But using them also has several benefits. Some people may, however, have serious illnesses, and compromised immune systems might end up experiencing even more severe complications.
This article should help you review the most common effects of probiotics and what you can do to reduce them and infection too.
What to Know Before Taking Probiotics
Thanks to advancements in the medical field, you can now find probiotics in more than just yogurts. ‘good bacteria’ are turning up in almost everything you take from chocolate to toothpaste, juices, and even cereals.
Fortunately, you can separate all the reality from the hype by using the tips mentioned below before you buy any probiotics. Here’s what you should know when shopping for the best probiotics and supplements aisle.
- Mild effects are possible
- Probiotics aren’t regulated like drugs
- All foods with probiotics aren’t created equally
- Probiotics aren’t necessarily safe for everyone
- You must pay attention to the expiration dates
- Read product labels carefully before taking any probiotics
- Supplements tend to be pricey
- Select the probiotic supplements needed for your medical condition
Whatever your reason for needing probiotics, these tips should help with your decision making.
Possible Side Effects of Probiotics
As with all medicines, there are several effects of probiotics that you must know before buying and using any. The most common side effects that you must be wary of include:
May Cause Unpleasant Digestive Symptoms
Most people that use probiotics don’t necessarily always have side effects. You never really know how you will react with using probiotic supplements. The most commonly reported reaction that people have for using bacteria-based probiotics foods is the temporary increase in bloating and gas.
People that take yeast-based probiotic tablets can also experience constipation and increased thirst. It’s, however, not yet known why only a selection of people experiences these side effects. Fortunately, they usually subside after a couple of weeks of continued use of the drugs.
To reduce the likelihood of experiencing unpleasant digestive symptoms from using probiotics, you can start by taking lower doses of the supplements. Afterward, slowly increase it to your full dose over the next few weeks. This should help your body adjust to the probiotic’s supplements and foods.
If the gas or other effects of probiotics persist for the next few weeks, then it may be advisable to refrain from using the drugs altogether. Consult with your personal doctor on the best way forward.
Can Trigger Headaches
Some foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, contain biogenic amines. Amines form when foods that contain proteins age or get fermented by bacteria. Some common amines found in such foods may include tyramine, histamine, tryptamine, and phenylethylamine. These amines can sometimes trigger your central nervous system. Thereby increasing or decreasing blood flow to the brain, which may trigger headaches.
Some studies have even found that taking foods low in histamine levels can reduce headaches by up to 75% in users of probiotics. However, more research is still needed to directly link amines to headaches or migraines in users of probiotic supplements and foods.
But if probiotic-rich foods can trigger headaches and other symptoms, then probiotic supplements may be the better option to consider.
Some Probiotics May Increase Histamine Levels
As briefly mentioned above, some bacterial strains used in foods rich in probiotics can produce histamine inside the human digestive tract. The human immune system produces histamine molecules whenever it detects a threat. This makes it a vital component of your immune system.
When your histamine level rises, your blood vessels dilate, thereby bringing more blood to the affected area. The blood vessels also become more permeable. This allows immune cells to get into relevant tissues easily to combat pathogens.
This is what you generally notice when swelling or redness shows in an affected area under the skin. On the flip side, excessive histamine secretion may also trigger allergy symptoms like itching, running nose, watery eyes, or trouble breathing.
As a result, when people with histamine intolerance consume probiotic foods consume such food products, they may end up experiencing allergic reactions and other similar symptoms. Consequently, you must avoid taking such foods if you are histamine intolerant.
Theoretically, selecting probiotic foods that don’t contain histamine-producing bacteria may work. But better not risk it being as there still isn’t research on this specific area now.
Some Ingredients Can Cause Adverse Reactions
Besides being histamine intolerant, people with allergies or intolerances must read the labels of foods rich in probiotics carefully. Some probiotic supplements may have ingredients that you react to. Thus, the need to go through the ingredients list carefully before taking such foods or tablets.
Similarly, you shouldn’t take yeast-based probiotics if you have yeast allergies. In such instances, you’ll be better off taking bacteria-based probiotic supplements.
Most probiotic supplements also tend to have milk sugar or lactose. Some people with lactose intolerance may, therefore, not fare well with such probiotics. Lactose-free probiotic supplements are a better option in this case.
In addition to having powerful probiotics, you’ll also find supplements with prebiotics. These include plant fibers that the human digestive system can’t digest, but bacteria can consume as food. These include lactulose, inulin, and some types of oligosaccharides.
Remember, some probiotics contain allergens, prebiotic fibers, or lactose that can cause allergic reactions in some people. You can easily avoid these ingredients by reading labels carefully before using prebiotics supplements.
They Can Increase the Risk of Infection for Some
For the vast majority of the population, probiotics are safe. However, they aren’t the best fit for everyone. On rare occasions, the yeast or bacteria found in probiotics may enter the bloodstream and cause infections in some individuals.
People with suppressed immune systems tend to be at the greatest risk of infection from probiotics. People with prolonged hospitalizations or undergone recent surgeries may also easily get infected from consuming probiotic foods.
Fortunately, the risk of developing infections is usually very low. Also, there haven’t been any serious infections reported in clinical studies to note.
But if you happen to get infected, traditional antibiotics and antifungals should help. But deaths have occurred in very rare cases.
Key Concepts of Probiotics for Controlling Infection
Microorganisms tend to compete with one another for space, surfaces, and even nutrients. Therefore, having a large pool of bacteria in your large intestine may cause disturbances in your gastrointestinal tract. Most microorganisms excrete metabolites that may negatively impact the other strains or species.
The typical gastrointestinal flora should consist of a stable balance between all microorganisms. However, this can easily be disturbed by illnesses, especially when antibiotics are used. Comes probiotic therapy.
Probiotic therapy can help by:
- Preventing the overgrowth and colonization of pathogenic microorganisms
- Maintaining a reasonable ecological balance in the gastrointestinal tract
- Restoring an acute, chronic deterioration of the microbiological balance
- Stimulating the immune system
- Improve gut barrier function
- Stimulating mucus production in the gut epithelium and contribute to the improved gut barrier function
- Reduce or prevent the side effects of antibiotics
Why Probiotics Don’t Always Work or Take Longer to Work
By now, you probably already know that probiotics don’t work for everyone. Different people have different gene makeup, age, health, and bacteria in their bodies. All of these, plus their diet, affect how probiotics work.
Fortunately, there are a few reasons why probiotics might not work for you or take a little longer to work. See below for the reasons why:
Your dose might not be correct – most effects of probiotics occur as a result of this oversight and may have severe harmful effects
You may be taking your dose correctly but on an empty stomach – ensure that you read the product label and instructions before taking such supplements
It may be the wrong strain – it’s critical to note that not all strains work similarly for every symptom. Look for the right strain for the best, most effective results
The product quality may be poor – the fragile nature of probiotic supplements is one of its biggest challenges. Probiotics must, first, survive the manufacturing and storage processes. Then contend with your stomach acids before reaching your intestines
Improper storage may also impact the effectiveness of probiotic supplements – heat, humidity, and light are a few factors that can affect probiotics negatively. You may even need to refrigerate some probiotic supplements to retain their efficiency.
Do Probiotics Make You Poop?
Approximately 16% of adults worldwide suffer from constipation. Treating constipation can be difficult, and sometimes lead to people turning to natural remedies and supplements like probiotics.
When consumed, probiotics help to enhance gut microbiome, thereby regulated inflammation, digestion, and immune functions.
So, can probiotics help with your constipation problems? Yes, they can, in fact, help make you poop. This can be especially relieving if you’re suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. It’s, however, important to note that probiotics aren’t laxatives. You, therefore, can’t depend on them to stimulate your bowels.
Rather, probiotics help to regulate bowel movements. They do this by enhancing the gut microbiome in your digestive tract. You should consume probiotics regularly if you want to see results. Probiotic supplements help to regulate bowel movements and improve stool consistency.
So, yes. Probiotics can actually help ease irritable bowel syndrome time and again. This marks one of the best probiotics benefits and reasons to use them.
Can You Take Probiotics Every Day?
As aforementioned, there are several effects of probiotics that you must consider before using them. There’s also the common question with regards to whether it’s okay to take probiotics every day or not. While there are a few exceptions to this rule, it’s generally safe to consume probiotics daily. Some medical specialists even prefer that you take them every day.
First, it’s critical to note that probiotics are more of a natural supplement, not a medicine. You can, therefore, use them to support your general health to promote a healthy lifestyle. You shouldn’t use them as a quick fix.
Why Take Probiotics on An Ongoing Basis?
Most people prefer to take probiotics every day, while others use them periodically or when they feel they need that extra support. It’s, however, worth remembering that some factors may negatively impact the probiotic colonies found in your gut.
Duration of Use of Probiotics
The exact period that you should use probiotics is perhaps one of the most challenging questions to answer. This is primarily because the forms and length of time that you should use different probiotics depend on your ailments. Daily use for a few weeks can improve antibiotic-related or infectious diarrhea.
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Probiotics supplements help to provide many benefits since they contain live microorganisms like bacteria and yeast. These microorganisms support the growth and development of healthy bacteria in your gut. So, there’s not always a specific time or duration that you should take probiotics. If anything, you should seek medical counsel from your personal doctor before using probiotics.
From the above excerpt, it’s evident that there are many effects of probiotics to watch out for before consuming such supplements. These living microorganisms also provide several health benefits that humans need. The most common effects of probiotics to watch out for are temporary gas increase, constipation, bloating, and thirst. Overall, these supplements are a beneficial addition to your diet.