Taking too many probiotics won’t cause any negative side effects, but it can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as bloating and gas. There are trillions of bacteria already living in our gut that are associated with good and bad health. The theory behind taking probiotics is that they may foster the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and improve health, but research is still mixed on the benefits.
What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeast that have been found to support your immune system and promote better digestive health. In your intestines, these bacteria break down food, absorb nutrients, and minimize harmful bacteria that may otherwise cause disease. Incorporate probiotic-rich foods and supplements into your diet to get more probiotics.
Taking probiotic supplements can provide additional health benefits, as they contain higher amounts of strains than foods rich in probiotics. It is generally safe to take probiotics, but it is possible to take too much of a good thing. Let’s take a look at the four common side effects that you may be taking too many probiotics.
- Bloating. In many cases of digestive distress, this is the most common side effect. Excess air or gas fills your abdomen. You may feel tight to the touch and have a large or swollen stomach. The pain and discomfort associated with bloating are generally not fatal.
- Gas. Gas and bloating often go hand in hand. The digestive process itself normally produces gas. Gas in your GI tract comes from air that you swallow or from the breakdown of undigested foods by bacteria in your colon. Usually, as bacteria digest food in your gut, gas is released.
- Diarrhea. This is characterized by loose, watery bowel movements that may happen more often. Diarrhea may also be accompanied by general abdominal pain, nausea, and bloating.
- Abdominal pain. All of the mentioned symptoms can contribute to general abdominal pains, which can be exhibited as sharp pains, tightness, and cramps.
What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Too Much Prebiotics?
Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that are often added to functional foods. These ingredients are believed to promote the growth of helpful gut bacteria, thereby increasing gastrointestinal health and potentially providing other health benefits.
Science is increasingly recognizing the importance of prebiotics for gut health, but the jury is still out on whether or not functional foods with prebiotics are needed for optimal health.
Most prebiotics can be safely consumed without side effects by most healthy adults. In some cases, bloating, abdominal discomfort, and gas may occur while your digestive system adjusts. On the other hand, if you have IBS or another gastrointestinal disorder, you should speak with your healthcare provider to get a personalized recommendation for including prebiotics in your diet.
Does Taking Too Many Probiotics Have Negative Side Effects?
Probiotics are safe for the majority of the population, but side effects can occur. Some people can also react poorly to ingredients used in probiotic supplements or to naturally occurring amines in probiotic foods. If this occurs, stop using probiotics. In rare cases, people with compromised immune systems, prolonged hospitalizations, or recent surgeries may develop an infection from probiotic bacteria.
People with these conditions should weigh the risks and benefits before consuming probiotics. Overall, probiotics are a beneficial addition to most people’s diet or supplement regimen, with relatively few and unlikely side effects.
To prevent from experiencing side effects and reap the benefits of probiotics, you need to choose the right one to address your particular issue or concern. When searching for the best probiotics to improve the function of your gut microbiome, you’ll want to pay close attention to:
- Types of bacterial strains that are used
- How your probiotics need to be stored
- Colony-forming units (the number of bacteria per dose)
- Which strains and brand names have been studied for their effectiveness
- You also may want to consider focusing on probiotic-containing foods instead of supplements.