Why probiotics could be bad for you

Why probiotics could be bad for you

Probiotics are live bacteria used to replenish the gut.

So for the majority, probiotics are safe and highly beneficial - linked to improvements in mood, memory, attention, and energy - but for some, they do more harm than good.

If you notice any reaction after taking a probiotic, this post will help you understand why and what to do about it.

1.   Too many gut bugs!

Probiotics taken in high doses are only useful if you’ve had antibiotics, or some other drug, and or bug that’s killed off beneficial bacteria. Otherwise, you just add more gut bugs to the mix and create an imbalance, which can cause problems.

Often, we overpopulate with a common group of bacteria called Firmicutes - only beneficial when in balance. When out of balance, they generate inflammation, increase sugar cravings, cause weight gain, and kill off beneficial bacteria.

They’re also the most common type consumed, because firmicutes such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, are found in most probiotic capsules, and foods, such as yoghurt or coconut kephir.

Thankfully, there are alternatives available, such as apple cider vinegar.

2.   Do you have SIBO?

SIBO is an overgrowth of bacteria that makes its way from the large intestine up to the small intestine, which is not where it’s meant to be!

Again, too many Firmicutes can exacerbate this issue.

If you have SIBO, generally it’s safer not to take probiotics. However, it’s controversial. With some SIBO studies showing a benefit to probiotics, and others showing adverse effects.

When in doubt contact your natural healthcare professional, test in small doses, and opt for either soil-based probiotics or ones without Lactobacillus strains.

Due to an imbalance or overgrowth of bacteria, the intestinal wall becomes damaged. For this, bone broth (or veggie broth) is a great way to heal the intestinal lining (unless you have a histamine sensitivity, then see below for alternatives).

3.   Too much too soon.

When we introduce beneficial bacteria into our system it can create a die-off of bad bacteria. This reaction can cause discomfort such as bloating or gas. Especially when taking prebiotics and probiotics together.

This is usually a case of too many, too soon.

If this is happening to you, you can either reduce your dose and work your way up to increase it, or begin with a probiotic, and slowly introduce prebiotics later.

4.   Allergies to ingredients

Sugars, gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs can be found in many probiotic products. These ingredients can cause further dysbiosis or more immediate effects such as autoimmune and allergic reactions.

If this is true for you, you can find probiotics without any allergens here.

Also note, yeast-based probiotics aren’t suitable for people with Candida.

5.   Strains that influence histamine levels

Histamines can cause a heightened immune response in some people. This can lead to a rash, swelling and other allergic reactions.

Histamine-producing probiotic strains to avoid include most Lactobacillus stains and Streptococcus thermophilus.

To help histamine intolerances and heal the gut take Vitamin C with zinc. Together, they not only speed up the healing process but act as a natural antihistamine.

6.   Are you prone or susceptible to infections?

Just had surgery? Prone UTIs?

Then you may want to look at specific probiotic powders.

In very rare cases, probiotics can lead to infection, more antibiotic use, and more gut problems, which becomes a vicious cycle.

Products to help reduce infection and inflammation include probiotics with antioxidant rich foods.

Of course, most people thrive on probiotics!

Especially high quality - shelf stable, soil-based, diverse strains, with prebiotics.

Have you ever reacted to probiotics, and how did you get around it?

We’d love to know what works for you!

Let us know in the comments below.

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