Many of us have heard about the benefits of adding more probiotics to our diets. The good bacteria in probiotics help to restore balance to our gut flora and have been studied to treat a variety of gastrointestinal problems.
However, before we fully jump on the probiotic bandwagon, we may be wondering: are probiotics safe? Can taking probiotics result in unwanted side effects?
Probiotics are generally considered to be safe and well-tolerated. They offer a variety of benefits to our health and rarely result in any serious side effects.
So if you’re interested in taking probiotics but want to make sure you’ve done your research, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about the side effects and safety of probiotics so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not they’re right for you.
Are probiotics safe?
According to the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, probiotics are generally safe for most populations, as multiple clinical trials show a long history of safe probiotic use.
If that isn’t convincing enough, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also designated probiotics as Generally Recognized As Safe, or GRAS. This means that probiotics have been deemed to be safe as the use of a food additive through accepted scientific data, information, and testing methods.
What are side effects of probiotics?
While adverse reactions to probiotics are fairly uncommon, there are a few side effects we should look out for. These include:
- Increase in gas and bloating
- Mild stomach problems
- Increased thirst
The good news is that these side effects are considered to be mild and reversible. In many cases, they even clear up on their own after a few days of taking probiotics. However, it’s important to note that the side effects may vary depending on which strains of bacteria you’re taking.
Can you take too many probiotics?
While there is no official recommended daily intake for probiotics, it’s generally agreed upon that the average adult needs 10-20 Billion CFUs per day. However, the amount of probiotics we should take varies depending on how our bodies react. Some may find that a lower dosage works for them, while others find that a higher dosage offers better results.
But if you’re taking a higher amount of probiotics than your gut can handle, you may notice the following symptoms:
Ironically, the side effects of overconsumption of probiotics are the very same symptoms that cause people to take them in the first place. That’s why it’s necessary to make sure we find the right dosage for us.
If we start to notice signs that we’re taking too many, we should lower our intake and gradually work our way up to a higher dose.
Who should avoid probiotics?
More research is needed to determine which groups if any, are more likely to experience side effects from taking probiotics.
However, because of a lack of research, some studies suggest that the following groups should consult their doctor before taking them:
- Those with the weakened immune system or serious illness
- Premature infants
- Patients with short bowel syndrome
- Those with central venous catheters
- Patients with cardiac valve disease
- Pregnant women
But it’s important to note that this list doesn’t mean these groups can’t take probiotics - it’s simply recommended they do extra research to determine they’re making the best choice for them.
In fact, one study found that probiotic products are not only safe for use during pregnancy and lactation, but may even help to prevent adverse pregnancy outcomes.
That’s why anyone considering taking probiotic supplements should consult with their doctor to talk over the benefits and risks.
How to get more probiotics in your diet
Now that you’ve learned that probiotics are generally safe, you may be interested in increasing your intake. One way you can do this is by eating more probiotic foods, some of which include:
- Miso soup
- Fermented soybeans
However, if we aren’t eating enough of these foods, we may not be doing much to balance our gut microbiome. That’s why probiotic dietary supplements work as a great addition to our diets.
Luckily, FuelOrganics offers a high-quality Vegan Gut Essential Probiotic supplement for anyone looking to monitor their probiotic intake and safely improve digestive system health.
Anyone interested in improving their gut health but worried about the safety of probiotics can rest assured - these supplements are considered safe for most people.
So if you’re ready to experience the benefits of probiotics, what are you waiting for? These live bacteria are perfect for aiding in digestive health without causing unintended harm.
For more information on probiotic usage, check out our other articles:
- Doron, S., & Snydman, D. R. (2015). Risk and safety of probiotics. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, 60 Suppl 2(Suppl 2), S129–S134. https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/civ085
- The U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/food-ingredients-packaging/generally-recognized-safe-gras
- Sheyholislami H, Connor KL. Are Probiotics and Prebiotics Safe for Use during Pregnancy and Lactation? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2021 Jul 13;13(7):2382. doi: 10.3390/nu13072382. PMID: 34371892; PMCID: PMC8308823.