Are There Any Risks Related To Probiotics
Probiotics are generally considered safe. However, there are some risks linked to the supplements. These risks are increased if you have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, have recently had surgery or have other serious medical conditions.
Unlikely, but possible, risks can include:
- Developing an infection.
- Developing a resistance to antibiotics.
- Developing harmful byproducts from the probiotic supplement.
Mistake #: Youre Not Taking The Right Dose
Like mentioned previously, the dose must be proven effective to make a claim on package in Canada. A dose is measured in colony-forming units . Look for a product with at least 10 billion CFU, because that appears to be a minimum dosage across the scientific literature, and take as directed, says Nielsen.
The best way to ensure youre getting the most out of your probiotics, experts say, is to follow a balanced high-fibre food plan, understand the type of probiotic youre taking, review its clinical research, take the appropriate dose and store them according to the package directions. And if you have any concerns talk to your health care provider. Then youll have no worries that your probiotics are failing you.
Dont Miss: Best Probiotic For Gut Healing
Different Cfus For Different Needs
As with most supplements and drugs, there is a large dose range over which probiotics are clinically effective, and higher dosages may be advisable for certain individuals and health conditions.1012 For example, research suggests that supplementing with a high CFU may be beneficial for people whove experienced a significant alteration to their gut microbiome due to illness, use of antibiotics, or other lifestyle factors.5,13
Adding to the complexity of dosing, research studies show that different health conditions can respond differently to different probiotic strains and dosages. For some health conditions, a lower dose may work as well or even better than a higher dose, whereas for other health conditions, higher amounts are necessary to provide a clinical effect.7,10,1418 More and better studies investigating the dose-response relation of probiotics for different health conditions can further inform our understanding of optimal dosing.
Recommended Reading: Do You Take Prebiotics And Probiotics Together
Can I Use Probiotics To Help With Medical Conditions
There is currently a large amount of research happening around the idea of what probiotics can do for your body. Even though there are a lot of possibly positive outcomes, researchers are still working to find definitive answers about how probiotics can help with various conditions.
However, there are some medical conditions where probiotics may help. This can vary between people meaning that what works for one person may not work for another. These can also vary based on the certain probiotic that is taken.
Some of the conditions that might be helped by increasing the amount of probiotics in your body include:
- Upper respiratory infections .
Probiotic Cfus On Labels
IPA with the Council for Responsible Nutrition advises manufacturers to list the total number of CFUs by strain ideally at the end of the stated shelf life or use by date, not at the time of manufacture. Declines in CFUs may occur over the products shelf life and prudent manufacturers will take this into account when formulating their product.
Also Check: Which Probiotic Contains Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
There Is No Way To Know What Dose You Are Taking
The probiotic supplement market is relatively unregulated, so it’s hard to know how many CFUs we actually are consuming when we take probiotics in pill form. Moreover, it’s difficult to know if the organisms in those probiotics are even still alive and capable of doing their job, or if they’re dead and useless. Even if the bacteria are alive, there’s a question about whether they can survive once inside your gut.
If you are getting your probiotics from foods like store-bought yogurt, there are also very few ways to be sure that you are consuming a significant dose of good bacteria. The conditions that the yogurt is stored in down the supply chain, the temperature of your refrigerator, and the strain of probiotic that the yogurt contains all have a significant effect on the dosage of CFU. Many of the beneficial microbes could have perished before you consume the yogurt.
Mistake #: You Think All Probiotics Are Equal
Its not good to assume that all probiotics will provide the same benefits, says Millette. There are a variety of probiotic strains and not all strains have the same health benefits. The human body houses more than 500 different strains of bacteria. Some are for immune support. Some are for digestive issues. Some are for weight maintenance. And there are even strains for heart health.
Examples include: Lactobacillus Acidophilus has been shown to help blood pressure, cholesterol, allergies and digestion, while Lactobacillus Rhamnosus can help with blood glucose, immune function and cholesterol, and Lactobacillus helveticus reduces blood pressure, improves sleep quality and bone health.
Check the packaging, talk to your health care provider or even double-check with a pharmacist to make sure what youre buying is what you need. Thankfully in Canada, foods with probiotic claims must be truthful and not misleading , and supplements must meet requirements for its claims as well as science to support its efficacy, safety and quality.
Also Check: Best Probiotic For Ibs C
Whens The Best Time Of Day To Take Probiotics
Certain probiotics have specific recommendations for when they should be taken. Be sure to read the instructions before taking a new supplement. Because of the varying types of probiotic strains that have different effects, and the best time of day to take probiotics depends on the strain and formulation.
Some probiotics outline that they should be taken on an empty stomach, whereas others should be taken with a meal.
Some medications may adversely interact with probiotics, so you may need to take medicine and probiotic supplements separately. Since daily use of probiotics has been shown to be safe and effective for many health benefits, choosing a time of day when you will remember to take your probiotic supplement is the best way to ensure consistency.
More Research Is Needed To Clearly Understand Probiotics
Though researchers don’t have the full picture yet, the National Institute of Health says there is evidence to suggest probiotics might be helpful for certain health conditions.
For example, in a review published in Antibiotics, across multiple studies, researchers found that probiotics can help relieve diarrhea caused by taking antibiotics. On average 8% of people who took a probiotic experienced antibiotic-associated diarrhea compared to almost 18% of people who did not take a probiotic.
Two stand-out strains that the researchers found helped were L. rhamnosus GG and S. boulardii. The dosage, however, varied among the different studies ranging anywhere from as little as 106 colony forming units to 1010 CFU taken one to two times a day for one to two weeks straight.
And another review, published in 2014 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that probiotics helped ease constipation in adults, including upping stool frequency and decreasing bloating. When it came to boosting stool frequency, for example, the B. lactis strain seemed to be the most effective, resulting in an additional 1.5 go’s weekly.
While this difference was statistically significant, it is a very small effect, if you think about it. And it may be that some people respond better than others, though researchers don’t yet know how to identify them.
Don’t Miss: Best Probiotics For Good Gut Health
How Many Probiotic Drinks Per Day Should I Take
18 May, 2021
If you want to achieve a healthy lifestyle, it is all about balancing out the proper nutrition. This concept is especially true for those looking to boost the health of their gut. If you consume too much of anything, it can cause your digestive system to act strangely. The same is true for health drinks.
While the average person can eat and drink to their hearts content, the gut is not invincible. When a digestive system is out of balance, it can lead to issues with your health. You may want to introduce probiotics into your diet to boost gut health.
Take A Kombucha Break
Kombucha is a probiotic-rich fermented drink made with tea, sugar , bacteria, and yeast making it a great vegan alternative to other probiotic-rich dairy products, such as kefir or yogurt, Sassos says. You can swap the refreshing probiotic drink for your afternoon coffee or happy hour cocktail, she adds.
Recommended Reading: Which Brand Of Yogurt Has The Most Probiotics
Proper Probiotic Dosages For Adults
Probiotics are measured or quantified in what’s known as colony-forming units . These indicate the number of viable cells in the probiotic product, the National Institutes of Health explains.
Less often, products will report the milligram input dose instead of CFU. These doses are found on the product labels .
For more detailed info on the different strains and what they do, see this guide.
While there are plenty of foods that contain probiotics, “amounts vary from brand to type of food,” Morse says, adding that, “probiotic levels change due to time on the shelves, manufacturing, heat, and refrigeration.”
Meaning, it can be tough to even know how many CFU you’re getting from a particular food, and that amount can vary based on a slew of different factors.
It can also be difficult to get higher CFU from food alone, says Jessica Cording, R.D., CDN, author of The Little Book of Game-Changers. That’s why many people turn to supplements to get their probiotics.
How Much Is Enough
There’s no recommended daily dose of probiotics, but research suggests aiming for 1 billion to 10 billion live bacteria cultures . Since bacteria counts are rarely found on food labels, focus instead on eating a serving of a probiotic-rich food every day. A cup of kefir, or yogurt labeled “live and active cultures,” for example, will put you well within that range.
Also Check: Prebiotics And Probiotics For Dogs
No More Constipation With Probiotics
Constipation is one of those things most people don’t want to experience or discuss. Unfortunately for those who have this condition, there are several different causes of constipation. Luckily though, for some, a healthy dose of good bacteria can resolve the problem.
In a review on the effects of probiotics on bowel movement frequency, from the September 2017 issue of âAnnals of Gastroenterologyâ, researchers found consistent evidence of an increase of one bowel movement per week.
The review warned that readers should take this recommendation with caution due to the differences in methodology and practices between studies in the report. Should you decide to use probiotics for this purpose, studies focused on the Lactobacillus species, in particular.
Since the review looked at multiple studies, it didn’t provide a recommendation for probiotic dosage in adults. Medication dosages should only be determined by your physician, as people are all different, and so are their relative states of gut fauna health.
Balance Is The Secret To Natures Success
When you think about the jungle, it may be tempting to remove everything you consider unpleasant so you can enjoy an exotic hike when youre on vacation.
So lets say we had a way of removing all the mosquitos, spiders, and other pesky insects, as well as lions, and snakes, and gila monsters. That does make it sound like strolling through the jungle would be so much safer for us
Also Check: Do Probiotics Help With Skin Problems
What Kind Of Probiotic Drinks To Buy
If you choose to go the probiotic drinks route, fermented milk beverage kefir is a healthy drinkable probiotic recommended by both Newgent and Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., C.D.E., author of The 2-Day Diabetes Diet.
The brand Lifeway Kefir has a wide range of probiotic-rich products that are also excellent sources of protein, calcium, and vitamin D, making it highly recommended by Newgent. She also gives a thumbs up to GoodBelly’s StraightShot probiotic drink because it’s certified organic and contains no added sugars.
“If you prefer to drink your probiotics, make sure the label mentions the strains of probiotics it contains as well as the CFUs to know how much probiotic you are actually getting,” says Palinski-Wade. Looking for a number indicates that it’s a strain-specific type, which tends to be well-researched and of higher quality.
For daily use, experts recommend probiotics with 5 to 15 billion CFUs per serving since less may be ineffective, and long-term use of very high doses hasn’t been well studied. But since everyone’s microbiome is different, it might mean trying a few different probiotic brands until you find the one that gives you the biggest benefit.
But Why Take Them On An Ongoing Basis
Many people choose to take probiotics every day, whilst some might just use them periodically or whenever they feel that they need a little support. Whichever way you find works best for you, it is worth remembering that many factors can negatively affect the probiotic colonies in our gut.
So, whilst you might think that once you have established good gut flora that it can then be left to its own devices, in reality our lifestyles are now so challenging for our microbiome that many of us need to nurture it on an ongoing basis. If you would like to learn more, read our article on the gut microbiome – all you need to know.
Most people know that antibiotics do not differentiate between the good and bad bacteria in our guts, and therefore negatively impact on our probiotic colonies, but even if we don’t take them ourselves, it’s possible there may be other sources of antibiotics in our food chain, such as in meat and other animal products. These have a similarly negative impact on our gut flora.
In addition, we are often exposed to chemicals such as chlorine in our drinking water. Chlorine is a strong anti-microbial agent, and whilst it helps to keep undesirable bacteria out of our water supply, it also damages our delicate gut flora.
Don’t Miss: How Long Do Baby Probiotics Take To Work
Probiotics And Side Effects
If you are a healthy person, you likely won’t have many, if any, negative side effects from taking probiotics. The only adverse effect you might experience is gas, which is a sign that you’re taking too much. For people with certain health complications taking probiotics can lead to more severe complications. So, as always, talk to your doctor before you start taking these supplements.
Of particular concern are those with compromised immune systems. An April 2019 article published by the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy indicates that cancer patients taking probiotics have poorer immune systems and recovery rates.
The National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine also noted the poor reactions between probiotics and immunosuppressant medications. Overall, this further provides evidence that you need to confirm with your doctor that taking probiotics will benefit you.
There still needs to be additional research on the safety of probiotics. Unfortunately, the focuses of most studies have been their impact on different ailments. While these benefits are essential to prove or disprove, there hasn’t been enough investigation into possible adverse reactions.
The Types And Numbers Of Microbes In Food
Microbes in food include bacteria, yeasts, and molds, and the amounts and types vary depending on the food, the food source, and the extent of processing the food has undergone. The goal of most food-preservation strategies is to inhibit growth or inactivate microbes, either collectively or by targeting specific groups such as pathogens or spoilage microorganisms. Microbial loads in dry, frozen, or thermally processed foods are low . Further, processing steps combined with hygienic practices that minimize microbial exposure have led to relatively low numbers of microbes in both raw and minimally processed foods .
Surveys of the microbial content of fresh fruits and vegetables show that the quantities of microbes on those foods range widely, but are often < 106 CFU/g . Although lactic acid bacteria and fungi are found on fresh produce, members of the Proteobacteria frequently dominate . As fresh produce is now recognized as a frequent source of foodborne disease outbreaks, pre- and postharvest approaches to reduce microbial loads are being continuously updated in order to reduce the risk of foodborne pathogen contamination . Such efforts, although necessary to prevent foodborne disease, also reduce the numbers of nonpathogenic microbes. Therefore, fresh produce, which is often washed and packaged, contributes relatively few live microbes to the daily diet of consumers.
You May Like: Gerber Soothe Probiotic Drops With Vitamin D
Should I Try Probiotics
If you are interested in adding probiotics to your diet, its worth a conversation with your healthcare provider. Many providers may suggest giving them a try to see if they help with your general health. It is important to remember that not all probiotics behave the same way and have the same effects. Each has their own individual benefits. They generally dont cause harm. One easy way to start can be by simply introducing probiotic-rich foods into your diet, like yogurt.
Before you start any supplements, make sure you talk to your healthcare provider. Your provider may be able to point you in the right direction, helping you figure out the best probiotic to take, how much to take and when to take it. A conversation is always worth the time when it concerns your health.
Probiotics Can Help Restore Good Gut Bacteria
There are times when its necessary to use antibiotics. Antibiotics can help to kill the bad bacteria that cause illness or infection. The only problem is that antibiotics dont know how to target those bacteria specifically. Instead, theyll destroy any bacteria they find regardless of the role those bacteria play in your overall health. This includes the good bacteria your gut needs to function properly.
Probiotic supplementation or probiotic products can help counteract the bulldozer effect antibiotics have on healthy bacteria. Replenishing what youve lost makes you less likely to experience the digestive side effects that antibiotics often cause.
You May Like: Prebiotic And Probiotic Combination Capsules