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3 Side effects of Probiotics: Who should be taking them?

Video Transcript:

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Hi everyone. Welcome back to our channel. Today's topic is all about probiotics. Probiotic use has been increasing over the years, and there's a ton of research on the topic as well.

In fact, in the US probiotics are the third most commonly used dietary supplements, and generally, the research shows that it's beneficial for most individuals, but it's also important to be aware that there can be some side effects when starting probiotics and it may not be suitable for everyone.

In today's video, I'll start with a review of what probiotics are and how they could benefit you. Then I'll explain three possible side effects to look out for and what to do about them. And then lastly, I'll discuss who could benefit from having a probiotic and how to choose the right one for you.

I'm Katie Bailey. I'm a gut health dietitian at Oswald Digestive Clinic, where we help individuals improve and resolve their bothersome, digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and much more.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it would like to work with our clinic, you can schedule an appointment. You can download our free guide: Five Ways to Improve your Gut Health below as well if you'd like to get started right away.

Alright, so what are probiotics and what do they do for us?

So probiotics are microorganisms such as bacteria or yeast that benefit our gut health as well as our immune function. And how they do that is they compete with pathogenic bacteria or bad bugs to balance out our microbiome.

So in other words, having enough good bacteria helps prevent the bad bacteria from overpopulating. Probiotics improve the function of the gut lining as well as help produce neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin, which help with anxiety and depression.

The most common bacteria groups that you're gonna see on the labels of probiotics are gonna be lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Okay, now that we've reviewed what probiotics are, we're gonna jump right into today's topic, which is three side effects to be aware of when starting probiotics.

3 Side Effects of Probiotics

Gas and Bloating

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So number one, it's gonna be gas and bloating. And this is one of the most common side effects that we see. And the reason for that is that the bacteria in our gut feed off the food that we eat.

And in that process, it's fermenting it.

Fermentation is what causes gas and bloating as a result. Gas and bloating can also be a sign that you're not digesting your food properly or that there's an imbalance in your gut microbiome.

So what that means is there may be an underlying problem such as poor digestion or an imbalance in your gut that may need to be addressed first prior to starting probiotics.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some probiotics also contain prebiotic fibers such as inulin which causes some people to have gas and bloating when they consume them. So if you are sensitive to those prebiotic fibers, you may wanna look for a probiotic that does not contain them.

Okay. What could you do to decrease these side effects? The first thing is you could try taking your probiotic at night when there's less food in your gut and your gut is less active.

Because if you take that probiotic and you probably won't notice as much bloating at night as you would if you took it earlier in the day.

The other thing is you always wanna start at a really low dose and slowly increase the recommended dose in one to two weeks, just so that your body has time to react and adjust to these new bacteria that you're adding.

And if you're still having symptoms, you may need to just discontinue the probiotic because you may need to find a different type or a different strain that suits you better.

Allergic Reactions

A second side effect that people may experience is allergic reactions, and there are some probiotics that contain common allergens such as dairy and gluten, eggs, soy, and yeast.

There have been studies that have looked at different probiotics, and what they've determined is that some of these probiotics, not only do they contain allergens like dairy or eggs, but they also, not all of them wrote on their labels that they had allergens in them.

So it's very important if someone is allergic to any of these allergens that they really research the probiotic before purchasing it to prevent having an allergic reaction.

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Histamine Intolerance

The third side effect has to do with histamine intolerance. Now, histamine is a chemical that's released by our cells to activate our immune system when it detects a threat.

Now, this is a normal and needed process in the body, but people who have histamine intolerance are not able to break down that histamine properly.

And in that regard, we end up having excess amounts of histamine in our system, which causes symptoms like dizziness, headaches, eczema, flushing of the skin, congestion among other things.

So how do probiotics relate to histamine intolerance? Well, there are a few species of bacteria that have been shown to increase histamine production such as lactobacillus Casei and lactobacillus hilgardii.

There have been other species that have been shown to decrease histamine production, such as lactobacillus, rhamnosus, bifidobacterium infantis, and Bifidobacterium longum.

Therefore, if you have a sensitivity to histamine, you wanna be aware of the specific bacteria strains in your probiotic and choose the strains that are known to decrease histamine production so that you don't have histamine symptoms.

Who can benefit from Probiotics? Who should not be taking them?

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All right. Let's talk a little bit about who should be taking probiotics or who could benefit from them and who really shouldn't be taking them. So in general, the research says that overall probiotics are beneficial for most individuals for overall gut health and immune function.

But in particular, the research shows that they may be beneficial for preventing people from having antibiotic-associated diarrhea, and constipation, beneficial for people with irritable bowel disease, such as Crohn's and colitis, and also irritable bowel syndrome.

Probiotics are not recommended for people who are severely immunocompromised or critically ill people who have a central venous catheter just due to the risk of possible infection, but also for people who have pancreatitis or who have had recent surgery.

Okay, so how do you choose a probiotic?

Well, you wanna start with a probiotic that has one to five CFUs, and then you wanna start at a really slow dose and slowly increase to the recommended dose to give your body time to adjust to that new bacteria.

If you're having symptoms with multiple strain probiotics, you may need to look at just a single strain probiotic to see if that is better suitable for you in your condition. Another thing you wanna look out for is quality.

In a probiotic, you wanna choose a probiotic from a professional brand that does batch testing for quality purposes and doesn't have a lot of added additives or fillers in their products. If you're looking for some suggestions, we put our favorites below in the description box so you can check those out as well.


So in review, although probiotics have been shown to be beneficial for most individuals, there are still some side effects that some people experience such as gas and bloating, allergic reactions, and histamine intolerance.

The important thing to remember is that we are all different, and what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another person.

Also, remember to work with your healthcare provider if you're having symptoms, whether you decide to work with our clinic or someone else because they can really troubleshoot and help you find the right product for you.

The information I gave today was very general, and you may need a more individualized plan. If you like this video, hit the like button and subscribe for more nutrition videos. I hope you found this video to be helpful.

If you're looking for a little bit more assistance, you can click the link below in the description box to work with our clinic one-on-one. Thanks for watching, and I'll see you next time. Bye.

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If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.

side effects of probiotics, does probiotics cause gas, too much probiotics, do probiotics cause diarrhea, too many probiotics, 3 side effects of probiotics

Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH

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