How to Take Probiotics Safely and Side Effects You Should Know About

7 minute read

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support the bacterial community already living within your gut. By boosting the strength of this microbiome, you promote gut health, optimal digestion, and overall well-being.

The benefits of pre and probiotics have long been known, which is why supplements are so popular today. However, it is important to note that probiotics can have side effects too, and being aware will ensure that you are safe when it comes to taking a supplement.

When Bacteria Is Beneficial

You have trillions of bacteria living within your gut. Unlike the familiar bad bacteria that cause infections and disease, these microorganisms are beneficial. These bacteria play an important role in digestion and help promote a healthy environment in your gut.

A balanced and healthy gut not only reduces inflammation and prevents disease, but it also promotes cognitive and mental health too.

There are several strains of harmful bacteria (and yeasts) in your body too, but these are kept in check by the beneficial ones. Poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, and overuse of antibiotics can cause depletion in your helpful bacterial friends. When this happens, pathogenic strains can multiply and take over, which increases the inflammation that can lead to leaky gut syndrome and other serious health conditions.

Probiotic digestive health supplements or foods rich in natural probiotics, such as yogurt, are the best way to prevent this from happening. Regular consumption of high potency probiotics ensures that your gut microbiome remains healthy and strong, which keeps pathogenic strains from taking over.

Even if you notice that your digestive system is sluggish or you experience digestive disorders, starting a complete-blend probiotic program is a great way to restore balance and heal your gut.

Research has shown that probiotics can improve digestive troubles and can help you to more effectively manage common gastrointestinal issues, like irritable bowel disease. They can also eliminate common troubles such as constipation and diarrhea.

In addition to a healthier gut, multi strain probiotics have been found to help with other health conditions including:

♦ Obesity

♦ Type-2 diabetes

♦ Insulin resistance

♦ Eczema

♦ Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

The Side Effects of Probiotics

Because of the amazing benefits probiotic provide for your gut and your health, they are one of the most popular supplements around today. As with any supplement, the possibility of side effects or adverse reactions is very real. You should always discuss probiotics with your doctor before starting a program. Side effects can range from temporary to longer-lasting and vary for each person.

Understanding the possible side effects will help you to make informed decisions about taking probiotics safely.

Digestive Troubles

When people first start a course of probiotics, it is common to experience gas, bloating, and diarrhea. As the gut community changes in response to the additional bacterial presence, these become common results.

For the most part, these symptoms clear up within a few weeks, but if they persist you may need to see your doctor or stop the supplement.

Skin Reactions

Although rare, probiotics can cause rashes and skin itchiness in some people. Depending on the severity of the rash and whether it goes away over time, you may need to cease the supplement.

It is a good idea to check the label of your probiotic to make sure there are no allergens that can cause a reaction. It may even be possible that a different probiotic supplement can be taken, as they are not all created the same way.

Allergic Reactions

Some people with allergies to gluten, lactose, soy, or eggs may need to be careful when taking probiotics. Checking the ingredients list is the best way to avoid an allergic reaction.

Those with food intolerances should be extra mindful, as many probiotics can upset these conditions. If the allergic reaction is severed, then stop taking the probiotic and speak with your doctor about another option.


Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) can happen after taking probiotics. The large and small intestines contain different bacterial strains and SIBO occurs when bacteria from the large intestine grow into the small intestine.

The bacteria from your large intestine do not require oxygen and live by fermenting the indigestible carbohydrates from your food. When these are in your small intestine, they can cause gas, bloating, and other IBS symptoms.

| Related: Why Your Gut Noises Could Mean IBS |

SIBO is more common in those with IBS, but you should speak with your doctor if you notice any SIBO symptoms.

Risk of Infection

Certain individuals, such as children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems, may be at greater risk for infections if taking probiotics. The additional presence of bacteria may overwhelm their immune systems and cause an infection.

It is essential you consult your doctor before taking probiotics. The risk of infection can also occur in people taking antifungal medication. This medication should be completed before starting any probiotic supplement.

Antibiotic Resistance

Some probiotics contain antibiotic-resistant genes and although this is rare, it is something to be aware of. These genes can be passed along to other bacteria in your body (including harmful ones), allowing them to become resistant to antibiotics.

High-quality and clinically proven supplements contain rigorously tested ingredients to avoid this, so be sure you always choose a probiotics supplement from a trusted manufacturer.

How to Take Probiotics Safely

Regularly taking probiotics can significantly help your digestion and improve gut health. This is especially helpful for those suffering from digestive disorders, such as IBS.

Because the gut is linked to your brain and also supports your immune system, a healthy gut can improve your overall health and quality of life. It is, however, important to understand the potential side effects, so you can be safe.

The Bottom Line

Always read the label before buying a probiotic supplement. Make sure there are no allergens and be sure the ingredients are clinically tested and proven to be effective. Consult your doctor before starting a probiotic supplement, and always follow the storage and dosage instructions carefully.

The benefits of probiotics usually outweigh the possible side effects, which means you can look forward to a healthier gut and a happier life.

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