Probiotics adverse effects exist. However, common reasons for side effects might come as a surprise. One thing is certain: Millions of people have consumed fermented food for centuries without adverse effects.
Probiotic bacteria are essential for our well-being and play a more important role than earlier understood.
The human body is teeming with microorganisms that help keep us alive and well. There are 500 to 1000 species colonizing the gut and it’s estimated that 80% of the immune system is connected to gut microorganisms.
Most people have no side effects
A breakthrough study in 2010 concluded that probiotics rival the effects of drugs produced by the pharmaceutical industry. Yet, with probiotics, there were no adverse effects.
“For most people fermented food don’t cause adverse effects.”
But what about headache, gas, bloating, and other symptoms a few people report? Yes, some do experience a mild reaction. Why do this happen? Let us look at three common reasons.
1. Probiotics cleansing effect
Detoxification (or cleansing) is often mislabeled probiotics adverse effects. However, this is an important process. Cleansing involves the removing waste or toxic substances from the body causing mild symptoms.
Each person has a unique response to probiotics depending the level of toxic exposure, genetic makeup, diet, lifestyle, and so on.
“Each person carries a unique microflora, like a fingerprint belonging only to one individual.”
Common cleansing symptoms
- skin rash
- increased gas
- symptoms of a cold
Mild symptoms are harmless and usually disappear after a few days. Strictly speaking, these are not adverse effects from probiotics, but rather beneficial bacteria restoring gut balance.
Causes of side effects
Beneficial gut bacteria destroy harmful gut microorganisms that often die violently, releasing toxins causing symptoms. The more gut problems, the more to cleanse and rearrange.
Some people should not suddenly start consuming large amounts of probiotics that might trigger a major cleanse. Such “probiotics side effects” are just because bacteria are doing their job—creating gut balance!
One reason is that probiotic bacteria produce lactic acid making the gut more acidic. This promotes the growth of good gut bacteria and prevents the growth of bad microorganisms, thus improving the gut environment.
2. Adverse effects because of low-quality ingredients
Additives can cause a reaction in people who are sensitive. Even healthy individuals can get adverse reactions from unhealthy additives present in many low-quality supplements.
However, traces of these substances are usually harmless:
Some manufacturers add synthetic, diary-based, or gene modified ingredients. For example, some supplements are treated with a polymer of acrylic acid, a synthetic chemical sprayed onto the capsule. This can cause adverse reactions.
“Probiotics are not the problem, only poor manufacturing principles causing side effects.”
Go for probiotic supplements with high quality, natural ingredients. Or even better, prepare fermented vegetables at home.
3. Because of a health condition
It is wise to consult with a doctor or health practitioner about taking probiotics for certain conditions.
However, it’s not always clear why side effects happen, or even if the probiotics is to blame. The human body is complex and there can be additional factor to consider in serious health problems.
Listen to the body!
This principle applies to all treatments: If it feels wrong, stop and discuss it with a health practitioner. We are all unique individuals and so is our reaction to any treatment.
However, for the great majority of people, there are no harmful probiotics adverse effects.