When it comes to taking probiotics, most people think they're a quick fix for gastrointestinal discomfort, but they aren't.
While they can help with some issues, when it comes to gut health, there are no quick fixes because so much in our lifestyle impacts the gut.
So, I am going to cover the little known side effects of taking probiotics.
Many people who use probiotics have the right idea. They're looking to support their gut health, and they may have some education about the microbes that populate their guts called the microbiome.
They often take probiotics like liquid drinks or any probiotic supplements in the hopes of reversing certain symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. And then they can be disappointed when they don't see those symptoms improve, or they can even experience worse symptoms, and they feel as if their money and efforts are wasted, and it can be a wasted effort when people don't know the complete story.
One of the reasons probiotics can fail to help is that over-the-counter brands are low quality and they may also be pasteurised so they can sit on the shelf longer. Pasteurisation kills the beneficial cultures, and basically means the bacteria are dead. Although there are studies which show that dead bacteria still have a role to play in health it's not very helpful when live cultures are needed to see the gut.
Over-the-counter brands can also be packed full of sugar and sugar feeds bad bacteria that causes symptoms like bloating, cramps, and abdominal pain. Feeding harmful gut bacteria can worsen conditions like Candida, and can also mess with insulin levels causing weight gain and more sugar cravings.
Many people also suffer from a condition known as SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, where bacteria find their way into the small intestines where they shouldn't be. This creates havoc, and taking certain probiotics can make gas and bloating worse in people who have SIBO.
So in my practice, we do a lot of education and testing to find out what is happening with a patient's gut health. We also teach them the best probiotic to use and when to steer clear.
If you are interested to know how our team can help you get started on your journey back to health, schedule a discovery call.