Taking Too Many Probiotics – Is It Possible to Overdo It?
Posted On: July 29, 2022 Categories:Probiotics and Your Health,
Probiotics have been shown to have positive effects for your overall health, but it’s important to consider how much you actually need to take to see benefits. In some cases, people may accidentally take two separate probiotics or overdo it on their dosage, resulting in some temporary discomfort. In addition, some probiotic supplements aren’t as effective as others, making the odds of side effects more likely.
Can You Take Too Many Probiotics?
Put simply, probiotics are generally safe for consumption, and though you can’t technically “overdose” on them, it may be possible to overdo it, at least over the short term.
Potential Risk Factors
The most common situation in which it might be possible to take harmful levels of probiotics is if you are immunosuppressed or immunocompromised in any way. Other people at risk include those with significant bowel dysfunction or with structural heart disease. Probiotics are also usually not recommended for premature infants.
Outside of these specific issues, probiotics typically have no long-lasting side effects.
In most cases, overdoing it with probiotics only results in temporary discomfort, such as gas and bloating. These often result from the fact that your gut’s microbiome is in the process of rebalancing. A sudden influx of beneficial bacteria can upset the current balance in your gut, leading to extra gas buildup and related issues.
In those cases, you may want to ease your way into using probiotics in order to get your body acclimated, gradually increasing your intake as you go.
Not All Probiotics Are Created Equal
It’s also worth noting that many probiotic overdose symptoms could actually result from using poor quality supplements. Not all probiotics are created equal. Supplements that introduce too much of the wrong strain of bacteria or that include questionable ingredients could result in mild discomfort, diarrhea, etc.
3 Probiotic Overdose Symptoms
If you take too many different supplements, your body might react to them in a few minor ways. If you experience the following symptoms, you might want to reduce your intake or switch to a higher quality supplement.
1. Gas and Bloating
Many of the bacteria in your gut produce gas. That’s normal, but a sudden increase in bacteria could increase gas production, especially as your gut’s microbiome rebalances to remove harmful bacteria strains. It’s normal to experience a little extra gas or bloating, and it should disappear after a couple weeks as your body adjusts.
Overdosing on probiotics could irritate your bowels, resulting in loose stools and therefore diarrhea. In most cases, it only lasts a day or two. In fact, some strains of probiotics can actually help with diarrhea, reducing its duration.
3. Nausea and Headaches
Some probiotic strains produce histamine or other biogenic amines that could adversely affect your body. Lactobacillus in particular can lead to increased histamine levels, leading to nausea or shortness of breath. Other biogenic amines could cause headaches.
Usually, higher-quality supplements with the right balance of probiotic strains are unlikely to produce enough of these substances to cause any lasting discomfort.
What to Look For in a Good Probiotic
The best probiotics usually cause less discomfort to your digestive tract, reducing side effects and minimizing potential risks. Some of the qualities of effective probiotics include:
All Natural Ingredients and Processes
Added ingredients and chemicals could spoil the efficacy of a probiotic supplement. Only supplements made with all-natural ingredients and processes should be trusted when it comes to your gut health.
Optimal Microbial Balance
Getting the right balance of probiotic strains is a delicate art and is preferable to taking massive dosages of a single strain.
Inclusion of Prebiotics and Postbiotics
Prebiotics help feed beneficial bacteria, whereas postbiotics consist of the substances that those bacteria produce. The inclusion of both in your probiotic supplement helps rebalance your gut more comprehensively while supporting overall health.