Side Effects of Probiotics: Are Probiotics Safe?

What are the side effects of taking probiotics? Do probiotic supplements  cause gas and bloating? How safe are probiotics during pregnancy? Do probiotics have bad or negative effects on infants & kids? What do studies say? What are the cons, challenges, disadvantages of using kefir, raw, phillips & pearl probiotics? Read on find answers to these questions…

Side Effects of Probiotics- Are Probiotics Safe?

probiotics side effects, pregnancy, kefir, philips

While probiotics are credited with a lot of benefits that they provide the body, there are challenges that may come along with their use. These are presented in the form of side effects, which are associated with the consumption of the product intended to avail a benefit. A side effect is thus an undesirable effect that is associated with the product on its consumption. It is worthy to note that, the varying sources of the probiotics may have slightly different operational mechanisms in the body. In some cases, for instance the preparation of some of the foods that avail the probiotics may be found wanting in terms of hygiene and proper food preparation practices. Storage may also lead to challenges in the effectiveness of the product once ingested.

The intake of probiotics generally has few side effects.In other words, they are regarded as safe. Majority Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria strains have an excellent safety profile. They are an extremely rare cause of infection in humans and their lack of pathogenicity covers all age groups and immunocompromised individuals. They have been incorporated in food supplements and products for decades and are generally accepted as traditional food-grade organisms. [Wikipedia]

However, there are scenarios where the side effects are pronounced and therefore the need to classify the side effects into those that are mild, severe and very severe side effects. The mild ones are those that may be present close to immediately after consumption and relate to issues such as additional gas in the digestive tract, having a bloated stomach and general gut discomfort. These bad effects, as you will learn shortly, are mild side effects, which, as time goes by tend to relieve themselves.

Severe side effects on the other hand may require a medical practitioner to give further guidance on how to progress sin addressing them. For instance, a high fever, persistent cough among others that seem consistent may require medical attention in addressing them. Very severe side effects are more direct and pronounced in their manifestation.

They for instance may be indications of possible rashes, which are present e.g. on the neck, and other spots of the body. Allergic reactions, which could result in scenarios such as diarrhea that may also be consistent, require medical attention to get proper resolution. Depending on the source that was used, the side effects may equally vary. This is because the source may have also had additional chemical compositions, which could in effect lead to an entirely different side effect.

Probiotic Side Effects- Gas & Bloating

Gas creation within your intestines is the most generic side effect of probiotic use in both adults and children. Gas is as a result of  the gas-producing bacteria present, it may be lactobacilli or bifidobacteria, which break down lactic acid. However, intestinal gas effect is mild. The best remedy is to reduce the amount of your probiotic intake. In cases where the gas becomes exceedingly painful or accompanies any other symptoms, for example, diarrhea or stool that appear watery, it is highly recommended that you consult a physician. This may be a symptom of an underlying gastrointestinal issue in your child that could be severe.
Bloating, just as intestinal gas is another widespread side effect of probiotics. It is mild and more pronounced in children compared to adults.  Gas buildup within the intestines and stomach is the core cause of bloating. It can become dangerous and painful in kids with weakened immune systems. and can become severe and painful in children with compromised immune systems. Make a point of talking to your doctor beforehand giving your child any probiotic-containing food or supplement even though it is generally regarded as safe.

Are Probiotics Safe during Pregnancy, for Infants, Kids & Newborns?

What are the side effects of probiotics for pregnant mothers? Do probiotics have negative or bad effects for infants, newborns and kids? Let’s find out…

Probiotics Safety During Pregnancy

Are probiotics safe when pregnant or lactating? A According to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institute of Health (NIH), Probiotics are thought to be safe during pregnancy.

“Current data suggest that probiotic supplementation is rarely systemically absorbed when used by healthy individuals. One meta-analysis and several randomized controlled trials conducted with women during the third trimester of pregnancy did not report an increase in adverse fetal outcomes. There have been no published studies addressing Saccharomyces species use in pregnancy. Probiotics are unlikely to be transferred into breast milk.” NIH

In the limited studies there have been no associations with probiotic use and miscarriages or malformations of any kind.

However, considering the fact there are a variety of probiotic supplements of different brands with limited research,  the safety of using probiotics cannot be 100% guaranteed.

Infant Probiotics Side Effects-Are probiotics Safe for Infants, Newborns & Children?

probiotics safety or side effects children & infants
Kids-Probiotics effects are mild

Basing on  more than 70 clinical studies conducted on less than 4000 children and infants that eat foods with probiotic ingredients, it has been established that probiotics are safe for newborns, infants or babies as well as kids/children. According to these studies, probiotics may help in lessening symptoms of conditions such as colic, constipation or diarrhea.

More studies that focused on lasting or long-term intake of probiotic-supplemented formula in infants have also confirmed no toxicity effect and incorporation well endured. Documented correlations between systemetic infections and probiotic consumption are few and all occurred in patients with underlying medical conditions. This is according to 2002 report titled :Guidelines for the Evaluation of Probiotics in Food jointly published by the FAO and WHO

Kefir Probiotic Side Effects

Kefir as a source of probiotics is naturally occurring and thought to be beneficial in both content and ease of preparation. However, there are side effects that are associated with the use of kefir. According to my Kefir world, the health status and the agility of the immune system of the consumer has an impact on the nature and intensity of the side effect that may be experienced.

Healing crisis, also termed as detoxification symptoms may be experienced and can lead to a lot of discomfort for some people. For instance, headaches, nausea, gas, and bloating are experienced. Similarly, there are individuals who experience more profound side effects after the ingestion. This could for instance include the outbreak of acne. This is mainly caused by milk sugar content level that is present in the drink. Continued or extended constipation is another effect that may be experienced. This requires the increase in the movement of the bowels to aid in the gradual digestion process.

A slight change food choice could aid in the resolution of this. For instance, the increase of fiber intake and better water intake. For individuals with challenges in the intestinal states such as having other intestinal infections, their tolerance for kefir may not be good. As such, they may need to start off by repairing their gut through the use of other products that may be easily tolerable such as yogurt up to a state where they can be able to tolerate kefir.

Raw Probiotic Side Effects

With the higher number of colony forming units provided by raw probiotics, the most common side effect is reported or identified is an over dosage challenge, which in itself is uncommon. The benefits seem to outweigh the side effects, which, you are medically fit and have no gut challenges such as an intestinal injury; the chances of discomfort or unexpected reaction are highly minimized.

Pb8 Probiotic Side Effects

In addition to other challenges that are experienced by the use of other probiotics, this probiotic also has a challenge in the management of weight loss. It is noted that the likely hood of increase weight-loss is slim and therefore more effort may be needed to retain the same rate that may have been established before their use. Though not medically proven, some users indicate that it causes light head or dizziness spells especially when taken on an empty stomach. Read more about Pb8 user rating and reviews: benefits, more side effects and dosage

Pearl Probiotics Side Effects

Considered generally safe for the majority of people. However, it is recommended that before one starts consuming them, visiting a doctor for determination of health status and precautions such as verifying the chances of an allergic reaction is key. In effect, before their intake, though the side effects are equivalent to the side effects on the use of any other probiotic, it is important to seek medical attention. In addition, the health status of an individual has an impact on the effect it is going to have upon its consumption. Some manufacturers could add synthetic, gene-modified ingredients. In this case, should one consume these products but have low tolerance to the synthetic ingredient, they may have a negative effect being realized.

Philips Colon Health Probiotic Side Effects

This supplement has, similar to other probiotics, been credited to aid in immune system boosting and overall promotion of the digestive health. However, it is noted that any individuals intending to take it while pregnant need to get the doctors approval first. In addition, based on some customer reviews on amazon, there are indications that the solution does not address challenges related to bloating and flatulence. However, the opinion is mixed, as there are those who have had a good experience with nothing out of the ordinary side effects.

In conclusion, more studies are being conducted to establish the exact side effects of probiotcs. More information is especially needed on how safe they are for elderly people, young children or kids  and individuals with compromised immune systems. However, whenever considering to take probiotics;

  1. Consult your health care provider before taking and after (especially if you experience an effect that concerns you).
  2. Neither do effects from one probiotic strain / species  necessarily hold true for others, nor different preparations of the same probiotic strain / species
  3. Do your research. There is plenty of authentic content on probiotics.
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