What are the side effects of probiotics?

What are the side effects of probiotics?

What are the side effects of probiotics?

The majority of those who take probiotics do not typically experience any side effects and will only suffer from some mild digestive tract/gastrointestinal effects such as bloating and gas. Regardless of these side effects, experts agree that according to the current evidence, there is no widespread risk associated with these live microorganisms.  

The safety of probiotics will depend on your individual state of health17. The below outlines some of the safety considerations associated with the use of probiotics:

  • For those who are generally regarded as healthy, probiotics are not likely to cause any side effects or harm when used in their intended doses. If any side effects do occur, then these will typically consist of mild digestive issues such as bloating or gas.
  • There have also been reports that link the use of probiotics with some serious side effects, these include severe infections in those with already present underlying medical issues. Those who are at risk of some of these side effects include severely ill patients who have undergone surgery, severely ill infants and those with impaired immune systems.

However, experts warn that caution should be taken when using probiotics, this warning includes those who are generally healthy, as there are some uncertainties surrounding the safety of using probiotics. This is due to the fact that a number of studies conducted on probiotics are focused on their use in treating or preventing certain health conditions and do not necessarily focus on their safety. The majority of the knowledge and information available is derived from the studies done on Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, there is little known about the other strains. Information regarding the long-term use of probiotics is also limited and the safety of these live microorganisms may vary between the different types or strains. Due to limited information being available, research surrounding the safety and side effects of probiotics is ongoing.




17. NCBI. 2010. Probiotic Therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Available:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2886445/ [Accessed 20.03.2018]

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