What happens when you take probiotics when you don't need them?

What happens when you take probiotics when you don't need them?

Whilst there is no immediate danger or serious risks to taking probiotics if you do not need them, it could lead to some minor stomach upset as they could affect the balance of bacteria inside the gut microbiome. It can be difficult to know whether or not you need a probiotic supplement but it’s likely that even if you are healthy, a probiotic could still help to support your overall digestive and gut health. You will want to ensure that you are not overloading the body with too much bacteria as this can affect your bowel and cause obstruction and in some severe cases even lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome! Therefore, if you do not think you need a probiotic for your gut health or digestive system, it might be worth talking to your GP to see if they agree with you. Although if you do think that a probiotic supplement could help you manage your gut health then they are still worth considering… 

Should a healthy person take probiotics?

If you do believe that you are a partially healthy individual then taking probiotics each day should not cause you any harm as it might help keep any ‘bad’ bacteria contained inside the gut. You might obstruct your bowels a little if you do upset the balance of bacteria inside the body but this is not a very common side effect of taking probiotics if you are healthy. Probiotic supplements are natural after all and not medicine. Furthermore having too many good bacteria inside the body is nearly impossible to occur very often as the body is made up of trillions of bacterial cells so taking a daily probiotic (whether your gut is already healthy or needs support) should not cause any harm to the body at all. 

Can taking a daily probiotic be harmful?

Again, high-quality probiotic supplements do not pose any real health concerns or risks to the body, whether taken each day by a healthy person or someone who needs some digestive support. It is even advised to consider taking a daily probiotic for a least a couple of months if you are looking to ease your symptoms of poor gut healthy (like bloating or inflammation). Therefore if you are advised to take a probiotic over a medium-long period then this should reaffirm that they are safe to take each day. It’s important to ensure that you are taking them correctly to ensure that they are effective; one supplement a day at least 2-3 hours before or after food so they can pass through to the gut microbiome unobstructed! You will also want to make sure that you refrigerate your probiotics if the packaging says so as otherwise the bacteria will die and all you will end up ingesting is dead bacteria that serves no purpose. Most probiotics need to stay chilled as the probiotics bacteria cannot withstand warm temperatures. To find out more, to ensure you are taking your probiotics safely and not consuming ‘dead’ probiotics you can read through our post on Re-refrigerated and non-refrigerated probiotics! To clarify, taking a probiotic each day should not cause you any harm so long as you are taking them for a reason (to improve and support your gut, intimate or digestive health) and not exceeding your dosage. It’s equally important to ensure you are storing your supplement correctly as they will not do anything for your health if the bacteria is not alive when ingested! 

Can probiotics cause weight gain?

A strain of Lactobacillus bacteria has been linked to promoting cellular growth, which people believe could be a reason why they have gained weight whilst taking probiotics. That particular Lactobacillus strain is Lactobacillus Acidophilus; a common strain of bacteria found in the majority of probiotics supplements! Now, this strain of bacteria, inside your probiotic supplement, might not cause any changes to your weight as it can be difficult to isolate weight gain solely down to a supplement but it is a potential possibility. Due to weight gain being down to a potentially long list of factors, it cannot be directly linked to just caused by a probiotic supplement. Although, if this is something that you are worried about then you might want to look for a probiotic without that particular strain of bacteria. On the flip side, many people experience some weight loss when they are taking a probiotic supplement; as a probiotic can help you process food better and absorb just the essential nutrients from your food. This can aid in weight loss but the same principle still applied, it’s highly unlikely to near impossible for a probiotic to alter your weight drastically on its own. Weight gain might be more common but could be symptoms of a further health issue that you may want to investigate. 

Can too many probiotics cause problems?

It is advised that you only take one probiotic supplement a day, which is usually more than enough for your daily intake. Your CFU might be quite high up to 20 billion colony-forming units or considerably lower at around 8- 10 billion CFU; no matter the ‘strength’ of your supplement it is still usually only advised t take one a day. This is to ensure that you are not pumping too much bacteria each day into the bad. An abundance of probiotics in large volume could obstruct the bowels in severe cases or give your minor stomach upset. Therefore sticking to the manufacturer's directions is always advised, and that would most likely be for you to orally consume one probiotic supplement a day 2-3 hours before or after eating! 

We hope you find the Health Insider Blog helpful and a reliable resource that aims to answer all your most pressing probiotic questions! If you have any personal questions or want additional support on a query, then you can send us a DM on Instagram where we aim to get to you as soon as possible!