When should you not take a probiotic?

When should you not take a probiotic?

Probiotic supplements are not always suitable for everyone as you will find out in today's blog post; this is due to the risks of allergic reactions and risks of infections that can occur in some people who take the supplement. Even though these are uncommon scenarios, they can happen, so you should proceed with caution, especially if you are taking certain types of medication, while also considering probiotics. This is another reason why probiotics might not or should not be taken; if you are taking certain prescription or medication drugs. These are all times when you might want to reconsider taking probiotics to ensure your safety…

What are the dangers of taking a probiotic?

Whilst probiotics are typically considered safe to take there are still a few things to be considered as they are not suitable for everyone on all occasions. Probiotics might trigger an allergic reaction in some people therefore might not be suitable for those. Allergies are not the only thing that people need to take caution about when it comes to probiotics, as there is also a risk of infection in some people who take probiotics when they have underlying health conditions or immune-related illnesses. Even though allergic reactions and the risk of possible infections could happen, these are not very common; minor side effects like gas or bloating are more common but will not cause any lasting effects on your health. 

Who should not take a probiotic?

Even though probiotics are generally considered safe for regular use, as they are a natural supplement and not a medicine, there are still a few instances where taking probiotics might be considered unsafe or unnecessary. People who suffer from a severe illness or a compromised immune system are advised to not take probiotic supplements as doing so can increase their risk of contracting a bacterial or fungal infection as a result. The abundance of probiotic bacteria is not known to cause harm or have any impacts on your health usually, though there are more risks involved if you are taking probiotics when you do have an allergy, intolerance or severe illness. If you are ever unsure, whether or not you should take probiotic supplements (whether you have been diagnosed with any of the above or not) then you can always consult with your GP who can help advise you on what would be best. In most cases, probiotics will pose no risk to your health or cause any issues (except for some minor side effects in the beginning) and are therefore generally considered very safe for regular use. 

Do probiotics raise blood pressure?

Probiotic supplements are not known or are linked to having any effect on heart rate or blood pressure. Not enough studies or tests have been conducted to fully support this claim therefore probiotics cannot be deemed a suitable supplement for this reason. Although, what a probiotic can do, is help to fill the gut microbiome with healthy live bacteria; that could very well positively affect the body. We know that if we eat healthier foods and a balanced diet then these can increase our chances of making sure our blood pressure, as well as our heart rate, are both healthier and stable; therefore you could say that a healthy gut could equal healthier blood pressure. How can you get a healthier gut? Probiotic supplements! Now, probiotics supplements themselves cannot necessarily be linked to blood pressure, as we said, but if they can positively impact our gut health then you could say that there is a level of responsibility that probiotics can claim. Eating more foods that do contain live bacteria have been linked to healthier blood pressure; some of the most popular foods for blood pressure are:

  • Yoghurt
  • Tempeh
  • Sauerkraut
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Fibrous foods
  • Whole grains

So, to clarify probiotics might not be directly linked to improving your blood pressure, but their primary function (which is to improve the gut microbiome by adding in more good bacteria) could increase your chances of having healthier blood pressure. 

Can I take probiotics with antibiotics?

If you are thinking about taking a probiotic and also taking a course of antibiotics, you should be aware of and remember to ensure that your probiotics do not cancel out your medication… 

  • Wait 2-3 hours between taking your antibiotic or probiotic. 
  • Alternatively, postpone taking probiotics until you finish your antibiotics.

Even though there are no known risks should you decide to take a probiotic with an antibiotic, it is still advised that you take caution. The above options can ensure that the probiotic supplement does not impact the effectiveness of your antibiotic; which could be detrimental if being taken to help with the recovery of a serious health condition or illness. Therefore being sensible when mixing any supplement with medication is always crucial and the same rule applies even with probiotics where the risks are much lower. If you are not going to postpone your probiotics until you finish them, then you should make sure that if you do take them together, you leave enough time between them to ensure your antibiotics will still be effective.

What medications should not be taken with probiotics?

Whilst most types of probiotics are not known to interact or affect other medications if taken together, there are some exceptions you should be aware of. If you are taking any of the following medications then it is advised that you seek medical advice from your GP to ensure that your probiotics will not impact the effectiveness of the next antibiotic or antifungal medications: 

  • Clotrimazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Griseofulvin
  • Nystatin

A probiotic supplement is generally considered safe and not known to interact with other medications. Even though probiotics are unknown and therefore highly unlikely to cause any upset or affect (prescription) medication, it is still best to seek advice from your GP if you are worried about the effectiveness of your chosen medication while also taking a probiotic.

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