Why probiotics could actually be bad for you

| | November 19, 2018
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Image credit: Unsplash/Angel Sinigersky
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Millions of Americans take probiotics—live bacteria deemed useful—assuming there can be only positive effects. The truth is that you really don’t know how any probiotic will affect you. To quote the American Gastroenterological Association Center for Gut Microbiome Research and Education, “It remains unclear what strains of bacteria at what dose by what route of administration are safe and effective for which patients.”

Things can go very wrong in the ill: Among patients with severe acute pancreatitis, one study found that a dose of probiotics increased the chance of death. Even randomized controlled trials of probiotics rarely report harms adequately and the effect over the long-term has not been studied.

In June, [gastroenterologist Satish] Rao created a stir when he and his coauthors reported that a cluster of his patients with “brain fog” [improved] dramatically when they were taken off their probiotics and given antibiotics as well.

Related article:  Why we may need a 'Noah’s Ark' of microbes to protect our health in the future

His idea was that lactobacilli and other bacteria colonized their small intestines, rather than making it to the colon as intended—a condition known as “small intestinal bacteria overgrowth” (SIB0) that some gastroenterologists treat with antibiotics.  In this group, he argues, the small intestine produced the brain fog symptoms as a consequence of D-lactic acidosis, a phenomenon usually associated with damaged intestines. “If you have brain fogginess along with gas and bloating, please don’t take probiotics,” Rao says.

Read full, original post: Could Your Probiotic Be Making You Sicker?

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