Probiotics side effects
Probiotics side effects have been suggested and investigated. According to the FDA, populations potentially at risk from the use of probiotics are:
- immunosuppressed patients (organ transplants)
- pregnant women
- patients with structural heart disease
- patients with serious digestive conditions that allow the probiotics to cross the intestinal barrier.
In general, the main side effects reported by participants in studies are minor gastrointestinal discomfort like cramping, nausea, soft stools, flatulence and taste disturbance.
Another potential issue is that probiotic bacteria may not colonise the gut: they might have a transitory effect. This doesn’t necessarily mean the probiotics don’t work, but their benefits may only last as long as you take them.
Common strains of probiotics
The most well-known strains of probiotic bacteria are members of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genera. Lesser-known probiotics that are administered for specific health issues like diarrhoea and gastrointestinal issues include Bacillus coagulans, Escherichia coli Nissle and Enterococcus faecium.
Probiotics, why did it take so long?
There’s a lot of confusion around probiotic supplements, especially within regulatory agencies for foods and medicines. That’s in part due to the nature of probiotic bacteria.
These little guys are often sensitive to changes in environment, temperature, pH and other parameters. That means they don’t travel well, and they can die if they’re not kept at the recommended temperature at all times.
Basically, authorities find it very hard to regulate the wide scale distribution of a live bacterial culture that’s so sensitive to environmental changes.
That’s part of the reason why companies that make “live” “raw” probiotic foods and drinks aren’t allowed to make health claims about their products.
Another factor that explains the reticence towards probiotics is the delivery method. How do these bacteria survive the bath of stomach acid designed to neutralise health threats?
This mystery is still under investigation, but we’ve circumvented it by screening stool instead. We can analyse the dead bacterial cells and metabolites that come out and see what’s happening that way.
But let’s not forget that humans first investigations of microbes revealed them to be a source of serious illness (think Louis Pasteur). Since then, Western medical science has been very focused on eradicating infectious diseases (often caused by bacteria).
We became excellent in this field, but most health problems now arise from chronic and preventable diseases. And we now know that bacteria are part of the health solution for this new era of medicine.
Gut microbes are the future
It’s only now that research funding is finally being redirected towards bacteria and food as a solution to prevent illness. This is in no small part thanks to genomic sequencing like 16s rRNA that researchers (and our Atlas Biomed lab) use to accurately identify and quantify bacteria and their functions in disease emergence and protection.
In fact, Atlas Biomed technology is being used to investigate probiotic treatment for Parkinson’s and immunotherapy treatment for cancer patients. In the meantime reader, you can use our technology to learn about the composition of your gut microbiome, what it means for your health and what probiotics might be right for you.
Angelina | Journal of Probiotics and Health | Whatsapp: +3225889658