The Dangers You Should Know About Before Taking Probiotics

Over the past decade or two, there's been a lot of talk around probiotics, with many publications reporting on the benefits of taking them daily. However, The New York Times points to a paper written by Pieter Cohen, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, in JAMA Internal Medicine, that argues there should be more information regarding the potential harm they could cause. Ultimately, there are certain dangers you should know about before taking probiotics.

For starters, it's essential that you're aware that probiotics aren't closely regulated. "It's important that consumers understand that all those nicely labeled containers on store shelves are not vetted by the F.D.A.," Cohen told The New York Times. "They're not carefully watching over the probiotic space, leaving consumers to be the guinea pigs for these science experiments." In other words, there could be side effects that come with no warning. Purna Kashyap, a gastroenterologist from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, agrees. "We shouldn't just presume probiotics are safe," he told Leapsmag.

There are several known side effects of taking probiotics

According to the Healthline, known side effects of taking probiotics include increased risk of infection, stomach discomfort, headaches, redness, and swelling. They can also be the cause of allergic as well as adverse reactions and potentially even brain fog. Satish S. C. Rao, a gastroenterologist at Augusta University, found when his patients stopped taking probiotics, their brain fog stopped. "If you have brain fogginess along with gas and bloating, please don't take probiotics," Rao advised.

Shira Doron, a specialist in infectious diseases and associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine believes there needs to be more evidence to determine the pros and cons of probiotics. "There are so many studies out there that are poorly done, that aren't looking at side effects, the science is murky," she told Leapsmag. "Even your doctor may be going by anecdotal experience, rather than hard science," she continued. Basically, finding the right probiotic for you may come down to trial and error. See how your body reacts and if you experience any side effects, discontinue use immediately.