Who Should Not Take Probiotics?
What if you’re allergic to probiotic ingredients? What about people who are on antibiotics and chemotherapy treatments for cancer, pregnant women or nursing mothers should not take them either.
Identifying who should not take probiotics will help you decide whether this is beneficial or harmful to your health.
In this post, we look at some of the most common conditions where you should strongly consider not taking probiotics.
As with all situations relevant to your health, remember to consult with your doctor for professional advice.
Who Should Not Take Probiotics: Who is Allergic To Them?
- What If You’re Pregnant?
- Have Diabetes Or A Weak Immune System?
- Taking Antibiotics/Chemotherapy Treatments For Cancer That Increase The Risk Of Infection?
Some people should not take probiotics.
Who shouldn’t take probiotics?
Actually, there are a number of people who should stay away from them, but it will be impossible to identify them right now.
- Those with a weak immune system should know who should not take probiotics.
- People who suffer from illnesses such as HIV or AIDS or those taking immunosuppressive drugs should stop taking probiotics, as they can cause a build-up of fungi in their system.
- Also, women who are going through menopause are advised not to take them, as they can make their vaginal flora unstable and may cause bacterial vaginosis.
- Those who are lactose intolerant should avoid kefir as it also contains Probiotics. However, some dairy probiotics supplements can also contain kefir which is okay to consume, just like milk.
If you’re pregnant should you stop taking probiotics?
The safety of probiotics during pregnancy remains a bit uncertain.
Some experts would advise against taking these supplements, while others have no objection to the practice as long as they are not taken in excess and that you’re only consuming them from brands with certified quality control measures established by third parties like NSF International or ConsumerLab’s Certification programs.
Probiotic supplementation is an increasingly popular alternative treatment for gut health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, chronic diarrhea, etc., but does it make sense when pregnant?
There doesn’t seem to be enough research on this topic yet so we don’t know whether it might affect your baby negatively if he/she inherits some ileal bifidobacteria strains.
Furthermore, we don’t know whether different tissues in the body (such as organs) will react differently to these strains and if long-term exposure to them can be a problem.
However, I would probably not recommend consuming probiotic pills during pregnancy because it may be difficult to identify which bacteria are actually beneficial for you and your baby through scientific research.
You’re better off waiting until your baby is born and trying to breastfeed him/her as much as possible while getting some extra probiotic foods through your diet.
However, other studies have shown that when the mother ingests probiotics during pregnancy and lactation, but not directly from milk, it can help prevent eczema in infants.
If you have diabetes should you stop taking probiotics?
Those with diabetes and other immune-suppressing medications such as steroids and corticosteroids should also consider avoiding probiotics due to their effect on the beneficial bacteria.
These medications usually only target the bad bacteria, so any interference by beneficial bacteria will only make your condition worse.
If you have a weak immune system should you stop taking probiotics?
For example, those who have a compromised immune system or an infection are unable to properly absorb and process the bacteria in their gut that make up most of our microbiome (gut’s ecosystem).
Those with weakened immune systems and those with a suppressed immune system should also avoid probiotics.
As well as those with HIV should not take probiotics as their HIV medication may interfere with the growth of the beneficial bacteria.
If you have cancer or are receiving chemotherapy treatment should you stop taking probiotics?
Those who have AIDS, or cancer should wait until after their treatments are over and their immune system has recovered before introducing probiotics.
These are infections that can be very serious and can spread if they are introduced before the immune system is strong enough to do so.
If I have a pre-existing condition should I stop taking probiotics?
Another group for whom taking these supplements is ill-advised includes individuals with certain pre-existing medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, colitis/ulcerative colitis) which can be worsened by overgrowth due to ingesting too many live organisms from dietary sources including yogurt containing active cultures.
Probiotic use also depends on whether you’re lactose intolerant; if so it may cause gas and bloating after eating dairy products like ice cream or milk chocolate because of the lactose (a sugar) in them.
And while probiotic foods are not harmful, they’re not exactly necessary, either. “They have no proven benefit for most people, and some may even be harmful,” says Dr. Schaffner
If you want to take a probiotic supplement it’s best to stick with one that has been well-studied in scientific trials, says Dr. Schaffner.
He’s found that it’s also important not to take probiotics together with antibiotics because this will kill the probiotic and any benefits that might have accrued from taking it.
What about those with a pre-supplementation condition?
Those with digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative colitis, or IBD should wait until after their treatments have finished and their gut bacteria has recovered.
Only after they are free of symptoms should they take them, as introducing probiotics into their already compromised immune system will only aggravate it.
Those with IBS and other digestive disorders should also stop taking probiotics while they are under medication as the bacteria that causes IBS can only be introduced during medication and cannot be gotten rid of afterward.
Reasons to avoid taking probiotics?
- Should people with yeast infections not take probiotics? The short answer to this is yes. You shouldn’t take them if you have another medical condition such as diabetes, weakened immune system, or epilepsy.
- You should also avoid probiotics if you are taking antibiotics for prolonged periods of time. Probiotics are usually taken for the long term in case of infections, but they can be helpful in preventing yeast infections too.
- Most of the probiotics’ benefits are good for the body, although there are some undesirable side effects as well. One of the side effects is that they can make your poop smell really awful.
- Another is that they can slow down the detoxification process in your body and make you susceptible to various ailments.
What about people with allergies?
Those with allergies to any type of food should not take probiotics, since they can upset the immune system. This includes dairy products, egg products, and fish.
Also, those with an otherwise inactive immune system should avoid them, as taking them can increase the activity of the immune system and thus possibly cause infections.
Finally, those with a balanced diet but poor health should avoid them, as well. Since some of the supposed probiotic side effects include acne, constipation, gas, and diarrhea, you may not be getting a healthy balance of nutrients.
Although probiotics do contain some nutrients, the best types are live, active cultures rather than freeze-dried forms, as these retain more of the beneficial microorganisms in their natural state.
You should also remember that although probiotics have been used to treat antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, it is now known that this antibiotic resistance occurs due to the overuse of antibiotics rather than their use as a treatment for bacterial infections.
There are other benefits of probiotics besides those pointed out here. For example, they are said to promote digestive health, even reducing the risk of colon cancer.
Probiotics reduce the risk of various opportunistic infections, such as yeast infections and candida, as well as the development of osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
They also increase the volume of milk produced by lactating women, so if you’re wondering about probiotics, the answer is – yes, probiotics do increase the number of probiotics you receive, as well as the number of lactose-free dairy products in your diet.
Those with conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease may benefit from probiotics, but they should speak with a physician before taking any supplements to address these health conditions.
Ultimately, you should discuss your condition with your doctor and take professional advice when trialing a course of probiotics. You might find they benefit you more than the adverse effects listed above, but as with all forms of supplements and medication, take them cautiously and stop as soon as you feel worse.
A quick reminder ..
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