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Is It Possible To Take Too Many Probiotics?

February 17, 2022

Probiotics (and prebiotics) have been the darling of the health and wellness community for some time now, making their way onto grocery store shelves and into people’s diets. Developing a healthy gut has become a priority for many people, and probiotics have repeatedly shown that they can be an effective solution!

On the other hand, we still don’t know everything about probiotics, which has some people a little concerned. With concerns for the unknown and possible adverse side effects, more people have begun to ask one question in particular; can you take too many probiotics?

It’s not a wrong question, and it actually makes a lot of sense. There’s a reason we have the phrase “too much of a good thing”! Even if something appears to be great for us, it can still be harmful in large quantities, like working out. A daily regimen of exercise is excellent for your mind and body, but going to the gym three times a day, every day, may not be not safe for your body.

The same principle applies to probiotics! In this article, we’ll get the low down on probiotics and just how healthy they are. From dietary supplements to fermented foods, we’ll examine how probiotics work in the body and when a human can reach their limit.

Medical Disclaimer: All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

What Are Probiotics?

Before we get into the thick of it, we should do a quick review of the basics! Over the last few decades, researchers have been “mapping” the human gut, discovering all of the natural bacteria that live in humans. When all of these organisms are combined, you get the human microbiome, a community of microorganisms that live in and around humans.

As research has continued, scientists have looked more into probiotics and how they relate to the human microbiome. Probiotics are live bacteria that come from outside the human body that have a positive impact on all the live and active cultures in your gut!

There are a few different sources of probiotics to choose from, such as probiotic supplements or probiotic foods. In particular, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and natto (fermented soybeans) provide heaps of probiotics!

After you consume them, the majority of probiotic organisms live in your digestive system, but you can also find them all around the body! However, the digestive tract is the most important of them all, as this is where the main event really happens.

Effectiveness of Probiotics

As of right now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates probiotics as food rather than medicine. While this doesn’t make a massive difference in the grand scheme of things, it does mean that probiotic products are less regulated and don’t have to be proven as “effective treatments.”

Don’t let that throw you off, though, as there has been lots of positive research surrounding probiotic use, and just because it isn’t labeled as a medicine doesn’t mean it’s not effective! For starters, consistently eating probiotics will improve the health of your gut-brain axis, which in turn can help with your levels of anxiety and reactions to stress!

In short, probiotics can help people with a wide variety of health conditions and may even have health benefits beyond what we currently understand! So what’s the catch?

The Limit of Probiotics

The good news is, there are basically no recorded dangerous side effects resulting from an “overdose” of probiotics. While there are still some mild symptoms that might cause a bit of discomfort (we’ll get to those in a second), probiotics are generally harmless and thought to be entirely safe for the majority of people. Think of probiotics as a food: just because kale is good for you doesn’t mean you should eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

That being said, you should know about a few minor caveats when it comes to probiotics and your body.

  • There’s Still a Limit - Thankfully, there are no significant damage probiotics can do to your body, but eating too many of them can still leave you somewhat unsettled. If you do end up consuming too many probiotics, you might become slightly bloated, experience some gas, or in the worst cases, have mild nausea and diarrhea. These side effects won’t last long and will typically go away on their own.
  • Start Slowly - Some people have also reported similar side effects when first adding probiotics to their diet. This is usually due to your body adjusting to the new bacteria, and after a short period of time, the effects will wear off as your body normalizes again.
  • Research is Ongoing - Though everything we’ve learned about probiotics so far points to them being a healthy source of good bacteria, we still don’t know all there is to know. If you have any concerns about your health and probiotics, consult a medical professional.
  • Exercise Caution - Ultimately, the decision to eat probiotic food is up to you, but make sure you do your research before diving right in. Adverse side effects tend to be greater in people with weakened immune systems or serious illnesses, so consult a doctor before starting any significant doses of probiotics such as a probiotic supplement.
  • Cleveland Kitchen’s Probiotic-Rich Foods

    Whether you're a probiotic pro or a newbie, expand your diet by adding Cleveland Kitchen fermented foods to your dish!

    From our versatile flavors of tangy, crunchy sauerkraut to our Korean-inspired, spicy Classic Kimchi and our five ultra-yummy fermented dressings, it’s never been easier to treat your taste buds and microbiome right.

    If you’re still looking for fun ways to enjoy the benefits of probiotics, also feel free to check out our culinary crafted recipes page featuring tasty fermented food-inspired meals to fit your dietary needs.

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