When Probiotics Are Bad For You

 In Blog

Are you one of those people who has tried probiotics because of all the press that they’re THE best thing for your guts, only to feel way worse when you take them? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Not everyone can take them and do well.

Probiotics are increasingly popular, with a lot of new science showing the connection between gut health and brain health and how probiotics play a role in it. There is a bewildering array of new products coming out every day. With everything from easy kits for fermenting food at home to refrigerated supplements, you can find a probiotic to suit any lifestyle, taste, and budget. While these live bacteria are important for building and maintaining our gut health, there are times when probiotics are not suitable for everyone. Below, I share when probiotics are not the best option for your health.


The Truth About Probiotics

These incredible bacteria have multiple health benefits. By replenishing the bacteria we shed due to toxins like antibiotics, we strengthen our digestive system and immunity. Probiotics are extremely safe and effective. They are in everything from yogurts to fermented beverages like kefir and kombucha. However, this influx of bacteria can have a negative effect in certain individuals. You should avoid probiotics if you’re experiencing any of the following:

SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

A SIBO diagnosis means that there are bacteria growing in your small intestine, where they’re not supposed to be! If you take probiotics with this condition, you will feel worse. You will be more bloated, have more discomfort and pain, and possibly even feel quite sick. Here is an article posted on the NIH website about it: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099351/

Previous Intestinal Surgery

If you’ve had intestinal bypass surgery, or other weight loss operations, your intestinal anatomy may no longer be normal. This can affect the microbiome and cause you to react differently to probiotics when you take them. Even a “routine” surgery like gallbladder removal will affect your microbiome and possibly cause you to react to probiotics. 

Weakened Immune System

If you have a weakened immune system, probiotics may not be safe for you. If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, have had an organ transplant, or have had a recent surgery, it is best to wait until you have healed before starting a new probiotic protocol.

Certain Medications

Those on immunosuppressant medications should also avoid introducing any new bacteria into their systems (even beneficial ones). It is important to work with your prescribing doctor to ensure that you choose the right wellness plan, including any supplements.


Probiotics are safe and effective for most. If you are unsure whether a supplement is right for you, be sure to choose a practitioner that supports your wellness goals and to discuss any treatment protocol before beginning. For a list of my favorite supplements, be sure to check out my Top 20 Supplements for Healthy Living Webinar, which takes the guesswork out of determining which supplements are best for you.


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