Probiotics Effects: Can Probiotics Cause Gas and Make You Gassy?

Probiotics are great for gut health but could also have some side effects.

can probiotics cause gas and make you gassy

Probiotics are living microorganisms well-known for their benefits on our health, but they can also have side effects. 

The most common ones of those possible probiotics effects are excessive gas and bloating.

Hundreds of species of bacterias live in the human gut and improve our health. One of the many benefits of probiotics is that it helps keep our guts healthy by balancing those communities in the belly.

But probiotics can also have some unpleasant effects.

In this article, we’ll discuss the effects of probiotics and you’ll learn if probiotics can make you gassy.

Let’s get started.

Probiotics improve gut health 

There is no doubt about the importance of the gut microbiota for our health and quality of life.

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Gut bacterias play more roles than just breaking down food. A healthy gut can help improve: 

So, how do probiotics impact gut health?

Probiotics can modify, restore, and positively impact those bacterias communities living in the guts. Therefore, they are used as a treatment when it comes to gut health issues.

Probiotics are good for overall health and digestive conditions

Probiotics are beneficial for overall health and as a treatment for many diseases for their therapeutical effects.

They are often prescribed as part of the treatment of many conditions like digestive problems like GERD, IBS, or behavioral disorders, and immune system disorders. 

Not only can probiotics help balance an upset digestive system, but it can also relieve constipation and reduce episodes of gassiness.

Side effects of probiotics

Here you have the 5 most common probiotics side effects and why they may occur.

1. Can disrupt the digestive system

If you over-consume probiotics or mix them with an unhealthy diet, they can also have the opposite effects.

In those cases, probiotics can disrupt the digestive system, and even be the cause of gas, bloating, or diarrheas!

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You may also experience this when you first start to use them, due to the changes in the gut microbiota they may produce.

In that case, the body would adjust after a few days or a couple of weeks when it finds its equilibrium again.

2. Can be the reason for excessive gas and bloating

The bacterias living in the guts – your gut microbiota – are in charge of breaking down the leftovers of the food. This food then reaches the big intestine, while gas is produced during those reactions. 

Probiotics affect your gut microbiota and as a result cause your body to produce more gas than before.

This is normal, but if the excessive gas makes you feel uncomfortable, you may be taking too many probiotics or having an unhealthy diet.

What to do in those cases? 

If the reason is that you are over-consuming probiotics, instead of giving up on probiotics, the solution is to adjust the dose. 

Like with most changes, the secret to getting the benefits is usually finding the balance for you.

And also, be aware that excessive gas gets worse when you mix probiotics with unhealthy and high-processed foods. 

3. Can cause diarrheas and cramps

Diarrheas and cramps can also be part of the digestive disruption symptoms that probiotics may cause.

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Excessive overstimulation of the digestive system can create overactivity in your belly with subsequent diarrheas with cramps. 

These symptoms should go away after a few days when your body gets used to them, or after you lower your probiotic intake. 

But of course, if the problem persists, check with your doctor that there are no other underlying problems.

4. May over stimulate the immune system

According to a study published by the Food and Chemical Toxicology group, certain types of probiotics can also cause excessive overstimulation of the immune system.

It turns out that although probiotics have been indicated to be helpful for health, they also have possible side effects. 

And before any treatment, it is important to consider the benefit-risk. They consider people at risk to suffer from those effects:

  • Individuals immunocompromised patients
  • Critically ill patients
  • People with cancer
  • Infants

Then, in case you suffer from any of these conditions, consult with your doctor first.

5. May cause allergic reactions

Probiotics as supplements contain other ingredients that just probiotics, and they can include lactose, starches, egg, or soy

If you are allergic or intolerant, read the nutrition label before choosing a brand of probiotics supplements. 

And this also applies to any medicament or supplement product, check all their actual ingredients before consumption.

Takeaway

Probiotics help overall health and they are used to treat many conditions, including digestive problems.

But taking too high doses of probiotics can cause problems including gas and bloating

In case you are experiencing some of these unpleasant probiotics effects, try to find the right dose and balance that works for your body. And check with your doctor if the problem persists!

(Nutritionist coach and health writer)

Miriam is a certified Nutritionist and coach by ISSA and in Advanced Nutrition by Hong Kong University, and she has dedicated last decade to promote healthy lifestyles and education in nutrition. She is the author of the book series Food Wisdom under the pen name Broccoli People, in which she explains the principles of nutrition in an easy and intuitive way. You can follow her at www.broccolipeople.com.