Why Not Everyone Should Be Taking Probiotics

A healthy, or unhealthy, gut impacts just about every part of your body. According to Healthline, many studies over the last few decades have shown a connection between gut health and the immune system, mental health, mood, and sleep. Furthermore, gut health is associated with autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and cancer.

You can improve your gut health by eating foods and taking supplements containing probiotics, live bacteria that can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods and that help keep the body healthy and working well, per National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

As popular as probiotic supplements have become, they may not be ideal or safe for everyone. A 2017 review published in gut Microbes found that people who have a severe illness or compromised immune system should stay away from them. Medical News Today also warns that people with any condition that impacts their immune system need to get the okay from their doctor before taking probiotics. And if you're taking an antifungal medication, it's important to wait until the infection is gone before using probiotics.

Potential risks of using probiotics

While Medical News Today says probiotics can offer many benefits, some side effects can occur if you're not mindful. Though rare, probiotics could cause skin rashes or itchiness as made evident by a 2018 review published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics. Be sure to check the label before buying probiotics to make sure they don't contain possible allergens like flavoring or food coloring.

Another possible side effect of taking probiotics, per Medical News Today, is that they might cause your body to build up resistance to antibiotics. This is also rare, but a 2018 study published in BMC Gastroenterology found that some strains of probiotics carry a gene that doesn't comply with antibiotics. As a result, whatever the antibiotic is being taken to attack can't be resolved. Manufacturers do test their probiotics to make sure this gene isn't present, which is why it's important to always get yours from trusted, reputable companies.