Can You Take Probiotics Daily?
Published July 18, 2021
Though several studies have proven the benefits of probiotics, many are still skeptical about it. And we can’t blame them. After all, probiotics are also dubbed as the “good bacteria”. And if something has a “bacteria” in its nickname, I’d be wary too.
Yes, probiotics are a type of bacteria but they’re a totally different league from those causing illnesses. Rather, they are the ones keeping the harmful bacteria in check.
So, can you take probiotics every day?
While the answer slightly varies by case, most health experts agree that probiotics are safe for daily use. In fact, it’s even recommended to take a daily probiotic supplement.
That’s because, unlike medicines, probiotics aren’t formulated to cure an illness or provide immediate remedies. Rather, they are meant to keep your body functioning well so you can avoid diseases. In short, medicine cures illnesses while probiotics prevent them.
Apart from the supplements and the foods we eat, probiotics also naturally occur in our bodies. Meaning, we have it from the moment we were born. You can’t get any more natural than that. Our bodies are already acclimated to it. That’s why taking probiotics, in general, presents no significant harmful side effects.
Should You Take Probiotics Every Day?
It might be safe to take probiotics every day, but should you?
As mentioned, probiotics are in our bodies since the day we were born. But they’re not the only microscopic residents we have.
Our body is comprised of trillions of microbial colonies, which we collectively call our microbiome. Many of these microbes reside in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which makes up our gut microbiome.
Among these microbes are bacteria, which include both good and bad ones. If the bad bacteria outnumber the good ones, it leads to an imbalance called dysbiosis. This can lead to several symptoms such as upset stomach, nausea, and constipation.
This information is relevant because every day, we tend to mess up our microbiome in various ways. This includes:
- Not eating a well-balanced diet
- Overconsumption of alcohol
- Lack of regular physical activity
- Smoking cigarettes
- Getting insufficient sleep
- Excessive stress
All of these can decrease the number of good bacteria in our microbiome causing dysbiosis. This is where taking a probiotic supplement is beneficial. It replenishes the lost good bacteria thus restoring balance to our microbiome.
This begs the question, should you take probiotics daily to keep the healthy balance in your microbiome?
It depends. That’s because scientists still do not fully understand what makes a “healthy microbiome.” When compared to our genetic makeup, our microbiomes vary on a much grander scale. Besides, there are thousands of different probiotic strains – each with different functions. This is why it’s important to choose the right probiotic supplement as each strain may have different effects on each one of us.
Probiotics may also be harmful if you are immunosuppressed. They could cause infections and produce toxic substances in people with weak immune systems. For instance, one study found that Saccharomyces boulardii, one of the most common types of probiotic strain can cause fungemia in some people.
But in general, taking probiotics on a regular basis is good for the body. This is especially true if you are taking the probiotic strain that your body needs.
Besides, even if you don’t take a probiotic product, you’ll still get probiotics from the foods you eat. Yes, we consume probiotics every day since many of our staple foods are rich sources of probiotics. This includes dairy products like cheese, yogurt, and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. So if the thought of taking a probiotic supplement daily bothers you, you can just eat more probiotics rich food.
Why Take Probiotics on an Ongoing Basis?
When taken independently, probiotics add to the population of good bacteria already residing in your body. So if we take it on an ongoing basis, obviously, we’ll have a continuous supply of good bacteria to replenish the ones we lost.
Needless to say, a healthy microbiome can be very beneficial in the long run. Not only will it boost our immune system but it can also help us maintain a healthy gut. Some probiotic strains also help us lose weight, fight bad breath, and have healthy skin.
If you’re looking for more reasons to take probiotics regularly, know that it may also help treat the following diseases:
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- vaginal infections
- urinary tract infections
- Clostridium difficile-related diseases
Can We Overdose on Probiotic Supplement?
As mentioned, a probiotic supplement is not a medicine. It’s formulated with billions of naturally occurring microorganisms. As such, there is no risk of overdosing to the point of death.
But some people may experience side effects such as:
- upset stomach
- diarrhea (in rare cases)
That said, make sure to follow the dosage instructions indicated in the supplement bottle. Remember that anything, when done or taken in excess, usually have undesirable consequences.
Is There a Risk of Developing Probiotic Dependence?
If taking a particular medicine for too long can cause dependence, then it’s probably the same with probiotics, right?
Well, no. In the medical field, the term “dependence” denotes relying on a particular substance. This means that the patient cannot function normally without it. Most of the time, we equate it to addiction.
But so far, there has been no reported risk of dependence or addiction to probiotics. As I’ve repeated over and over in this post, a probiotic supplement is not a medicine. So taking probiotics for an extended period is generally safe.
Though if you think about it, we do rely on good bacteria to keep the bad ones in check. So in a way, yes, we do depend on probiotics. But unlike substance addiction, it’s a good kind of dependence.
While research on probiotics has been promising so far, it remains insufficient. We know that taking probiotics every day is safe in general. But since most of the studies are small and short-term, the results are usually inconclusive. This makes it hard to predict how your body will react to probiotics.
With that, you should take what we say with a grain of salt. The best course of action before making any drastic dietary changes or taking new supplements is to consult your physician.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a firm believer in the health benefits of probiotics and she wants to share that with the world. She also loves to write about healthy foods and other healthy living tips.