Do probiotics lead to dangerous side effects?
Probiotics are often viewed in our society as a harmless nutritional supplement. This could change in the near future if, according to some medical professionals, it is possible. The experts are convinced that probiotics should be classified as medicine.
In their current research, the University of Augusta scientists found that probiotics can impair the brain and the ability to think, and can cause flatulence. The experts published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology".
Do probiotics affect thinking skills?
Concerns about dietary supplements that are rich in healthy bacteria and called probiotics are growing. They seem to affect the brain and the ability to think. They also cause bloating. The current study revealed large colonies of bacteria that were in the patient's small intestine, where they shouldn't be.
Probiotics should be classified as a medicine
Some people reported that they experienced such severe side effects from taking probiotics that they were sometimes forced to stop working. Taking probiotic supplements can bring benefits, but the researchers advise caution. Probiotics should be treated as medicines, not as dietary supplements, emphasizes study author Dr. Satish Rao from the University of Augusta.
Food with probiotics is not a problem
Foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir and dark chocolate contain small amounts of the healthy bacteria anyway. According to the researchers, these foods should not pose a health risk. Thirty volunteers participated in the study. 22 of the participants indicated that they used probiotic supplements.
Effects of taking probiotics
The living bacteria, mainly Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, are strong enough to survive the acidic environment of the stomach. All participants who had consumed these living microorganisms reported confusion and difficulty concentrating, as well as flatulence, the scientists say.
D-lactic acid produced can be toxic to the brain cells
The researchers explain that bacterial fermentation of sugars in food can lead to hydrogen gas and methane, which in turn can cause bloating. The same process in the stomach also produces high concentrations of D-lactic acid, which can be temporarily toxic to the brain cells. Some subjects had two to three times the normal amount of D-lactic acid, which can affect perception and thinking.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are scientifically defined as living microorganisms that provide the host with health benefits. To put it simply, they are healthy bacteria that are beneficial for the body. Probiotics are also found in some foods (such as some yogurts and fermented vegetables such as cucumbers and sauerkraut), but can also be purchased in the form of nutritional supplements. While our digestive system usually contains trillions of microbes, including healthy and unhealthy bacteria, sometimes the balance between these bacteria can get out of balance. Diseases, an unhealthy lifestyle (such as consuming too little fruit and vegetables, drinking heavily, smoking and physical inactivity) and natural aging can upset this balance.
How can the mental confusion be removed?
Four patients reported that the mental confusion was so severe many hours after eating that they had to stop working. One patient even reported confusion and bloating within minutes of eating. However, when the volunteers stopped taking probiotics and started taking antibiotics, their mental confusion dissolved. After such treatment, symptoms improved in almost three quarters of the patients.
More research is needed
It is now known that probiotic bacteria have the unique ability to break down sugar and produce D-lactic acid, says Dr. Rao. If you accidentally colonize your small intestine with probiotic bacteria, you've laid the foundation for possible development of lactic acidosis and mental confusion, the expert adds. Further studies are now needed to further examine the results and the identified effects. (as)