Do Probiotics Cause Bad Smelling Gas? (FART GUIDE)
When I first started taking probiotics I experienced a lot of embarrassing flatulence symptoms.
One of the first times I took probiotics was actually when I first met my boyfriend's parents. I will let you imagine what that was like.
I always recommend taking probiotics for the first time during a holiday or weekend when you don't have to be out in public.
Do Probiotics Cause Gas?
While probiotics do have many benefits they also for a lot of people cause a lot of initial digestive symptoms in the first week or so of taking them. This is more common with stronger high CFU probiotics and if your gut hasn't experienced a diverse range of good bacteria before all at once.
Bloating, Gas, Farting, and Flatulence can be caused by using probiotic supplements. This is a good sign though and it means that the probiotics are making a difference in your microbiome. Some people even report fouls smelling gassy farts especially if you have SIBO according to studies.
If the probiotic bacteria in your supplement died in your stomach before reaching your intestines then that would mean that you would not experience any symptoms and likewise no benefits later on. Different probiotic strains make give different people varying benefits and side effects like gas.
It's totally normal to experience gas when taking probiotic's!
So it's normal to experience gas when taking probiotics and you don't have to worry. Some things you could do to limit this if it bothers you would be to take a lower CFU count or take 1 capsule per day instead of a recommended 2 for example. If you experience less gas when taking a lower CFU then slowly try to increase the dosage over time.
Gas from taking probiotic supplements should pass after the first week of taking them consistently according to studies but if get's worse, doesn't pass or you experience foul-smelling gas you may need to try a different probiotic supplement or take a break. If you experience any symptoms that worry you, contact your doctor asap.
What Are Probiotics?
There are bad bacteria that can make humans sick and good friendly probiotic bacteria or yeast that can help the microbiome to function properly by restoring gut flora. If you already have a diverse healthy gut they probably won't do much for your health.
You can feed your gut probiotic bacteria by eating fermented food & drinks like Yogurt, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Miso, Natto, Tempeh, Kefir, Some cheese's or by simply taking high quality probiotic supplements. Probiotic's don't work instantly and sometimes it can take months to experience benefits. What thing to note is that if you are eating a lot of fermented cabbage then this is likely to make you fart a lot more than just taking a probiotic supplement.
How Do Probiotics Work?
The amazing thing about probiotic bacteria is that they don't just work in one simple way for everyone. Different probiotic bacteria may have different effects since no one microbiome is the same. Let's start with the journey they take through your digestive tract.
When you take probiotic foods or a supplement they first must pass down the esophagus to reach the stomach. If you have a lot of stomach acid or have eaten a heavy meal then the bacteria could die off at this stage. After some time, the capsule will pass through to the small colon and then finally the large intestine (upper bowel).
It is in the large intestine that probiotics will hopefully live and grow with the help of prebiotic fibers as a food source. Through the large colon, the probiotic bacteria can then work via the gut & brain axis, the gut & skin axis, and more. They may be able to crowd out bad bacteria by competing for their food source thus starving them.
Signs Probiotic's Are Working
Probiotics are funny in that while they may give you excess gas when you first start taking them, they can also provide relief from gas over time if you stick with them long enough. Some initial signs that probiotics are working include the following.
Because of the way that probiotic bacteria change the composition of your gut flora, gas is one of the top signs that probiotics are working in your microbiome.
Some sources say that the average person farts between 10 and 20 times per day so anything less than that is healthy in a human. Probiotics shouldn't increase this number by much.
Depending on different probiotic strains, CFU counts and a person's unique microbiome. It's nothing to be worried about though it's a sign that your digestive system is working naturally.
Usually, the gas will go away after 1 to 2 weeks of introducing new probiotic bacteria into the gut. The key is to take things slowly.
If you have any gassy symptoms that worry you then you should contact your doctor asap. This guide is not medical advice and excessive foul-smelling gas could be caused by something else that needs to be checked out.
It's best to stick with probiotic supplements to limit gas as fermented foods like Kimchi & Sauerkraut could cause more gas than usual.
Alicia Harper is a NASM-CNC Certified nutritionist and the editor of ProbioticReviewGirl.
After suffering from recurrent gut issues she spent years researching Probiotics and the microbiome.
She has tested 29+ different Probiotics and is a probiotics expert. As a probiotic fanatic, she has valuable knowledge to share with the world.