Avoid Probiotics If You Have These Health Issues

Probiotic usage has been studied extensively for use in healthy adults, men, women, and children showing no adverse reactions confirming they are safe to consume.

There are however some exceptions to this statement for certain groups of people because they may be contraindicated with certain medications or conditions.

If you are unsure if you can take probiotics or not, you should ask your doctor first since only they will know your full health history.

Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Fungemia

In 2003 a worrying case report by the Department of Internal Medicine, Santiago, Chile appeared in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. In it, they shared two case reports of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Fungemia which is a life-threatening infection associated with Saccharomyces boulardii probiotic yeast ingestion.

The first person in this report was 42 diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, diabetes mellitus type I, and had previously had a kidney transplant. During a hospital visit, they developed Diarrhea & C. difficile. that was not responding to antibiotic treatments. The doctors then prescribed 250mg of saccharomyces boulardii probiotics for 7 days.

They initially responded well to the probiotics but on day 20 they went on to develop a fever and blood cultures confirmed that she had developed Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Fortunately, she was treated intravenously with antibiotics and the immune system responded well.

This first case highlights how those with serious illnesses should not take Saccharomyces Boulardii probiotics. This probiotic bacteria differs from Lactobacillus & Bifidobacteria in that it's a type of yeast and clinical research is extremely limited. The case report also shared another report of a 41-year-old man with HIV who also developed S. Cerevisiae after Saccharomyces Boulardii treatment.

Short Bowel Syndrome

This case report published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Department of Pediatrics, Madigan Army Medical Center, shares two cases of Lactobacillus Bacteremia in children with short gut syndrome.

The first case involved a 36-week-old gestation male infant who had short bowel syndrome which resulted in a shorter-than-normal intestine. The baby was given 1 capsule daily of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG bacteria from Culturelle probiotics.

After 23 days of taking the probiotic supplement, the baby started to experience diarrhea along with fever and later blood cultures showed that an antibiotic-sensitive lactobacillus species began to grow which was diagnosed as Lactobacillus sepsis. It's thought the condition of the intestine resulted in the transmigration of the probiotic bacteria but thankfully the baby recovered fully.

The second case was of a 34-week-old infant with gastroschisis which is a birth defect resulting in a hole in the abdominal wall. At some point, the baby was prescribed the Lactobacillus GG Culturelle probiotic and also went on to develop sepsis highlighting how infants with bowel defects should not take Lactobacillus bacteria probiotics. 

Antibiotic Usage

There is sufficient evidence to confirm that taking a course of Antibiotic can deplete your microbiome of all of its good bacteria. It isn't possible to only remove the bad bacteria causing infection and leave the good bacteria.

It is possible to take probiotics along with antibiotics but if taking a supplement with anti-microbial properties or antibiotics you should wait at least 2 hours before taking any probiotic supplements. Probiotics do not usually contraindicate with antibiotics but you should still check with your doctor first.

Expert Opinion

Tina Didari a Pharmaceutical Scientist From the Department of Microbiology at Islamic Azad University, provided the following statement on the safety of probiotics in a 2014 systematic review after her research showed cases of bacteremia & fungemia in some individuals.

She said that there was "overwhelming existing evidence suggests that probiotics are safe" but not for everyone. For critically ill patients in ICU, sick infants, postoperative patients, and those who were immuno-compromised, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotics could lead to sepsis, fungemia, or GI ischemia.

Final Thoughts

As you can see probiotics are generally safe for the vast majority of people provided you do prior research and first consult with your doctors. If you have any of the conditions listed in this blog post then you should avoid taking probiotic supplements.

Probiotics may have minor temporary digestive side effects but they have been clinically studied and shown to be safe in non immunocompromised healthy individuals. Always make sure to purchase probiotics from an FDA, GMP, and licensed company. 

If you experience any side effects at all then discontinue use immediately and talk to your doctor asap. The content in this guide is not medical advice and probiotics should not be used as a replacement for medicine prescribed by your Doctor. I am not a Doctor.

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