A popular supplement advertised to improve your health, might not be all that! Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia studying probiotics find the supplement could be hurting and not helping if you are already healthy.
Neurogastroenterologist and Director of the Digestive Health and Clinical Research Center at the Medical College of Georgia says you are better off avoiding probiotics if you are otherwise healthy.
“We encountered a group of patients who were coming with somewhat unusual combination of symptoms,” Dr. Rao explains. “These folks were complaining of brain fogginess in association with gas and bloating.”
The common factor—all of these patients were taking probiotics regularly.
Dr. Rao says plenty of conditions and/or allergies cause bloating, but it was the added brain fogginess that was odd. This was more intense than the typical afternoon slump. not talking about the typical afternoon slump.
“It is not like they had the symptom for one day,” says Dr. Rao. “All of them had the symptom for a minimum of 6 months. Many of them have had it for 5-6 years.”
He gave an example of how the symptoms affected one patients work.
“In her brain foggy state she was inadvertently signing off checks that she would normally be extraordinarily diligent about,” Dr. Rao describes.
Dr. Rao points out that probiotics are not all bad. The supplements can help if something has happened in your gut and you need to restore it. However, for people with a functioning GI system, probiotics add bacteria where you already have it.
“There is evidence that probiotics can be helpful in diarrheal illnesses, in people following antibiotic use where the gut colonic flora has been significantly messed up,” Dr. Rao explains. “There is no need to take probiotics routinely. There is no evidence that probiotics do anything in otherwise healthy individuals,” he continues.
If you are experiencing the combination of symptoms—gas, bloating brain fogginess and you are taking probiotics—Dr. Rao recommends seeing a gastroenterologist for help combating the issue. Dr. Rao also says you are better off getting your probiotics from the food you eat, rather than taking a capsule.