Probiotics May Not Work For Everyone and Can Potentially Be Harmful


While many people take a probiotic supplement thinking it will boost their digestive health, new evidence indicates that probiotics may not work for everyone and can potentially be harmful in some situations.

In a new study, researchers first measured gut microbiome levels in participants. Half were given a generic probiotic supplement while the other half were given a placebo. The probiotic strains failed to colonize – or live – in the gut of many of the patients, meaning the probiotic was useless, researchers reported in the journal Cell. They also noted that they could predict which people would be able to colonize the probiotics and which couldn’t based on the individual’s microbiome at the outset and gene expression in the gut.

The fact that many people were resistant to probiotics “suggests that probiotics should not be universally given as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ supplement,” senior author Eran Elinav, MD, PhD, an immunologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, said in a statement. “Instead, they could be tailored to the needs of each individual.”

A second study, also published in Cell, examined whether giving probiotics after a course of antibiotics helps the gut microbiome return to normal. While antibiotics can kill bacteria that make you sick, they can also wipe out “good bacteria.” Researchers divided volunteers that were given antibiotics into 3 groups: The first was to watch and wait for the microbiome to return to normal without any intervention; the second was given a generic probiotic; and the third was given a microbiome transplant containing the person’s own bacteria before being given an antibiotic.

Results showed that it took months for the microbiome to return to normal in the probiotics group – a surprise finding – while it took only days in the third group.

“Contrary to the current dogma that probiotics are harmless and benefit everyone, these results reveal a new potential adverse side effect of probiotic use with antibiotics that might even bring long-term consequences,” Elinav said.

DISCLAIMER: MedShadow provides information and resources related to medications, their effects, and potential side effects. However, it is important to note that we are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content on our site is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Individuals dealing with medical conditions or symptoms should seek guidance from a licensed healthcare professional, such as a physician or pharmacist, who can provide personalized medical advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

While we strive to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented on MedShadow, we cannot guarantee its completeness or suitability for any particular individual's medical needs. Therefore, we strongly encourage users to consult with qualified healthcare professionals regarding any health-related concerns or decisions. By accessing and using MedShadow, you acknowledge and agree that the information provided on the site is not a substitute for professional medical advice and that you should always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns.

Recommend More Articles Like This?

Show Comments (0)
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x