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The Dangers of Probiotics: invasive infection, antibiotic resistance

Discussion in 'The Gut: De Meirleir & Maes; H2S; Leaky Gut' started by guest, Dec 6, 2010.

  1. guest

    guest Guest

    There are two possible dangers of probiotics: invasive infection, resistance to antibiotics

    Invasive Infection occurs by taking probiotics which then translocate into the blood stream. Probiotics, according to the WHO are "live microorganisms". The reported cases where invasive infection occurs after taking probiotics are low but they exist:

    *Transpl Infect Dis. 2010 Oct 7. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3062.2010.00580.x. [Epub ahead of print]
    Lactobacillus probiotic use in cardiothoracic transplant recipients: a link to invasive Lactobacillus infection?

    * AGRO4-08.pdf


    Overall, we conclude that use of probiotics by most
    people is safe, based on a comparison of to the large
    number of people who have consumed them, and the
    small number of people in whom serious adverse
    events have been reported. However, probiotics can
    cause invasive infection and, based on laboratory and
    animal studies, there is a possibility of translocation
    from the gut. Based on these data and available case
    reports, we recommend that probiotics be used with caution in
    individuals who have an abnormal gastrointestinal mucosal barrier,

    and should be avoided in children with short gut syndrome. Probiotics
    should also be avoided or used with care in patients with central
    venous catheters, particularly when lyophilized formulations are being
    handled prior to administration. We also recommend against use of
    probiotics in severely immunocompromised patients and critically ill
    in intensive care units. Similarly, patients with co morbid
    conditions that place them at increased risk of invasive infection
    should avoid probiotics.

    We also conclude that there is a theoretical risk of transfer of
    antibiotic resistance plasmids from some but not all probiotic
    organisms. However the risk appears to be very low.
    Probiotics do not
    appear to cause adverse immunologic, toxic or metabolic effects in
    the gastrointestinal tract or systemically. invasive infection&f=false

    Page 875: All 14 people, where invasive infection was attributed to probiotics, were immune compromised. invasive infection&f=true

    Page 259: Saccharomyces infection is clinically indistinguishable from invasive candidasis.
    Page 260: Saccharomyces boulardii administration is contraindicated for patients of fragile health.

    As a conclusion we maybe can say that probiotics do harm in only very few cases who all seem to have immune dysfunction/suppression. But if they do, they should be stopped immediately.
  2. velha508


    Hi Diesel,

    I'm glad to see this topic raised here. My experience if different than most and may or may not be associated with the concern you posted - basically I was thankfully able to see that probiotics were a huge contributor to my brain fog.

    As they are so strongly recommended everywhere for most everything I was faithfully taking a large variety including homemade kefir and yogurt daily. My brain fog was getting worse and worse. I only really started to improve once stopping all probiotics - I read a single persons post about SIBO on a SIBO forum, he said he only truly healed after stopping all supplemental probiotics and taking a course of some antibiotics and he was ostracized for this view.

    Sometime after having read his post I noticed a huge wave of brainfog following having some kefir. I've experimented with this, d-lactate free and other types, ect. and found that any probiotic I take at any dose causes some level of brain fog that goes away over time if I stop the probiotics and take antimicrobial herbs.

    The brain fog is NOT associated with "die off" caused by the probiotics, the symptoms are only associated with eating not generally associated with the probiotics. As I've said I"ve done quite a bit of experimenting with this as I could not quite believe that they were the source.

    I want to share this as I'm sure I"m not the only one that this happens too, hopefully others will consider if this could be an issue for them and do a trial with some antimicrobials and no probiotics to see if it could help their brain fog too..
  3. Cloud

    Cloud Guest

    Great thread Diesel.

    Not too long ago, I was unable to take probiotics without getting a flare of symptoms that could last from 6 hours to several days. I felt certain it was because of my Leaky Gut which was diagnosed last by Dr Peterson as being "very positive". Culturelle was the only probiotic I found that would not cause symptom flares. I seem to do better with it these days but rarely take probiotics anyhow.

    Anyhow, since I had not heard anyone else talk about this, I could only go on my own interpretation that the flares were being caused by live bacteria (probiotics) passing into my bloodstream and causing an immune this helps solidify that assumption. .

    Another thing helpful about this information is that it helps me to see that when that particular type symptom flare happens for any number of reasons, I am likely correct that it's GI toxins passing through into the blood.
  4. illsince1977

    illsince1977 A shadow of my former self

    Lately I've been unable to tolerate probiotics. I flare terribly. I tolerated them OK when I was taking antibiotics. I'm not tolerating much of anything these days though, so I'm not sure it fits in with this discussion. I'm just glad when I hear I'm not the only one who has reactions after all the good press supplements, especially probiotics, are always getting from others with CFS.

    I was recently treated for SIBO (terrible, painful stomach bloating) with Xifaxin. I think it helped, but the jury's not in on that yet as there was horrible constipation and nausea at mid to end of treatment that I'm still trying to sort out. I'm not sure Xifaxin caused the constipation, which I believe led to the nausea, but it may have.

    I can eat yogurt without flaring.

    Saccharomyces Boullardii actually helped a great deal a couple of years ago after a long course of fluconazole left me with a horrible vaginal yeast infection that the usual 7 day miconazole treatment didn't touch. Now sacro B flares me terribly.

    Even when I was tolerating high dose probiotics (lactobacillus and Bifidus), Culturelle made me flare.

    A gut dysbiosis test a few years ago showed no permeability.

    I'm still battling vaginal yeast, which I think probiotics help, but now I can't take them.

    If any of my reactions make sense to any of you, please let me know.

  5. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

    Thanks for posting this Diesel!

    I've never had any obvious problems with probiotics in the past, in fact I think they helped in a big way about 6-7 years ago, but couldn't afford to keep taking them.

    But recently have had a really bad experience, and in the midst of trying to figure it out, I found out that both probiotics and fungal/candida issues can methylate mercury and other heavy metals. I started the methylation protocol about 2 months ago...did okay at first, but perhaps the combination of the methylation supplements, and the many probiotics I was taking caused a near-suicidal reaction. It's been a reeeeaaally rough month...

    Here's a thread I started yesterday, with some good comments and feedback:

    But very interesting about 'invasive infection'. One of the probiotics I have is a powder one empties into the mouth (and I've done that with other probiotics -- opened the capsule and placed it in my mouth, thinking that it would help fight fungal/candida issues in the mouth as well as the gut.

    In hindsight -- perhaps some of those organisms could've entered the bloodstream quite easily around any broken capillary along the tooth/gum line???

    Something to consider. Thanks again...
  6. allwxrider


    Leaky gut may leak probiotics too

    I am presently using a leaky gut kit from, Brenda Watson has a easy to read book: Gut Solutions. It's included in the kit.
    Book + Probiotics (enteric coated) + Fiber capsule (food for probiotics) + IntestNew

    The IntestNew is said to coat the intestines villa and allow healing.

    Does all this work? Don't know but I feel confident.

    I have a long list of allergic foods and it will be interesting to retest them! :)
  7. drex13

    drex13 Senior Member

    Columbus, Ohio
    I have always had trouble with probiotics. They either do nothing or make things worse. I have found that Align does help with my ibs, but sometimes it doesn't agree with the rest of me, other times it's fine. Weird. I also have found that I cannot take any probiotics w/ prebiotics like FOS. I tried taking Xifaxin over the summer for the ibs. What a nightmare that was. I haven't been that sick for a long time, and I'm still recovering from it.
  8. Tammie

    Tammie Senior Member

    Woodridge, IL
    Probiotics have been by far the worst treatment I have tried for ME.....until taking them I barely had any GI issues; after taking them for a couple of months (2 yrs ago) I have had terrible stomach problems and am now at the point where I can barely eat anything.....I think they triggered a bad infection of some sort (my blood test results have been consistent with this, too), and now I cannot get rid of it
  9. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

    Too out of it right now to post much but just wanted to add my voice to the others that have negative reactions to probiotics. I've tried plenty of different ones, even the d lactic free ones, and they increase my body pain exponentially. It's a different kind of intensity than a build up towards a die-off reaction. It really feels like it's kicking some sort of infection into high gear. Unbearable.
  10. drex13

    drex13 Senior Member

    Columbus, Ohio
    Now that you've mentioned it, my body pain increased also with the probiotics. Hmmmmm......
  11. Glynis Steele

    Glynis Steele Senior Member

    Newcastle upon Tyne UK
    Hi everyone,

    Not sure if this would be seen as relevant, but here is a paper regarding probiotic induced d-lactic acidosis, which may explain reactions to probiotics.

    I have just added a link to the d-lactic acidosis in CFS thread, which I thought might be interesting. Here is a portion of the link

    "The mechanism is likely similar to that documented for D-lactic acidosis in SBS in humans except the etiology of the malabsorption is viral infectioninduced villous atrophy rather than surgical removal of the small intestine."It goes on to say

    "There is a possibility, although it has not been described, that a similar scenario could occur in diarrheic monogastrics, including humans"

    Also d-lactic acidosis can occur without an increase in the anion gap.

    "There are, however, conditions in which the unmeasured anion is not reabsorbed. As a result, the anion will be rapidly eliminated from the plasma, potentially normalizing the anion gap. One example is D-lactic acidosis. This rare disorder is seen with jejunoileal bypass or a short-bowel syndrome; it is due to the combination of bacterial overgrowth and increased glucose and starch delivery into the colon (due to lack of normal absorption in the small intestine). As a result, dietary carbohydrate is converted to D-lactate, rather than the physiologically occurring L-lactate. (See "D-lactic acidosis"). The proximal sodium-L-lactate cotransporter is stereospecific and does not bind D-lactate. Thus, this anion is quickly excreted in the urine".


  12. Carrigon

    Carrigon Senior Member

    PA, USA
    Probiotics and Yogurt are actually bad for people with IBS. It makes us worse. The only time I've found them useful is if I've been on an antibiotic, they will stop the yeast and upset stomachs, but you have to take the plain yogurt that has no sweetener in it for that.
  13. kerrilyn

    kerrilyn Senior Member

    I feel bad because I told my mom she should take probiotics and glutamine because she has been on long-term antibiotics, which I think has caused problems with fungal overgrowth. Then it's a just a vicious cycle of treating bacteria and fungus. I've suspected for many years she's had a problem with Leaky Gut, because she is allergic/intolerant to so many foods/meds. Well, she had a very poor reaction to the probiotics, and possibly the glutamine. She broke out in a rash and 3 months later it's still a problem. Her doc put her on a steroid cream and that just made her feel worse.

    Anyone experience something similar, and have any suggestions to help the rash?
  14. TheMoonIsBlue

    TheMoonIsBlue Senior Member

    Probiotics make me feel worse also-like every symptom increases-I took them for so long just because I kept hearing "they are good for you, they will help restore your immune function, help your candida"------ I can rarely tolerate a very very low dose of a particular one strand probiotic.
    I get tired of trying to explain the reasons why, things that might help a relatively healthy person feel better, might make a person with this disease worse. If they don't understand, that's fine, but atleast accept what the patient says as being the truth for them.
    Who can know a body better than the person living in it?
  15. guest

    guest Guest

    This is so true.
  16. kerrilyn

    kerrilyn Senior Member

    Sorry, I should have been clearer. The rash developed directly after starting the probiotics. She stopped taking them months ago, but the rash has not gone away.
  17. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

    Upstate SC, USA
    Just a thought - Did your grandmother start anything else maybe 1 or 2 weeks prior to the probiotics. She may actually be having a reaction to something she started before taking probiotics due to it may have needed a week or two to build up in the body prior to the rash developing. I had this issue with a glucosamine-chondroitin supplement a few years ago as it took about 4 weeks before rash appeared and I had blamed it on a magnesium supplement that I started a couple of days prior to rash.

    This rash persisted till I finished the glucosamine-chondroitin supplement which I forgot to reorder and had to do without for a week or two. During this time my rash completely disappeared.

    Wishing her the best!
  18. undcvr

    undcvr Senior Member

    Hi I just want to add my thoughts and experiences with probiotics to this. I have been taking probiotics for awhile now, maybe for the past 4 years and honestly i think it has helped me get over a huge bump in my recovery from CFS but my protocol could differ from you guys'.
    - I make my own yogurt at home and eat it everyday. My maintainence amount is about 3-4 times a week. I do not buy from the store. I buy the specific strains that I am looking for, namely the Bifidus family strains. I do not trust the stores as they mostly offer Acidophilus (now renamed Gasseri) only, either way the probiotic count would be too low to have a therapeutic effect. I do not keep the yogurt over nite. If i do not eat it on the day it is made, I throw it out and make another batch for the next day.
    I am guessing that I have at least a few billion/gram probiotic count, way more than what the stores can ever offer, for the yogurt I make. It is very cheap to do it this way too by the way.
    Also Kefir is NOT probiotic, neither is Greek yogurt (Bulgaricus/Thermophilus) or S. Boulardii. None of the probiotics in Kefir can implant themselves onto gut wall and colonise it. Also Kefir probiotics do not reproduce at body temperature, they prefer room or ambient temperatures to reproduce optimally (same for Kombucha). You are trying to supplement the probiotic flora in your gut: you want strains that grow at body temperature. Neither are Bulgaricus or Thermophilus. S. Boulardii, they are not part of natural gut flora in humans. S. Bouldarii is a yeast used in special circumstances only. So just be aware that there are many kinds of probiotics. Ideally the kind that you want are those strains that are already in your gut. You want species that have been shown to live in the large intestines (IBS), namely the anaerobic ones. They come mainly from the Bifidum family.
    Also I do not take any kind of FOS or sugars that are supposed to promote probiotic growth in general. FOS promote bacterial growth arbitrarily, it does not just promote growth of the friendly kind. So if u think about it, you are already immune compromised when you take it, guess which strains will outgrow the rest of them when you take FOS.

    One other thing, there is also the possibility of a Herx reaction when you take probiotics. Taking the probiotics basically means an all out war with the harmful bacteria that is trying to take over your gut. Bacterial cells will die and their toxins will be released. I personally know of 2 people who this happened to but they stuck with the probiotics. Both reported feeling much better after the initial worsening phase.

    I have Never used any Lactobacillus strains in my probiotics at all, except for L.Rhamnosus. Personally the thought of producing more lactic acid in my gut and into my bloodstream put me off.

    I think that whenever we consume any kind of probiotics some of it will end up in out blood stream, they did a study on this i just cannot remember where. Thats how they work to clear up acne anyway, it ends up on the skin to fight the P. Acnes Vulgaris bacteria.
    Timaca likes this.
  19. illsince1977

    illsince1977 A shadow of my former self

    How much do you eat 3-4 times a week? Where do you get the yogurt starter (since you said you don't trust the stores)? Is there any more info on what it's called and where to buy it?

  20. undcvr

    undcvr Senior Member

    Nowadays just one or 2 cups of it a day every other day in the week. At the beginning I was taking like 5-6 cups a day. You can buy a yogurt maker on Amazon, Donvier and Deni comes to mind. I buy the yogurt starter from It is sold in 50 or 100 gm bottles. The thing here is that you are using the probiotics to make your own yogurt so you only need alittle of it. To make about 4 cups of yogurt I use about 1/8 of the 1/4 tsp that is supplied. This way one bottle I buy from customprobiotics lasts me about 2-3 years. I buy the '4 strain Bifidum bacteria' formula. I also add 1/2 to 1 tsp of honey to speed the growth of the bacteria when I put it in the yogurt maker. This way the yogurt will be ready the next morning. I make it at about 8-9pm the night before.

    I am always amazed at this process. I buy the cheapest milk and honey I can find at the store and I transform it into this very nutritious yogurt.
    WARNING: Bifidus-based yogurt does not taste good. This is the main reason I think why it is not in a higher proportion in yogurt you find at the stores. It is not bitter or bad tasting, it just does not taste great. But if you add some jam, fruit or my favorite nutella to it, it is palatable.

    Also I dont heat the milk up until it almost boils and then let it cool like the instructions say this takes too much time. I have faith in the pasteurization process in the US. I just heat the milk up once and when it reaches the temperature range that the thermometer says stop, I stop heating it and add the yogurt starter in.

    Otherwise I keep the yogurt starter in the freezer NOT fridge. It will last for years.

    Btw L. Rhamnosus is the only L strain that I have taken regularly before. It also happens to be the same strain in Culturelle and in Nutricology's Russian Formula. Not exactly the same subtype but definitely the same strain. Thing here is that they can patent the subtype but not the strain.
    Timaca and fprefect like this.

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