Probiotics should be classified as a drug – not just as a harmless food supplement, scientists have warned.
Fears are growing over supplements abundant in ‘good bacteria’, which have been hailed for their health benefits in recent years.
However a new investigation has now found they can interfere with the brain and affect the ability to think, as well as cause bloating and gas.
Some volunteers quizzed about the side effects they suffered from probiotics even said they were forced to quit their job because of how severe they were.
Taking probiotic supplements can be beneficial for some, however, the University of Augusta researchers advised some caution.
Dr Satish Rao, study author, said: ‘Probiotics should be treated as a drug, not as a food supplement.’
Yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir and dark chocolate, which all contain small amounts of good bacteria, are unlikely to pose any threats, according to the researchers.
Fears are growing over supplements abundant in the ‘good bacteria’, bathmate penis pump review which have hailed for their health benefits in recent years
Thirty volunteers were analysed for the study, of which 22 had confessed to taking at least one probiotic supplement at the time.
The live bacteria, mostly lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, are strong enough to survive the acid environment of the stomach.
All those who had been consuming the live micro-organisms reported confusion and difficulty concentrating, as well as gas and bloating.
Tests revealed large colonies of bacteria breeding in the patients’ small intestines – where they aren’t supposed to work.
Researchers said the bacterial fermentation of sugars in food can result in hydrogen gas and methane, which can lead to bloating.
But the same process in the stomach was also producing high levels of D-lactic acid – temporarily toxic to brain cells.
Some patients had two to three times the normal blood amount of D-lactic acid, which can affect cognition and thinking.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS health" data-version="2" id="mol-7c0bc350-9a35-11e8-bcdf-f183e0ebcaff" website
WHAT ARE PROBIOTICS?
Probiotics are scientifically defined as ‘live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host’.
In simple terms, they’re ‘good’ bacteria that are beneficial to the body. Lactobacillus species and bifidobacterium are the most common bacteria in probiotic formulations.
Probiotics exist naturally in some foods (such as some types of yoghurt and fermented vegetables such as pickles and sauerkraut), but can also be taken in dietary supplement form, via products such as Yakult and Inner Health Plus.
While our digestive system ordinarily contains trillions of microbes, including both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria, sometimes the balance between these can get out of whack.
Diseases, poor lifestyle behaviours (such as not eating enough fruit and vegetables, heavy drinking, smoking, and physical inactivity) and ageing can all disrupt this balance.