Do I Need to Take Additional Probiotics if I'm Already Taking Other Types of Dietary Supplements?

It's perfectly fine to take multiple probiotic supplements at once according to experts. Learn more about taking multiple dietary supplements safely.

Do I Need to Take Additional Probiotics if I'm Already Taking Other Types of Dietary Supplements?

It's perfectly fine to take multiple probiotic supplements at the same time, according to experts. However, it may be beneficial to try different strains of probiotics to meet the diverse needs of the intestine. The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics defines probiotics as living microorganisms that, when taken in adequate amounts, can provide a health benefit to the host. These microorganisms, which are mainly bacteria but also include yeasts, are naturally present in fermented foods, can be added to other food products, and are available as dietary supplements.

Not all foods and dietary supplements labeled as probiotics on the market have been proven to have health benefits. When taking any supplement, it's important to consider if any other product or item in your diet could have a negative impact on your new use of supplements. For example, it's recommended to avoid calcium and polyphenols when taking an iron supplement, as they can inhibit the absorption of heme and non-heme iron. Another example that many people know about is the interaction of grapefruit juices with many active ingredients (depending on their effect on enzymes of the cytochrome P-450 family).

People who are seriously ill or have a compromised immune system should be cautious when consuming probiotic products and supplements. Researchers are still trying to determine what types of diseases and conditions should prevent the use of probiotics. Many probiotic strains come from species with a long history of safe use in food or from microorganisms that colonize healthy gastrointestinal tracts. However, legitimate probiotic strains contained in yogurt or other foods survive intestinal transit. In addition, the amounts of probiotics that studies have determined to be beneficial vary from strain to strain and from condition to condition.

People think that antibiotics kill probiotics, which is true, but probiotics can alleviate the side effects of antibiotics (such as diarrhea, upset stomach, and more). Many products that contain probiotics only include the genus and species on the package, such as Bifidobacterium lactis. Probiotics, found in fermented foods and supplements, help the gut optimize health. The effects were more pronounced when participants with hypercholesterolemia and those over 45 years of age consumed probiotics for more than 4 weeks. However, additional high-quality clinical trials are needed to confirm the specific strain, dosage and duration of treatment required, as well as the type of irritable bowel syndrome (for example, with predominant diarrhea or constipation) that can be effectively treated with probiotics.

It's also recommended to take a probiotic supplement during antibiotic treatment (and after) to maintain your gut microbiome. However, it's best to store some probiotic capsules in the fridge, according to scientific director Mathieu Millette.A Cochrane review of 63 randomized trials involving a total of 8,014 participants (mainly infants and children) revealed that single- and multiple-strain probiotics significantly shortened the duration of acute infectious diarrhea by about 25 hours. Probiotics can transiently colonize the human intestinal mucosa following highly individualized patterns, depending on the basal microbiota, the probiotic strain and the region of the gastrointestinal tract. Between 6 months and 9 years, probiotic treatment with individual strains or mixtures that included Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Propionibacterium strains significantly reduced the risk of atopic dermatitis, from 34.7% in the control group to 28.5% in the probiotic group.

Manufacturers can now voluntarily include CFU in a product, in addition to the total weight of the microorganisms, on the Supplemental Information label.