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In the course of your lifetime, you have probably heard much on the benefits of eating yogurt for gut health simply because it is rich in probiotics. You were raised on the notion that probiotics can aid in digestion by restoring balance to the intestines and that may, indeed, be the case. Some people who don’t like yogurt, or choose not to eat it often enough or in sufficient quantity to be effective, might even be taking probiotic supplements.

With the right supplements, this is all well and good, but get the wrong supplements and you could literally be adding insult to injury. You may actually have a probiotic intolerance or you might be ingesting probiotics that send your system into overload. Here is some of what you should know about the link between histamine (the body’s response to allergens or injury) and probiotics.

A Word About Intolerance to Probiotics

Before going any further, it is important to understand how someone could possibly be intolerant to probiotics which are nothing more than proteins! Actually, did you know that allergens are proteins? From the foods we eat to the pollen and animal dander that causes the symptoms of allergies, the culprit is proteins in the substance. That’s the plain and simple truth.

Taking that one step further, consider the current confusion about gluten intolerance and how so many people have simply stopped eating bread or foods with wheat that contain gluten. Are you aware of the fact that gluten is the protein in wheat that gives bread its pliability and causes it to be soft and not grainy? Few people are actually gluten intolerant but experience symptoms because they consume way too much of this questionable substance. The same holds true of probiotics, and with less than 1% of the population truly probiotic intolerant, the symptoms of intolerance could very well stem from one or two issues.

The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ugly

Actually, there are good guys and bad guys like in any great crime mystery, and your job is to determine which probiotics are causing the symptoms you are experiencing. Sites like Vitamonk give a great explanation of which probiotics aid in gut health along with a list of those you should avoid. Check those on the taboo list and you will find that some or all of them are in the supplements you thought would aid in digestion.

Digestion isn’t the only issue you may be faced with when taking the wrong probiotics. Probiotics will trigger the body to produce histamines which counteract an allergic response or aid in the healing process when the body is injured. Unfortunately, those on the no-no list cause the body to produce too much histamine which starts a chain reaction that isn’t at all good. The body recognizes an invader and immediately begins producing even more histamine and this cycle continues until it is no longer tasked with digesting those probiotics. Those are the ones to avoid in supplements you take.

Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water!

In the end, you are likely to simply discard the notion of taking probiotics at all. That would be a grave mistake! The right probiotics found on sites like Vitamonk can trigger just the right amount of histamine to be produced. The ‘good guys’ will, indeed, foster gut health as well as reducing or eliminating the symptoms of allergies.

Your key takeaway here is that you’d be making a grave error in judgment if you throw the baby out with the bathwater. The ‘baby’ would be those beneficial probiotics and those are the ones you need. By all means take supplements, but only those considered to be low-histamine probiotics. Too much of a good thing or ingesting the wrong probiotics is just as bad (or worse!) than taking none at all. Go low-histamine and you are literally good to go.


People who are taking antibiotics may benefit from taking probiotics at the same time, a review of evidence shows.

Scientists at the organization Cochrane Collaboration say taking the supplements could prevent diarrhoea – a common side-effect of many antibiotics.

They looked specifically at cases of diarrhoea caused by the potentially dangerous Clostridium difficile bug.

Experts say probiotics could be a “pre-emptive strike” to ensure a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

Antibiotics can disturb the ecosystem of organisms normally present in the digestive system, allowing bacteria such as C. difficile to overwhelm the gut.

And people infected with the bug can suffer from diarrhoea, an inflamed and painful bowel or even death.

People who are taking antibiotics may benefit from taking probiotics at the same time

People who are taking antibiotics may benefit from taking probiotics at the same time

Researchers worldwide have been investigating whether probiotics – cocktails of micro-organisms – can keep gut bacteria in check by competing with more harmful bugs.

Scientists from the independent Cochrane Collaboration looked at data from 23 trials involving 4,213 patients who were on antibiotic treatment for a variety of reasons.

The researchers found 2% of patients given probiotics developed C. difficile-associated diarrhoea compared with 6% of patients who were taking placebos.

The authors suggest probiotics could be particularly useful when there are outbreaks of C. difficile.

Dr. Bradley Johnston, part of the Cochrane team, said: “Implementing the appropriate dose and strains of probiotics in hospitals could provide cost savings and improve quality of life.”

And the review showed that people taking probiotics had fewer unwanted side-effects than those on placebos, including stomach cramps, nausea and taste disturbances.

The authors say more work needs to be done to to pinpoint exactly which types of probiotics work best.

And though probiotics were seen to prevent diarrhoea associated with the bug, they note they did not prevent infections with C. difficile.

They suggest this property needs further investigation to help them understand more about how probiotics work.