Is it possible to take too many probiotics?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 93
   Posted 4/26/2010 4:12 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone,

I was taking ultimate flora (recommended by my naturopath) for the last few months, and then added VSL #3 into the mix about 45 days ago. I also started to take Ultra Flora Plus a few days ago, since it may have strands the others don't.

I was wondering if it's possible I am taking too many probiotics, and if this may be causing me some gas/ bloating /mucus recently,

Thanks so much, i love this forum :-)
* 36 Year old Male
* Diagnosed 2008 Mild UC 25cm via Colonoscopy (quit smoking 6 months prior)
* Original treatment plan was oral melasamine (first mezavant, then tried asacol) combined with enemas daily - but started getting headaches from the oral meds about 2 months ago - so had to stop taking them. Had used prednasone for a flare and it worked temporarily but hated the side effects..
* Started VSL #3 five weeks ago but am still having some issues (urgency, cramping, etc) so I resumed my pentasa enemas every night as well to hopefully clear up the flare. Once it's cleared, I will use a maintenance dose of the enamas (twice/week)..
** Current Regime: lexapro/cypralex 10mg, clonazepam (as needed), pentasa enemas daily, aloe vera juice, multivitamin, vitamin D, Fish Oil, MucosaHeal, ProBiotics
*** Dietary Restrictions: No dairy, No spicy, No greasy, No caffeine, No sweetener. Am testing other foods (a work in progress)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 3538
   Posted 4/26/2010 5:46 AM (GMT -7)   
I think we, individually, might have various strains of probiotics that don't agree with us, or that might be too much for us.
Last spring, when I started VSL, when I tried two packets a day I felt queasy. But since January I've been using the VSL DS - which is the equivalent of two packets - and, no queasies or gas or anything, and it's helping a lot. (Maybe the fact that last spring I had the lemon flavored... something in the flavor additives didn't agree..? Although I do not tend to have many food/additive sensitivities.)
I think we each need to experiment.
And, as with so many aspects of this disease, I have found that what's true for me at one point might not be true for me at another point.
Age 54. Diagnosed UP 1983, UC 1986
Prednisone almost 2 years, 86-88
Asacol - 16 pills/day, cortenemas, Rowasa
Metamucil - 2 doses/day since '86
VSL#3DS, Multivitamin, Calcium and D
homemade yogurt each day
hip replacement 4/5/10
Son, 16, dx pancolitis 2007

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5695
   Posted 4/26/2010 6:02 AM (GMT -7)   
It's not harmful but it's a waste of money. Excess probiotics are just eliminated through waste. And excess probiotics could definitely cause increased gas and bloating.

dx proctitis in 1987
dx UC in 1991, was stable until 1998

1998 started prednisone, asacol, pentasa, nortriptylene, ativan, 6MP, rowasa enemas and suppositories, hydrocortisone enemas, tried the SCD diet, being a vegetarian, omega 3s, flax, pranic healing, yoga, acupuncture, probiotics

2000 lost all my B-12 stores and became anemic

2001 opted for j-pouch surgery- now living life med-free

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 748
   Posted 4/26/2010 11:48 AM (GMT -7)   
I have experienced this with different probiotics, and have had to play around with finding ones that see to work well for me. But my acupuncturist thinks that for some (not all), having all of that gas and bloating and feeling crummy might be yeast die off in the gut, and that actually the probiotic is helping get rid of excess yeast.

I have no idea how you figure out if you are one of those people who actually do have yeast overgrowth (well, I know there are questionnaires and such), but I guess that is also a possibility. But overall, I think some probiotics just don't agree with some people.
Getting Closer to Remission!!!!
34 years old, stay at home mom of 2 girls, ages almost 5 and 3.5
Diagnosed in March 2007, symptoms started Dec. 2006
Currently on:
OUT of Humira trial-it stopped working
TAPERING pred (currently on 20mg), started REMICADE 2/26/10, otherwise taking Asacol (6/day), slow-fe iron (double dose), milk thistle, multivitamins, calcium, Ultimate Flora Critical Care, Vitamin C, and starting on 10,000 IU daily of Vit D, as well as GI Revive.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 5590
   Posted 4/26/2010 12:08 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm pretty quick to stop something if it makes me feel worse. I've also heard about "die off" giving bad symptoms for a couple days.

I started with a Lactobacillus probiotic pill delivered refrigerated because we want those little buggers alive don't we? I took it faithfully for 2 months but couldn't tell if it was helping or not. It wasn't hurting.

Anyway I read so much positive about VSL#3 on this and other forums that I decided to give it a go and dropped the first pill in favor of VSL#3 packet. Started out half a packet for the first 2 days and no problems, I even thought it was an improvement. Since then I've been taking 1 full packet ever morning half an hour before eating. My opinion is that it gave me the final boost into "normal" which I have not had in 10 years. This is the truth.

Is VSL#3 the "cure"? No, I had already gotten 80-90% better through gluten-free, dairy-free, fructose-free, grain-free SCD adherence and was looking for that final step. VSL is not SCD approved. They only approve a simple Lacto. acidophilus probiotic, no other strains.

Can you take too many probiotics? Yes, in the sense that you won't know which if any are not good for you by taking too many. I am a believer in testing one thing at a time. UC is amazingly difficult to nail down. Took me 10 years to get a simple remission. I suggest keeping it simple.
Ulcerative colitis 10 years
Jan 2010 started SCD diet but modified by me (tried 5 years earlier no improvement)
Jan '10 first time in 10 years bleeding stopped, by Apr '10 90% improvement
Started reducing meds 6 weeks after colon improved with diet-all OK
Diet: Protein(meat/fish/eggs,no soy),nuts(soaked/roasted),no-starch veg(no potato),no grains bread
eliminated carbohydrates, no dairy except small amt. hard cheese, no fruit/juice (blueberries OK)
Daily: fish oil, Vit D3 1000 2Xday with oil/fat, veggie juice, sunflower seeds, probiotic VSL#3
Highly recommend: the book "Life without Bread" and the SCD Diet

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2009
Total Posts : 1695
   Posted 4/26/2010 1:26 PM (GMT -7)   
jb2-I took eights packets (well four DS) of the VSL for about a month or so. It helped tremendously. I may not have needed it, but like you said, money is a secondary consideration to help and quality of life. I'm down to one packet per day now of the DS.

Gentle Now
Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 184
   Posted 4/27/2010 11:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Like all have said, I think it is an individual call for each of us. The other consideration is that not all probiotics are the same... some are easier on the tum than others (if Lactob. is too strong, some people work up to it with L. Infant., etc). Also, some brands are mainly lactob. when perhaps your Bifid. is what is low, and so on.

Personally, I use varied brands to mix it up - but I don't take more than what "normal" people would so that I don't totally whack myself. Even though I'm not practicing it, I do agree with Imagardener and JB's comments about introducing new things carefully.

Oh, while on topic, I do take occasional Sach. Boulardi (which is sold as a probiotic, though apparently it is really a yeast?) because it is one of the only ones which function to prevent C. Diff from taking hold on your intestinal walls. Muy importante for me as C-Diff bodyslammed me and tried to keep me down for the count.

So, without a degree in this stuff (counting on you, Malkavian!!), it is very confusing. Research as much as you can, and check in carefully with your reactions. I dread keeping a journal (some kind of mental block), but it really can be helpful in this area.
diagnosed with UC in Feb 2007
taking 12 Asacol/day since then
take Rowasa enema as needed
Mega-dosing on iron due to anemia
Have tried dozens of alternate remedies: 
glutamine, sunflower/spinach, omega3, Ayurveda, reflexology, herbal prescriptions, blood allergy testing (avoiding dairy and eggwhites), tried no nightshades, tried SCD (not very strict to be honest), tried Guts to Glory program, briefly tried David Klein diet, mega-probiotics, probiotic enemas, slippery elm enemas, etc. etc. 
I know that the right combination for what my tender tummy needs is out there!

New Member

Date Joined Feb 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 2/14/2014 12:55 PM (GMT -7)   
I've had some major stomach aches lately. I think it was the stomach flu. I had egg burps and vomiting at night from acid reflux. I started taking a super Probiotic and I noticed immediate positive results! I have no pains and can sleep through the night without antacids. Thank you JESUS for guiding me to this simple product. I think if you feel queazy from it it's because the bad bacteria is dying off and can produce a smell.
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