An explanation of why higher dosages of probiotics may be bad

There are several studies where the experimenters tried various dosages of probiotics. The results were interesting because as the dosage increase, there was more intended effect and then suddenly the effect dropped off to almost zero (that is, the probiotics had ZERO effect).

This is important because many CFS people slip into a mentality of “more is better”, and literally overdose on one or more supplements. For probiotics, more is likely not better. Taking 50% more is likely fine, but 100%, 200% or 500% more is likely just throwing money away (of course, we know that all CFS patients are flush with too much money).

I believe a simple explanation of the mechanism that bacteria (probiotics) use may explain the process better.  Probiotics generate a host of chemicals.

  • Some of these chemicals are “purchase orders” to other bacteria to produce more (often these are different species that have learnt to work together).
  • Other chemicals are produced to say “I’m here” to other of the same species.  When this level is low, the bacteria will go into over production (high birth rate). When this level is high, the bacteria will slow or shut down production (low birth rate, or none).

When a large dosage of probiotic is consumed, none of these chemicals may be there and everyone starts reproducing… 15 minutes later, the system is flooded with the chemical and everyone stops reproducing. The bacteria/probiotics effectively triggers it’s own kill switch.

The microbiome is a complex economy. Cooperation happens by chemical signals and the level of the chemicals found. My advise is simple:

  • One probiotic at a time. Preferably a single species when possible.
  •  Start with a low dosages and increase to the recommended. Do not exceed 50% of the recommended dosage.
  • Keep on each probiotics for at least 7 days (10 days is better, 14 days is likely the maximum time before rotating). This also keeps costs in control… and benefit/dollar higher.
  • Daily changing probiotics is likely not good. You are not giving time for colonies to get established.