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Who Should Not Take Prebiotics?

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Please noteThe information on this website is NOT intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional before making any significant changes to your diet. Please see our disclaimer if you have doubts.

Claudia Münch
Master of Science, Nutrition, obesity and eating disorders.

It is claimed that fiber is healthy and that everyone should have a lot of fiber in their diet. But is it always right? Probably not. Some people should be careful and have a limited intake of fiber. Everyone can probably tolerate something, but how much varies from person to person.

Risks And Benefits Of Prebiotics

You’ve probably heard a lot about probiotics lately. These are the “good bacteria” that live in your gut and help keep you healthy. But did you know that there is also prebiotics? Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. While they both sound beneficial, some people should not take prebiotics. This article will explore the risks and benefits of prebiotics so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not they are suitable for you.

What Are Prebiotics?

Prebiotics are the dietary fiber that acts as food for probiotics, which are live bacteria that provide health benefits when consumed. Prebiotics improve gut health by helping to maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria in the intestines.

Who Should Not Take Prebiotics?

While probiotics offer many health benefits, some people should not take prebiotics.

  • People with Crohn’s disease. This is because they can worsen the inflammation.
  • Prebiotics should be avoided by people with gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). People with these conditions may experience worsened symptoms when taking prebiotics.
  • People who are allergic to pollen or dust. They may also be allergic to prebiotics. These allergies can cause gastrointestinal distress, so it’s best to avoid them if you’re allergic.
  • People with weakened immune systems, such as those who have HIV/AIDS or are undergoing cancer treatment, should not take them.
  • People with chronic medical conditions such as liver and kidney disease should consider avoiding probiotics or prebiotics (consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional).
  • If you have Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), it’s best to avoid prebiotics. SIBO is a condition in which there is an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. This can lead to uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
  • If you have a FODMAPs intolerance, you should also avoid prebiotics. FODMAPs are a type of carbohydrate that can be difficult to digest. When they aren’t properly digested, they can ferment in the gut and cause symptoms like bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
  • Finally, pregnant women and young children should not take prebiotics without consulting their doctor. This is because there is not enough research on the safety of prebiotics for these groups of people.

Precaution: Prebiotics should be used cautiously in people at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding or who take blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin). Prebiotics may increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding in these individuals.

The Risks of Prebiotics

Prebiotics are generally considered safe, but some risks are associated with taking them. Their potential side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating and gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation

Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider if you experience any side effects while taking prebiotics.

Choosing a Prebiotic Supplement!

When it comes to prebiotics, there are a lot of different options on the market. So, how do you know which one is right for you? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. The prebiotic. There are many different strains of prebiotics, and each one offers additional benefits. Choose a supplement with the specific strain(s) you’re looking for.
  2. The CFU count. This stands for “colony forming units”. Generally, the higher the CFU count, the more effective the prebiotic will be.
  3. The ingredients. Check the label to see what else is in the supplement besides prebiotics.
  4. Your personal needs. You should choose a prebiotic supplement that meets your individual needs and health goals.

How Are Prebiotics Good for You?

There are many benefits to taking prebiotics. They can help:

  • Improve digestive health
  • Boost the immunity
  • Even promoting weight loss
  • Sleep well at night

Overall, prebiotics is safe for most people. They’re a great place to start if you’re looking to improve your gut health. Please speak to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Can Prebiotics Trigger an Allergic Reaction?

No, prebiotics does not induce an allergic reaction. Prebiotics has an essential role in the prevention of allergic reactions. They do so via different pathways and mechanisms.

However, if you’re still concerned about possible side effects, talk to your doctor before taking any prebiotic supplements.



Brosseau, C., Selle, A., Palmer, D. J., Prescott, S. L., Barbarot, S., & Bodinier, M. (2019, August 8). Prebiotics: Mechanisms and preventive effects in allergy. Nutrients. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from

Marteau, P., & Seksik, P. (2004, July). Tolerance of probiotics and prebiotics. Journal of clinical gastroenterology. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from

Megan Jacobson SDSU Extension Health Promotions Specialist BCBH. (2019, January 25). Probiotics & Prebiotics: Improving digestive health. SDSU Extension. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from

Prebiotics can improve sleep by influencing gut bacteria, study finds. New Food Magazine. (2020, March). Retrieved September 30, 2022, from

Shokryazdan P;Faseleh Jahromi M;Navidshad B;Liang JB; (2017, February). Effects of prebiotics on immune system and cytokine expression. Medical microbiology and immunology. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from


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