When Should Seniors Avoid Taking Probiotics?

Many seniors in the United States take probiotics for a number of digestive and bowel issues. These live bacteria supplements infuse the gut with helpful bacteria that aid in digestion, boost the immune system and push back harmful bacteria to manageable levels within the body. Probiotics really help many seniors that suffer from chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and others.

Elder Care in Pineville, NC

Elder Care Pineville NC: Senior Probiotic health

As long as a doctor approves the supplements for the elderly adults, there’s no reason why family caregivers and elder care aides should include the supplements into a comprehensive daily health plan. For the majority of people of all ages, probiotics are very safe. But are there every any times when elderly adults should not take probiotics?


When a medical condition or medicine prevents the supplement from working as it is intended, it is known as a contraindication. Probiotics will generally be rendered ineffective for an elderly person that is suffering from serious medical issues like pancreatitis, open wounds after surgery or with severely compromised immune systems.

Serious or Increasing Side Effects

While the side effects of probiotics are generally minimal, some seniors do experience an increase in bloating, gas or diarrhea. Generally this is because there is an underlying health issue or unknown condition that is not benefitting from the increase in bacteria to the body.

Problems Are Over

Many elderly people take probiotics as advised by their doctor to deal with a sudden issue or flair-up of digestive issues. Examples include after concluding a course of antibiotics or after food poisoning. Probiotics can help restore balance to the body and after time they are no longer needed. However, some people continue to take them. If the doctor advises that the probiotics are no longer needed, then the elderly patient should stop.


Antibiotics are important in helping seniors recover from all kinds of illnesses and diseases. Antibiotics kill off both helpful and harmful bacteria, so probiotics are very good for those that are on a course or have just finished them. However, the timing of taking the supplement is important because if the elderly people take both at the same time, the antibiotic will kill off all the probiotic bacteria. Instead, seniors should take their probiotics at a different time of day as advised by their doctor.

Choose Food Instead of Pills and Powder

There are many probiotic supplements on the market, ranging in price and effectiveness. Because supplements are not tightly regulated in the United States, there are lots of variations in quality. The most reputable companies show their research and list their ingredients, but many don’t. Some seniors and family caregivers choose to benefit from probiotics by buying, making and eating fermented food that contains all natural probiotics. Examples include kefir, kimchee, sauerkraut, pickles, miso and more.

If a family caregiver and their elderly relative decide to stop the probiotics, they need to make sure the doctor supports the plan. Then they should notify other family members, elder care aides and any other senior service helper about the change in plans. Probiotics are very helpful when and if they are needed, but should not be taken automatically.

If you or someone you know needs Elder Care in Pineville, NC, contact the caregivers at Affordable HomeCare.  We provide quality and affordable care for many disabled and elderly loved-ones in our community. Call us at (704) 323-5454 for more information.




About Ted Nagraba

I am the Owner of Affordable HomeCare of Charlotte, North Carolina. Affordable HomeCare provides an alternative to the traditional solutions of nursing homes or other retirement institutions. Now, even with physical limitations, you can live the most independent and enjoyable life possible. With our personalized live-in or hourly care, you can continue to live in the comfort of your own home.