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Probiotics And Problems That Can Come With Them

By Mikhaila

If you’ve read my other blog posts, I’ve mentioned a bad reaction to probiotics. I was hoping it was the strands that I was taking because the reaction has happened a number of times.

This is what happens

  1. I start a high dose of probiotics (generally acidophilus is the main strain) – don’t do this if you’re sensitive
  2. 2-3 days later I’m an emotional disaster, my skin starts breaking out, my digestion gets destroyed (diarrhea).
  3. I take a break for 2-3 weeks which is how long it takes to recover
  4. I start a low dose probiotic (literally one for babies)
  5. 4 days later I’m an emotional disaster, my skin starts breaking out, and my digestion gets messed up again

So I made sauerkraut in the hopes that it was certain strains that were bothering me and not all probiotics. I’ve been eating a tablespoon of sauerkraut at night for 4 days and I can feel it hit my mood.  I’m tolerating it much better than the pill form of probiotics, but I’m going to have to limit it to a tablespoon once a week and see if that’s okay. So that’s a bit of a downer, apparently, I have a lot more healing to do before I can introduce probiotics in!

Don’t incorporate sauerkraut or probiotics in until you’ve done the elimination diet for a good month and you can monitor your symptoms. I’m hoping most of the people who read this blog aren’t as sick as I was and will be able to tolerate far more foods than me. If you can tolerate it, eat it! It’s good for you and good at rebuilding your microbiome in the right direction (not bacteria or candida that survive off of sugar). If you can’t tolerate it, don’t give up, maybe you just need some more time to heal (that’s what I’m hoping for me). It’s possible (I suppose) that my gut damage is great enough that my body is reacting to the introduction of bacteria. I’ll give it some time again but sauerkraut has gone much better than the pill versions of probiotics.

The other thing I might do, just because my diet is so limited, is cook the sauerkraut. Now apparently this destroys all the lovely probiotics that have been growing in there, but maybe that’ll at least mean I can tolerate it better. So I’ll go to a tablespoon once a week, and perhaps cooking it. I’ll update you guys to let you know if that’s more easily tolerated.

If you’re super sensitive like me, eating fermented vegetables doesn’t mean you’ll be able to eat the same vegetables unfermented. Fermenting gets rid of a lot of the sugars present in them (the bacteria eat it).  I’ll update in a couple of weeks on my reaction to cooked sauerkraut.

Here’s the sauerkraut recipe. It’s delicious if you can tolerate it.


Join the Conversation


  1. Same problem. The strange thing is that I’ve been eating sauerkraut all the winter with no consequence whatsoever, stopped in the spring (felt kind of repulsion which I interpreted like saturation), ate it again 3 weeks ago and this is when they destroyed my digestion. I’ve tried with a high dose of probiotics and they seems to have no effect. I wonder if there’s a connection between seasonal food and digestion.

    1. Who knows. There are so many random connections. My mom used to take probiotics and then stopped and restarted and had an emotional/digestive reaction to them for the first time this spring. We’re not sure why either, maybe the break?

    2. It could be. I read somewhere that they found cases where people became celiac after they stopped eating gluten for a long time. However I don’t know if this make sense for sauerkrauts. I tried to eat them again after they messed me up (I thought it was the mustard) and the reaction was the same once again. I don’t know. This whole biome thing at the beginning made a lot of sense, but since it’s not possible for now to understand how it works it seems like another non-explanation, like genetics. The only good thing is that it is something you can tinker with your diet and I’m seeing results. Thank you for your good work!

  2. I sometimes find that lactobacilis strains aggravate people with bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). I know you said you think you probably have some kind of candida and dysbiosis and wouldn’t be surprised if there’s SIBO going on too. In that case, Bifidobacteria-only strains or straight supplementing with GOS (or XOS, kind of the same thing) prebiotics that can help feed the Bifido already present in the colon, and help them produce butyrate which has great anti-inflammatory and gut-feeding properties can help. Not sure if that helps at all!

  3. Hey Mikhaila,

    Very interesting topic this. I’ve been all over the place with diets, my main focus has been just to keep weight or gain weight. I’m very active, so just getting my kcals in is quite tedious for me.

    Last couple years, I’ve been fatigued and have had an oscillating depression. Last couple months I’ve been crazy tired and I’ve felt cognitively slow – been forced to sleep 1-2 hours in the afternoon, always going in with the idea of a vitalizing 25min power nap, but ending up snoozing myself into a beautiful dark sleep..

    I’ve decided to do your elimination diet, but I need to be at around 3000 kcal. And dairy is the staple of my diet, protein shakes and milk to every meal(for the extra calories and the protein) also a lot of cottage cheese.

    Do you have any ideas for high kcal foods that are approved for the elimination diet? Also, do you take any vitamins or supplements?

    Really glad to see the improvements in your health the last couple years, kind of amazing.


    1. Use a lot of fat. Eat high fat meat, coconut oil, and olive oil. I would bet good money that dairy is contributing to your afternoon naps and depression. Even whey that’s lactose free was a problem for me. Up your fat intake and meat intake to make up for lost calories. You’re going to need to eat quite a bit. Oooh get some MCT oil as well to add to tea. Good luck!

  4. I’ve had similar reactions, and the refrigerated women’s probiotics from Garden of Life RAW Probiotics don’t give me this effect. Those have over 30 different strains with ones clinically shown to be beneficial for women.

    Gelatin and collagen have been shown to help with leaky gut syndrome. If you haven’t checked them out, Weston A. Price has great cookbooks on making broth and incorporating it into recipes, and a baby cookbook too!

  5. I’ve gone through a couple of your posts and reading the change you have experienced in the past year and a half is quite amazing. I read a book called Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Russian neurologist Dr Natasha Campbell McBride earlier this year and her whole dietary protocol lines up exactly with yours. She claims a compromised gut wall and microbiome lead to a host of psychological (depression, bipolar disorder etc) and physiological pathology. I was skeptical of her claims despite her clinical results (and her resentment for the modern farming industry and contempt for the field of psychology turned me off) so I pretty much passed on the diet. A couple of months down the line i heard your father talk about your recovery using a very similar diet. You have pretty much motivated me to get back on track with my diet! oh and seeing as you are a recent mother, it might help to give the book a look. She talks about babies and how to intervene while they are young.

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