The Way to BE

Is It Possible to Get Too MUCH Fermented Food in Your Diet?

So you want the health and beauty benefits of probiotics, but aren't sure how much is right for you? Find out how much is too much and what to do to make probiotics work for you.

Experiencing gas and bloating or other symptoms when you consume fermented foods and drinks?

How can you tell if your symptoms are part of the natural cleansing process or if you've had too much? This article will explain the guidelines for identifying how to get the most of your healing fermented foods and drinks...and when you've had too much.

Probiotics For Life

Probiotics literally means "for life." Probiotics are the healthymicroflora (beneficial bacterial and yeast) that live in your intestines, keeping you healthy and strong. When you have plenty of healthy microflora in your gut, you have a healthy inner ecosystem.

Unfortunately, most people have an imbalance between healthy microflora and pathogenic microorganisms, setting the stage for illness and disease. Candida albicans is just one example and researchers at Rice University estimate that 70% of Americans have candida.

Some of the reasons your inner ecosystem may be imbalanced are:

So what happens when you start to consume probiotics?

Probiotics are powerful invisible microorganisms that go a long way to turning your digestive and immune health around. In fact, in the conference at the International Center for Interdisciplinary Studies of Immunology Georgetown University Medical Center in 1999, Dr. Michael McCann, MD said:

"Probiotics will be to medicine in the twenty-first century as antibiotics and microbiology were in the twentieth century."1

The first thing you may notice is that these "good guys" go to work cleaning up your digestive system, so symptoms like gas and bloating are common at first.

Leonard Smith, M.D., is a renowned gastrointestinal, vascular and general surgeon as well as an expert in the use of nutrition and natural supplementation. As a surgeon, Dr. Smith has first-hand experience of the problems associated with faulty digestion and the surgical necessities they can cause.

For the past 20 years, Dr. Smith has investigated many holistic medical programs, including nutrition, exercise, chelation, stress management and the relevance of mental and spiritual attitudes in healing. Acknowledging the effectiveness of whole organic foods and nutritional supplementation, Dr. Smith strives to stay on the leading edge of research and breakthroughs in the field of functional nutrition.

Too Much of A Good Thing?

Fermented foods and drinks have many benefits for your internal health and external beauty, so it's no surprise that we are eager to add them to our diet.

However, it is possible to get too much of any good thing. This is a common mistake, especially in the beginning. On a quest to heal, you may end up consuming too much fermented foods and drinks.

How much probiotics should you consume? How much is too much?

Probiotics were once used only for complementary medicine, but they are beginning to get recognition in mainstream medicine today. They are generally thought to be safe and while more studies need to be done, researchers believe you cannot get too much.2

However, I believe you CAN have too much probiotics and your body will let you know. You can also get tested, which I outline below.

If you have uncomfortable diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating or other symptoms, back off for awhile or reduce the amount you are consuming, then build up slowly.

Here are some guidelines:

  • The key is to start small: ½ cup of cultured vegetables or 2 oz. of your favorite probiotic liquid is a good place to start.

    You may experience symptoms of "die off," as the "bad guys" (candida, pathogenic bacteria and parasites) die and leave your body. These symptoms can include digestive pain like gas and bloating, headaches, flu-like symptoms and skin eruptions.

  • As your body gets used to fermented foods and drinks, you can start to add 1 additional serving at a time. For example, you may add another ½ cup cultured vegetables or 2 oz. of probiotic liquids with 2 or more meals per day.

    Eventually, you can work up to having a serving of cultured vegetables and probiotic liquids at every meal or possibly, as a between-meal snack.

Are Probiotics for Everyone?

Most people will thrive on fermented foods and drinks and studies show that there are no negative effects from taking them. However, according to Dr. Timothy Buie, MD (pediatric gastroenterologist), about 15% of people with autism (and maybe the general population) can't tolerate any type of probiotic supplements.3

If you don't tolerate probiotics, it could be that you are already "over-fermenting" in your digestive tract.

This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria and yeast.

You can get urinary tests from Genova and Metametrix, for example, that tell you if:

  • You have elevated levels of indican in your urine - which could indicate an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria and toxins.
  • You have an elevated D-arabinitol/L-arabinitol ratio in your urine - you likely have an overgrowth of candida in your small intestine (even if the candida does not show up in a stool test).
  • Your urinary level of D-lactate or D-lactic acid is elevated - this may mean you have too much Lactobacillus (good bacteria), which can create an acidic condition in your body.

If you are over-fermenting, you'd experience digestive upset from taking probiotics, particularly gas and bloating. While a little gas is good, too much is not healthy and it would be best to stop taking them until you have repaired your digestive tract.

If you are over-fermenting, some things you can do in the meantime to repair your inner ecosystem are:

Feeling symptoms of digestive distress like gas and bloating? Help heal your inner ecosystem with digestive enzymes.

Learn more about Assist Dairy and Protein and Assist Full-Spectrum enzymes now!

  • Follow The Body Ecology Diet without fermented foods and drinks. The foods on the Body Ecology program are healing, cleansing and nourishing. This system can heal your inner ecosystem and as you start to feel better, you may find you can tolerate small amounts of fermented foods and drinks.
  • Try EcoBloom. EcoBloom is a prebiotic that feeds healthy microflora in your large intestine. This can encourage the "good guys" to colonize in your intestines to balance out the pathogens.

    Watch your body with any prebiotic (onions, for example), however, because it could also cause you to ferment too much if your body is overridden with pathogenic bacteria and yeast. If you experience the symptoms, like gas and bloating, with a prebiotic as you do with probiotics, you can back off and add it later as your inner ecosystem heals.

  • Use digestive enzymes like Assist Dairy and Protein, which has HCl (hydrochloric acid). Digestive enzymes and HCl help your body digest and assimilate foods and fight pathogens. You may also want to consider supplementing with taurine, which also increases your HCl production.
  • Slowly introduce CocoBioticDong Quai or your favorite probiotic liquid with Saccharomyces boulardii. Saccharomyces boulardii can knock out clostridial infections (bacterial infections) and helps control candida.
  • Add Fermented Foods, like cultured vegetables. Once you are tolerating probiotic liquids, start to slowly add cultured vegetables into your diet and see how you tolerate them.

Probiotics are an excellent way to create lasting health and as you incorporate them into your diet, remember Body Ecology's principle of uniqueness.

Finding a good health care practitioner who can support your natural healing process is a great way to get the support you need. And above all, we are all unique, so listen to your body's signals when trying any new food or supplement.

Leonard Smith, MD, is a featured guest in Donna Gates most important and beneficial at-home training ever, The Body Ecology Detoxification Training Program. No matter who you are or what your health goals, this is one event you don't want to miss ... and it is all from the comfort of your home! Learn More and Enroll Today!


  1. Zhang, Joe. Probiotics: The Future of Preventative Medicine.
  2. Probiotic Microbes Could Be A Key to Good Health. Medical News Today. March 2006.
  3. Sensory Issues and Gut Reactions: Autism and the GI Tract. Presentation by Timothy Buie, MD at the Minnesota Autism Society of America conference April 25, 2003.
  4. Probiotics:Your gut's love affair with bacteria. CBC News. March 2007.
  5. Getting To Know "Friendly Bacteria." CAM at the NIH. Summer 2006.
  6. Smith, Sharon M, et. al. D-Lactic Acid Measurements in the Diagnosis of Bacterial Infections. JOURNAL OF CLINICAL MICROBIOLLOGY, Mar. 1989, p. 385-388

Want more articles like this?

Sign up to receive weekly articles. You'll also receive a 15% off coupon, weekly articles, and tips from Donna and her team.

I'm most interested in:
  • Lyn Leahz

    I took a look at the Body Ecology Diet bundle and noticed the fermented protein shake. The only problem is I have severe allergies to all sorts of things ever since I was exposed to mold in an apartment I lived in. I can't have mushrooms at all and noticed it has mushrooms in it. Is there any other shake I could have for this system? It looks great and like it could work for me to get me back to proper health. But I just can't have the fungus (mushrooms). My email is Let me know. Thanks so much!

  • josh

    fermented foods may help some, but they didn't help me. I gave it time and tried to work through herx symptoms but it didn't work. I can rashes and all sorts of MORE issues. There are people, like myself, that this stuff just doesn't work for. Its not for everyone. I don't believe that fermented foods are as good as what is boasted about online. I think its a fad.

  • Serene

    Thank you for this honest post. It is important for people to understand that they need to get the balance right in their body before going on a fermented diet binge!

  • Kimberley

    I have been having keffir milk for about a month which has stabilised my digestive system very well, but I also make keffir water & add it to wine. When I drink a glass it makes me feel exceptionally sleepy what could be the reason for this?

  • Barbara (Mom) Schultz

    I can't do anything fermented either: beer, cheese, wine, chocolate. What does this mean?

  • Franny

    I went on the digestive pack and the greens capsule and 1oz a day of the cocobiotic. Dealing with a cramp here or there was not bad and gas was ok. I was eating according to BED as much as possible. Organic is not always so easy to come by here. Peppers I wash with white vinegar. I use hormone free chicken, best I can find and afford so far. My body was doing ok. The 3rd week, the candida symptoms increased so bad I felt like I was producing it instead of getting rid of it. It go so bad, my psoriasis escalated to the point where my skin felt like it was melting off, shooting blood and I had to stop. Candida present in my urine causes bubbles in it and that was more then usual as well. Now it is a month later and my skin is finally calming down. I think is was the greens with the sugar content, but not sure and frankly I am scared. I want to get rid of this but I can't deal with my skin that bad. Worried it cause other issues. I have taken candida test and mine is systemic. I have severe psoriasis and asthma among many other health issues. I am hoping my breathing improves by getting rid of this horrible problem. Is this normal or am I just one of those who can not take the fermented foods. I do use Braggs apple cider vinegar regularly in my salads without any issues. Is that fermented?
    Sincerely seeking advice, Franny

  • connie powell

    for about a month or so I have been experiencing a fierce pain from my upper digestive system to my lower.. I have a lot of gas etc. I take a pro biotic every day and now maybe I should stop for a while. Does this condition happen often?

  • Auda

    Hi Auda, Here's the article on too many probiotics I mentioned. I think you need to click on the link to see it.

    Cheers :)


Community Poll

What Health Topics Are You Most Interested In?

Free Shipping!

Free Shipping on any order over $50

Join Our Community


Information and statements regarding dietary supplements/products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and is a result of years of practice and experience by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal, or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your healthcare provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.

Please wait...

Continue shopping
View cart & checkout
Continue shopping
View cart & checkout