Digestive Advantage is a supplement intended to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome—or IBS. The active ingredient in Digestive Advantage is Bacillus coagulans, a lactic acid producing bacteria found in the human gut. B. coagulans is generally considered to be beneficial when ingested and current research supports this claim, according to a 2009 article in the journal BMC Gastroenterology. While the side effects of B. coagulans appear to be minimal in most cases, in rare cases some people do experience adverse symptoms and problems.
Digestive Side Effects
Some minor digestive side effects of Digestive Advantage include bloating, gas and cramping, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine—or NCCAM. These side effects may be troubling to some users who are taking Digestive Advantage to treat these same symptoms.
In some people, probiotics such as B. coagulans can cause infection. This typically happens only in people who have other underlying health problems, particularly those of the immune system, according to MedicineNet.
Though it is rare, in some people, taking probiotics can result in an overstimulation of the immune system due to an overabundance of microorganisms in the body, according the NCCAM. This can result in inflammatory reactions in the body, swollen glands and allergy-like symptoms.
Gene transfer is another rare potential side effect of the introduction of B. coagulans to the gut. During gene transfer, snippets of DNA from B. coagulans organisms cross over into the DNA of other gut bacteria. The result is nonfunctioning or poorly functioning bacteria that can populate the gut and exacerbate IBS symptoms, according to the Institute of Science in Society. This can happen in the gut naturally, but introducing large amounts of additional bacteria increases the chances.
It is possible Digestive Advantage will not work at all, according to MedicineNet. Probiotics are regulated as foods, not drugs. That means the FDA does not require probiotic medicine manufacturers to meet any standards of potency in their products. Digestive Advantage does not specify the concentration of B. coagulans in their products. With Digestive Advantage you may not be getting a therapeutic dose.
References and ResourcesNational Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Probiotics
BMC Gastroenterology: Bacillus coagulans
Institute of Science in Society: Probiotic Bacteria in Gene Therapy