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Home arrow Health arrow Gut Health arrow The Best Time to Take Probiotics for a Healthy and Happy Gut

The Best Time to Take Probiotics for a Healthy and Happy Gut

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: July 21, 2023
5 min read 1101 Views 0 Comments
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A happy gut is central to keeping good health and wellness. Providing your body with a daily dose of healthy gut bacteria can help your digestive system flourish, but does timing matter? This article discusses the prime time to take probiotics to maximize their effectiveness.

Best time to take probiotics

Keeping your gut healthy can boost and protect your health in many ways.

Taking a probiotic is one way to aid a happy gut. Probiotics deliver healthy bacteria to restore the balance of the gut microbiome, promote digestive health, and support healthy immune system function. Taking probiotics can also encourage the healing of various digestive issues.

If you’re thinking of taking a daily probiotic, remember that the timing of your probiotic matters. Taking probiotic supplements at the right time can increase their effectiveness, giving you better results. It also ensures the bacteria survives and reaches your small and large intestines.

In this article, we bring you an understanding of when to take probiotics for optimal benefits.

When Is the Best Time to Take Probiotics?

You might take a probiotic first thing in the morning or a few hours after your last meal. Alternatively, studies show that probiotics with lactobacillus or bifidobacterial strains are most effective when taken with or 30 minutes before a meal, as those taken 30 minutes after had a low survival rate.

However, the best time to take probiotics depends on the type. Not all probiotic supplements are created equal, and not all probiotic strains have the same qualities. Some are stronger and hold the ability to survive better than others. So, the precise timing depends on these factors.

Many probiotic supplement manufacturers recommend that you take them on an empty stomach. Doing so may allow the probiotics to travel through your stomach acid as quickly as possible. Probiotic bacteria are delicate, and stomach acids can kill or impair them before they reach the small intestine.

Your stomach must produce stomach acid to digest food. Before a meal, your stomach’s environment is at its least acidic because it has not yet started to produce acid to aid digestion. Therefore, a less acidic environment may provide a better chance of survival.

On the other hand, some manufacturers might advise taking their product with food. Ultimately, you must read the label directions carefully and use the product as recommended for that particular strain.

Additionally, different forms of probiotics can also impact timing. You can purchase probiotic supplements such as capsules, tablets, liquids, and powders. You can also buy probiotic food items. Keep in mind things like quality and shelf life, as these will contribute to their efficacy.

The best way to ensure the effectiveness of probiotics is to maintain consistency. You should take your probiotics daily and create a schedule, so you don’t accidentally miss a dose. This is just as important as taking probiotics at the right time to reap the various perks.

How to Take Probiotics?

You can take probiotics as part of your regular routine, ideally alongside a well-balanced diet.

The trick is to follow the instructions correctly. In many cases, you can take probiotics on an empty stomach before your stomach acid is triggered to digest your food. Taking probiotics while your stomach acid is lower will help them pass to your gut without interruption.

Probiotic supplements tend to come in capsule or tablet form. You can swallow them whole with a glass of water. Alternatively, you can take probiotic powder by mixing it with your water. Remember, you can also eat healthy probiotic foods, like yogurt, as part of your diet.

How Long Should You Take Probiotics?

How long you should continue taking probiotics depends on the health benefits you want to achieve. Some people like to take probiotics for short-term relief of digestive issues, like bloating, or they may include one in their routine when they feel their gut health needs a little support.

Others wish to use a probiotic supplement daily for long-term gut health. Most research suggests that probiotic use is safe for healthy individuals. Still, it is vital to identify the right probiotic supplement and the correct duration to ensure the most appropriate treatment.

The different bacterial strains also determine the adequate duration for your probiotic supplement. Discuss your probiotic supplement with your doctor or healthcare provider for a clearer understanding of the benefits and potentially harmful effects.

Should I Take Probiotics With Food?

Different probiotic supplements come with different recommendations. While some advise taking them on an empty stomach to speed up their travel to the gut, others recommend taking probiotics with or just before a meal. You can read the product label to confirm how to use it.

The general consensus is that while you can take your probiotic with food, you should avoid taking it after eating a large meal. That’s because the more you eat, the more stomach acid your body secretes, creating an inhospitable environment for that good bacteria.

So, if the product label permits, you could ingest your probiotics with a meal or light snack. It is better to avoid processed foods, as they do not benefit the intestinal tract. Heavily processed diets can increase intestinal permeability and heighten chronic disease risk.

For a healthy gut microbiota, focus on feeding your body the most nutritious foods. Fill your diet with whole plant foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The high fiber content helps your friendly bacteria thrive while keeping the harmful bacteria under control.

How long after taking probiotics can you drink coffee?

Evidence is conflicting regarding probiotic bacteria and coffee or other hot beverages. The consensus is to take a probiotic around 30 minutes before consuming a hot drink. This eliminates the risk of the coffee’s hot temperature and acidity killing the beneficial bacteria.

If you add a probiotic to your morning routine, schedule it around when you acquire your caffeine fix to be on the safe side.

Drinking coffee can bring several health benefits to the digestive tract as it boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It can improve digestion and encourage more frequent bowel movements. However, coffee can cause digestive discomfort, such as bloating and diarrhea.

Tea can also contribute to good gastrointestinal health. Herbal teas, such as peppermint, ginger, and chamomile, have anti-inflammatory effects. These teas can reduce bloating and gas and may soothe symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive issues.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Probiotics are live microorganisms that help your body find a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria. You might not notice the effects immediately, but your digestive health will improve in time. Common perks include better digestion, regularity, and less discomfort.

Furthermore, probiotic use can improve sleep, increase energy levels, and improve mood. To optimize results, it is necessary to use probiotics correctly and avoid anything that might negate their effects. You should ensure proper storage and keep an eye on the expiry date.

Moreover, you must check when to take a probiotic. For example, depending on the strain, you might take it with or without food. If taking supplements, reading the label properly will unlock important information about how to take them for the most significant results.

Rather than taking dietary supplements, you can get beneficial bacteria from some super healthy foods. Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are great for your gut flora. Different strains can also be found in soy-based products, cereals, and legumes.

Other gut health hacks include eating fiber-rich foods, staying hydrated, eating slowly, reducing stress levels, and sleeping well at night. Exercise is unmissable, as even simple activities like walking can help with constipation and other digestive woes.

Talk to your doctor before including a new probiotic in your diet. Probiotics are safe for most people, but you must remain cautious and particularly mindful if you have a health condition. Let your doctor know if you are taking other medications that may interact with or counteract.

High quality probiotic supplements are always the best. You are more likely to acquire such products from reputable and trustworthy brands in the industry. Before spending any money, do your homework before choosing a brand and product.

Conclusion

Most people take probiotics on an empty stomach for the most benefits, but you may need to take them with food, depending on the probiotic species. Check the label, and look for a high quality probiotic supplement to support your digestive and immune systems.

Consider talking to a registered dietitian for further advice on the best time to take probiotics. Remember, before trying supplements, you must speak with your doctor to ensure safety. Probiotics are not suitable for some health conditions and those on certain medications.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: July 21, 2023
5 min read 1101 Views 0 Comments
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