Probiotics are the “good” live bacteria/yeasts that live inside your body naturally. These living microorganisms help boost your health. You can get them from certain food sources, while others make use of probiotic supplements, which are also a good way to add good bacteria to your body. You might wonder when could be the best time to take a probiotic?
What Are Probiotics and Why Are They Beneficial?
The whole aim of probiotic dietary supplements is to restore the composition of the gut microbiome and introduce important functions to gut microbial communities, resulting in the prevention of gut inflammation and other intestinal or systemic diseases. They contain live organisms, one dose may contain high doses of a single probiotic strain or multiple probiotic strains.
This good bacteria helps you in many ways. For instance, when you get an infection, there is more bad bacteria present and it throws your system out of balance. What the good bacteria does is help eliminate the bad bacteria away, returning the balance to its normal state. In short, think of it as a way of keeping your body neutral.
Aside from keeping the bad bacteria at bay, good bacteria keep you healthy by sustaining your immune function and preventing inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also:
- Help your body digest food.
- Create vitamins.
- Prevents bad bacteria from entering your blood.
- Breakdown and absorb medications.
When is the Ideal Time to Take Probiotics?
Probiotics work best when they have been consumed on an empty stomach. This is to ensure that the good bacteria make it to the gut as safely and quickly as possible. Otherwise, they might not survive the leg of the journey.
That said, the best time to take a probiotic is either first thing in the morning before eating breakfast or before going to sleep at night. But experts believe that taking probiotics late in the day or at night before bed is more beneficial, especially for individuals who eat dinner on the early side. For most people, the stomach tends to be empty either early in the morning after waking up or at the end of the day before going to bed.
Ideally, probiotic supplements are to be taken up to 3 hours after your last meal and 30 minutes before the next one.
However, you should always check the instructions on the probiotic supplement for the most effective way to take your probiotic.
Best Time To Take A Probiotic
It is dependent upon the specific strain of bacteria so always check the label.
The biggest key to success with a probiotic is consistency. So our recommendation for the best time to take a probiotic is to take one regularly.
Why is Timing Important?
For probiotics, time is everything.
The small and large intestines are the natural environment for probiotic bacteria. There, they perform all their benefits like boosting your immune system, strengthening your digestion, and assisting in other important functions.
But the journey there is quite challenging. Probiotics must survive the stomach’s highly acidic gastric environment if they are to reach the small intestine and colonize the host to fully impart their benefits. Due to its low pH nature, the stomach’s acidic environment can reduce their efficacy in the gut, or even kill them.
Therefore, the goal is to get the probiotics safely through the stomach acids as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s often recommended to take them while on an empty stomach so that the bacteria can last the entire leg of the journey and get to their destination. Even probiotics that come in stomach acid-resistant capsules need to move through the stomach as swiftly as possible to ensure that it does not break open until it reaches the large intestine.
Timing isn’t the only factor to consider when you take your probiotics.
One thing is the amount of food you consume. Everything you eat and drink stays in the stomach for a while as the stomach acid starts to break them down and for the digestive enzymes to split their proteins. The more food you eat, the more digestive enzymes and stomach acid the stomach has to secrete. The heavier the meal, the longer it takes for the food to reach the small intestine, and that makes it even harder for the probiotic bacteria to reach their destination, as well as them being exposed to the stomach acids for a long time.
As we can clearly see, surviving the journey to the gut is no easy task. Upon exposure to the stomach’s low pH levels, living microorganisms like probiotics can begin to deteriorate. Certain microbes, however, have been found to be resistant to acid. Lactobacillus species, for example, have been found to be intrinsically resistant to acid. One study found that resistant bifidobacteria can also handle the stomach’s slow pH ranges.
How to Maximize the Health Benefits of Probiotics
Now that you know the perilous journey the probiotics go through, it’s up to us how to make the most out of it.
Make the right choice
Don’t just pick something without thinking twice. It’s important to pick a probiotic supplement that will suit your specific health needs and whose benefits are clinically tested and backed by clinical studies for best results. This will ensure the quality and efficacy of your product. Also, you can consult with your doctor to help you decide on choosing the right probiotic supplement.
Use probiotics with multiple strains
Single-strain probiotics might offer fewer benefits for your body, so a high-quality, multispecies and multistrain product for optimal benefits would be ideal for you. Each probiotic strain performs different functions. Also, as the bacterial strains work in teams, their combination could help yield optimal and additional results.
Check the label
First, one must check the instructions for recommended use on your probiotic supplement to ensure you are taking it correctly.
Set a fixed intake schedule
Establish a particular schedule for when to take your probiotic supplements so that it can be easier for you to remember. Remember the interval period between the last meal taken, and before eating.
Store them properly
Proper storage also matters. Some probiotics need to be refrigerated so exposing them to too much heat over long periods of time will kill the bacteria while they’re sitting on the shelf.