For many people, probiotics are one of the most important supplements to take for overall health and wellness.
Environmental factors like chemicals in our food and water, as well as a diet high in processed foods, and many medications, can all impact the diversity of our gut bacteria. A probiotic supplement can help return the natural diversity to your gut microbiome.
There are a lot of probiotics on the market, however, so it can be confusing when you choose a new supplement.
There’s also the consideration of when to take a probiotic for the best outcomes.
The following are some things to think about as far as the timing of when you take a probiotic.
The Best Time to Take a Probiotic
For many people, the best time to take a probiotic is right before bed. That’s when your gut isn’t that active anyway, so you don’t have to worry about getting up to go to the bathroom in the night because you aren’t thinking about it.
If you take your probiotic in the night when the movement of your gut is slow, then there’s more of a chance that it will actually be integrated.
In general, it’s also best to take a probiotic on an empty stomach whenever possible.
Taking a probiotic when your stomach is empty will allow it to move through the challenging stomach environment as fast as possible. This means that if you can’t take your probiotic before bed, you can consider taking it first thing in the morning.
You should aim to take your probiotic anywhere from two to three hours after you eat.
Sometimes when to take a probiotic can also depend on what you’re taking.
If you’re taking a live strain probiotic, you might actually want to take it 20 minutes after you eat.
On the other hand, if you’re taking a soil-based probiotic, they may be more effective when taken with a meal.
You can split up your daily dose too.
You might take half your probiotic dose first thing in the morning and the other half in the evening before bed.
If you’re taking an antibiotic and a probiotic, you can take them at the same time.
With other medications, you might want to talk to your doctor first, because one might decrease the effectiveness of the other.
Don’t Take a Probiotic With a Heavy Meal
Your stomach is small and when you have a big meal, it secretes more digestive enzymes and stomach acid.
It also takes longer for food to move through your stomach when you eat a big meal.
If you take a probiotic right before or after a heavy meal, then your probiotic has to go through your stomach acidity for much longer before it’s able to move to your small intestine, and that can impact how much of the good bacteria integrate into your gut.
How Does the Type of Probiotic Affect When To Take It?
There are probiotics in many different forms, including powders, drops, capsules, and beads as well probiotics by condition/properties such as immune-boosting probiotics. You want to aim to have your probiotics survive your digestive enzymes and acids as much as possible. Probiotics in capsules, tablets, and beads tend to have the best chance of doing that compared to liquids or powders.
Three strains of probiotics are also more stomach acid-resistant than others. These are Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Enterococci.
The higher the quality of your probiotic, the more likely it is going to survive the stomach environment as well.
You need anywhere from 100 million to 1 billion microorganisms to reach your intestine for probiotic health benefits to be noticeable.
Choose a product with at least 1 billion live cultures.
You should make sure you don’t take a probiotic after its expiration date because it will probably be ineffective and always read storage instructions. Some probiotics have to be refrigerated.
How Often to Take Probiotics
You should take a probiotic every day because they don’t stay in your gut for long. Consistency is really important to see the benefits of taking a probiotic.
Are There Any Side Effects of Probiotics?
For most people, there aren’t any major side effects of taking probiotics.
You might have some bloating and gas at first, but that can be a sign the probiotic is working, and gradually those symptoms should diminish.
Overall a probiotic can be a great thing to integrate into your health routine, particularly if you choose a reputable, high-quality product and time when you take it so the maximum amount of healthy bacteria can reach your gut.