Should You Take Probiotics With Or Without Foods
This is a great question. For starters, probiotics are typically packaged in foods, such as yogurt, kefir, and fermented vegetables, so it makes sense to take probiotic supplements with food. And despite what you may have heard, the stomach is more acidic when its empty, and this is a problem because most probiotics are very sensitive to stomach acid. In fact, on average, 75 90% of probiotics are killed off by stomach acid and never reach the gut, which is where they need to be in order to exert their probiotic benefits.
Yet, if the stomach is full, the probiotics are also likely to hang out in the stomach longer, and that means they may be exposed to stomach acid, bile salts, and digestive enzymes for longer periods.
So, supplement with probiotics up to 30 minutes before a fat-containing meal or snack rather than on an empty stomach or overly full stomach .
Why Your Meals Matter
High Stomach Acid
Drinks like coffee can provide large amounts of stomach acid and the hot boiling water can also kill most lactobacillus probiotic strains. Fluids like vinegar and alcohol are also particularly harmful so don’t think about washing your supplement down with these liquids.
Large meals can also lead to the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes so if you eat large meals and this sits in your stomach more acid and digestive enzymes will be produced. If you are rushed for time then at least try to eat something small snack that can be digestive easily. Bananas, Almonds and Avocados are good options and they also include great prebiotic fiber.
I often see people leave 1-star reviews for probiotic supplements claiming that they didn’t work and that those supplements are scams. Many times the reason the supplement didn’t work is because they chugged down the capsule with a large Indian curry and double espresso coffee.
Take Probioticswith Specific Foods
Again, we have one study in a model digestive tract that shows that more probiotic bacteria survive when consumed with fats.
And once again, we need to consider this study in light of all of the research that confirms the health benefits of probiotics. Nearly all of these studies prescribed a specific dose of probiotics without any requirements for how patients should consume them.
Bottom line: Take your probiotic supplement with or without food.
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Youve Taken The First Step Whats Next
Here at Renew Life, we believe the journey toward being stronger for life is all about the little things we do every day to keep our minds and bodies healthystarting with supporting a balanced gut.
The human gut is a veritable powerhouse of potential, which is why we make products specifically with the health of your entire digestive system in mind. Our single-minded focus has made us a leader in the industry, and all of our probiotics, digestive enzymes, herbal cleansing formulas, fiber and specialty supplements work together to help you achieve digestive balance and harmony.*
All the best on your journey!
Taking Probiotics With Antibiotics
Many people experience nausea, diarrhoea, tummy upsets, bloating, and even vomiting when taking antibiotics. Some doctors recommend taking a probiotic supplement at the same time to help with these digestive side effects.
Even after taking antibiotics, you can boost your own beneficial bacteria with probiotic foods and supplements. They contain microbes that maintain your gut environment and help regulate your microbiome, keeping opportunistic pathogens at bay and beneficial ones thriving.
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Should I Take Probiotics With Other Medication
Generally, it’s safe to take your probiotic with other supplements in the morning or at another hour of your choosing. Antibiotics, however, should be taken alone, and a doctor may instruct you to discontinue other supplements due to temporary illness. Dr. Asike maintains that probiotics are generally safe for most individuals, and the likeliest side effect may be some temporary bloating or extra gas, which usually sorts itself out over time.
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.
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How Stomach Acid Works
The worst time to take probiotics is immediately after a meal, as this means that your digestive system is hyperactive after digesting the meal consumed by you earlier on, and your stomach is full of acid with a PH of 1.5 and 2.5 but in the large colon the PH is far higher making it a better environment for probiotic bacteria to survive.
Stomach acid is known to be lethal to most types of gut bacteria, including the good ones which are found in probiotic supplements. If you take them after having a meal, then most of the good gut bacteria will be killed as soon as they reach your stomach.
Because it can take up to 6-8 hours food to pass your digestive system if you eat a large meal you should take this into account when timing your probiotic usage. Eating larger meals will require more time needed to wait before and after your meals.
Taking a walk after a large meal has been shown to speed up the digestive process so if you want to take your probiotic supplement after your evening dinner then simply go for a walk first instead of laying on the couch. This may help limit stomach acid production.
So What Are Prebiotics
Prebiotics are compounds that help beneficial gut microorganisms grow and survive.
Prebiotic foods contain complex carbohydrates that cant be digested and dietary fibres that resist digestive processes in the stomach and small intestine.
They pass undigested into the large bowel where they are fermented by the healthy good bacteria.
To be called a prebiotic, they need to undergo the processes above, and be shown in clinical trials to selectively improve the microorganism composition in the gut.
Not all dietary fibres are prebiotic. Common ones include complex carbohydrates called fructo-oligosaccharides, inulin and resistant starch.
You can find foods at the supermarket with added prebiotics, but non-digestible carbohydrates occur naturally in many everyday foods, including:
grains: barley, rye bread, rye crackers, pasta, gnocchi, couscous, wheat bran, wheat bread, oats
legumes: chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, chicory, fennel bulb, garlic, green peas, leek, onion, shallots, spring onion, snow peas, sweetcorn, savoy cabbage
fruit: nectarines, white peaches, persimmon, tamarillo, watermelon, rambutan, grapefruit, pomegranate, dates, figs
nuts: cashews, pistachios.
Additional sources of resistant starch include under-ripe bananas, cooked and cooled rice, cornflour, cooked and cooled potatoes.
For babies, breast milk is naturally rich in oligosaccharides.
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Probiotics Improve Gut Health
Probioticshave been shown to positively affect digestive health in several ways:
- Increase the diversity, or health, of the living organisms in your digestive system.
- Fight pathogens and their toxins.[2,3,
- Brain fog
Ok, weve established that probiotics are good foryour digestivehealth and your overall health. Lets take a closer look at somemyths and facts about taking probiotics.
The Best Time To Take Probiotics: A Recap
Virtually all experts recommend supplementing with a probiotic daily, as gut health is so important. And while you may be able to optimize the effects of probiotics with proper timing, taking them any time is likely better than not taking them at all even if its not the right time. Yet, by following the ideas aboveincluding knowing why youre supplementing with your probioticsyou can find the best time to take probiotics to optimize your health.
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Its A Personal Choice
Whether you choose to take your supplement first thing in the morning, just before bed, or any time in between, rest assured that in taking a probiotic supplement youre actively contributing to your continued health. Do what works best for you. Change what youre doing if its not working.
Taking probiotics at the wrong time is better than not taking them at all. You may simply have to wait longer to see an effect as the concentration has been reduced.
Should I Take Probiotics On An Empty Stomach
The concern here is that bacteria are delicate by nature, and that they may not survive stomach acid. Taking probiotics at a certain time of day could help you to ensure the highest survival rates of your probiotic. Confusingly though, different healthcare professionals and probiotic manufacturers, have different guidelines about when is best to take these supplements! So let’s try to clarify a few things.
First of all, let’s look at the logic behind having probiotics on an empty stomach, advocated by some. Seeing as acid is stimulated by consumption of food, it is thought that taking probiotics on an empty stomach is better because there is less residual acid in the stomach. However, its also important to note that there is a lag time between when food is eaten and when acid is released into the stomach. As a nutritionist, I like to recommend that clients take their supplements with a meal, as the food helps to buffer the effects of stomach acid it may also help to facilitate the passage of the probiotics through the stomach, and ensures that they are well mixed with the stomach contents as they pass into the small intestines.
We often get asked if you can take a probiotic before bed, well, some probiotic supplements that contain prebiotics could lead to initial bloating and gas, so these products might be best taken before bed. To learn more about prebiotics, read our article: What are prebiotics?.
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Probiotics Work With Antifungals To Control Yeast
Researchers have found that combining probiotics and antifungals is a powerful way to restore beneficial bacteria and reduce harmful fungi in the gut.
In a study published in Digestive and Liver Disease, antifungals were shown to control the overgrowth of yeast and fungi by breaking down biofilms. At the same time, probiotics helped to restore and maintain the balance of gut flora in those with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohns.
Interestingly, the researchers also found that members of the same family who have IBD also tend to have both yeast overgrowth and bacterial imbalances in their gut microbiome. These organisms appeared to join forces to make robust biofilms that made intestinal inflammation even worse.
Another benefit of taking probiotics alongside antifungals is that they will help support your normal digestive processes. When on the Candida Diet, you may suffer some ill effects of yeast die-off, which can include bloating, gas, indigestion and other issues. This is due to the Candida yeast releasing unpleasant toxins as it is broken down by the antifungals.
A quality probiotic supplement can prevent these digestive symptoms, reducing bloating and diarrhea. These beneficial bacteria help to break down the food as it moves through your intestines, allowing your body to absorb nutrients more efficiently, while also easing discomfort.
Why You Should Take Probiotics With Your Biggest Meal
To answer that question thoroughly, first lets discuss the importance of choosing the right probiotic supplement.
Probiotic supplements are formulated to deliver high quantities of beneficial bacteria to your gut while working with your bodys normal functions, including the gastric acids in the digestive system.
In that sense, probiotic supplements can be a life jacket for your beneficial bacteria.
It is important to note that the number of CFUs in a probiotic isnt that important. This is a point of confusion for many people, due to misinformation and misconceptions . Survivability, on the other hand, is critical, and if your probiotics are not taken at the right time and not formulated for survivability, it doesnt matter how many probiotics are in your supplement.
Like any nutritional supplement, probiotics from different sources can vary greatly in effectiveness. Survivability studies with some of the leading probiotics indicate that 99% of the strains cannot survive digestion. This shocking finding suggests that most people are paying for products with less than 1% survivability. When it comes to optimizing your levels of beneficial bacteria, its crucial to choose the highest quality option: spore-based probiotics.
In contrast to other strains of beneficial bacteria, spore-based probiotics thrive during the digestive process, naturally protecting themselves from your stomach acids, and using the food you eat as fuel to better colonize your gut microbiome.
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How Sleep Influences The Microbiome
You may be familiar with the circadian rhythms role in regulating your sleep-wake cycles. Many other functions in your body run on an internal clock too, including the microbiome. The microbiomes circadian rhythm is affected by what you eat, when you eat, and how you sleep.
According to research, even just mild sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on gut health. A 2016 study looked at healthy young adults who had regular sleeping and eating patterns and looked at what happened to their microbiome after two nights of only 4.24 hours of sleep. The staggering results showed:
- A decrease in insulin sensitivity
- A decrease in healthy types of bacteria in the gut
- Microbiome changes that are linked to type 2 diabetes
Growing evidence shows that sleep disorders, like circadian rhythm disorders, insomnia, and others, can upset the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut, and this damage is linked to a range of health problems, including metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory disease.
Lately, a lot of attention has been focused on the role of sleep in the development of Alzheimers disease later in life. Some new research suggests that the bacteria in the microbiome may be behind these cognitive changes. A 2017 study of healthy older adults found that better sleep quality was linked to better cognitive functioning and a healthier microbiome.
Prescribing Probiotics And Antibiotics At The Same Time
According to the latest released statistics, as many as one in five people on antibiotics, do not take the full course of antibiotics therapy, because they suffer from diarrhea or other stomach ailments. The main reason is that the antibiotics target the good bacteria along with the bad bacteria that they are actually supposed to target. Probiotics are defined as live microbial feed supplements, that beneficially affect the host animal by improving the intestinal microbial balance, that is often disturbed by the action of antibiotics.
The length of the human digestive tract ranges from 25 to 35 feet and is home to more than 400 species of bacteria. In total, more than 100 billion organisms have made our digestive tract a home. When a person takes antibiotics, it is as good as pouring bleach into a fish tank, to kill an overgrowth of algae. Although the bleach does kill the overgrowth of algae, it also kills all that is present in the tank. In the case of humans, the bleach is equivalent to antibiotics. Hence, people on antibiotics need to take probiotics along with the antibiotics or alternately, as the antibiotics will kill the bacteria, that are causing immediate trouble, but at the same time will also give rise to other complications, due to the death of beneficial bacteria.
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How The Microbiome Influences Sleep
If you think about the digestive tract, its really one long tube thats open on both ends. The only way that things can enter into the body is through the intestinal lining in the gut. The regulation of what is allowed to pass in through that lining is a highly important junction for chronic illnessyou want healthy nutrients to enter in and toxic junk to stay out.
Its considered the ground zero of most health disorders because how your body manages that juncture will dictate your risk for virtually every chronic illness, including all of the sleep-associated disorders. Hundreds of years ago, when Hippocrates said that All disease begins in the gut, he may have been right.
If you have an imbalance of beneficial and problematic bacteria in your intestines, the lining can become permeable, and you develop whats commonly known as a leaky gut. Leaky gut causes endotoxins and lots of other inflammatory compounds to leak into your circulation. These compounds continuously stimulate your sympathetic nervous system, also known as your fight-or-flight response.
This is especially problematic when it comes to sleep because you need your parasympathetic nervous system to activate at night so you can rest and digest. If youre constantly in fight-or-flight mode, youll have difficulty falling and staying asleep.
Low Levels of Serotonin-producing Bacteria
Accumulation of Inflammation
Clinical Studies Into How A Probiotic Before Bed Affects You
A 2008 study found that taking probiotic supplements before bed can help you sleep better. In the study, participants were given a placebo for three weeks followed by either bifidobacteria or yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus bacteria strains.
Participants who took the probiotics slept an average of 44 minutes more per night than those on placebo.
This may be due to how gut microbes interact with brain function: when our microbiome is healthy, it produces compounds like phenylethylamine which promote feelings of wellbeing as well as production and release melatonin this helps regulate your circadian rhythm so youre ready for deep restful sleep at nighttime.
If your gut isnt happy though, then your sleep can be disrupted and so too can your circadian rhythm.
Thats why its so important to pay attention to the gut health of children today, as they are forming healthy habits early on that can lead to more restful nights in the future.
Interestingly, those who took probiotics had better quality sleep too. This may be because gut bacteria help us digest our food better which means were getting more nutrients from the food we eat, and thats been linked to a boost in quality sleep.
Not only did people who took probiotics sleep better and longer, but they also said they felt less fatigued during the day than those on placebo.
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