How Probiotics Might Be Bad For You
Because these good bacteria already exist in the body, theyâre considered safe for most people. But there are some things to consider.
They can trigger an allergic reaction. They might cause mild stomach problems, especially the first few days you start taking them. You might have stomach upset, gas, diarrhea, or bloating. Those symptoms usually go away after your body gets used to them.
If you have an immune system problem or another serious health condition, you may have a greater chance of issues. Some reports have linked probiotics to serious infections and other side effects. The people most likely to have trouble are those with immune system problems, people who’ve had surgery, and others who are critically ill. Don’t take probiotics if you have any of those issues.
Always talk to your pediatrician before giving probiotic supplements to your child. If you’re pregnant or nursing, you should also talk to your doctor before you try one.
Most probiotics in the U.S. are sold as dietary supplements. That means the companies that make them don’t have to test their products and show that they work or that they are safe. More research is needed to confirm that probiotics are safe and effective.
Ask your doctor which probiotics are the right ones for you. Be sure to stop taking them if you have any problems.
The Benefits Of Taking Probiotics Every Day
Probiotic supplements can have many functions. Diversifying the gut microbial landscape is a big one, Gandhi says, which helps to maintain balance in the gut microbiome.*
While promoting gut health is one obvious benefit, research has also shown certain strains of probiotics can help reduce bloat, aid proper nutrient absorption, promote regularity, and support a healthy weight.*
As for probiotic foods, “Ideally we should always be eating probiotic-rich, fermented food daily,” Gandhi says, “but even more so if you are not taking a supplement.” These foods introduce multiple new strains of good bacteria to the gut, diversifying the microbiome, she explains.
One way to get gut-friendly benefits, while also extending the life span of seasonal produce, is to preserve vegetables. “Making and eating traditional foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, natto, kombucha, and beet kvass is a delicious and fun way to optimize your gut health and strengthen immunity,” registered dietitian Ella Davar, R.D., CDN, says.
As a general rule of thumb, Davar recommends getting probiotics from a variety of sources. “Those who don’t have time for cooking, or don’t like the taste of probiotic-rich foods, might greatly benefit from the supplement,” she explains.*
Should I Take My Probiotics With Other Medications
Even if you toss back vitamins or other medication in the morning , you should still take your probiotics at nighttime. With more time in your gut, the good bacteria can get to work healing your digestive issues. And that’s exactly what you want if you’re investing in a supplement.
The bottom line: The best time to take a probiotic is generally at nighttime before bed. But speak with your doctor before taking any sort of supplement to make sure it makes sense for you and your body/condition.
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Any Side Effects Of Taking Probiotics At The Wrong Time
Probiotics are very well-tolerated in most people, and timing them right is more about ensuring the survivability of these healthy bacteria than about avoiding side effects.
So, whether you take a probiotic day or night, with or without food, you’re not likely to experience any major issuesâat least not as a result of when you take them.
While anyone may experience some temporary gas and bloating when first taking a probiotic supplement, probiotics generally don’t cause significant side effects beyond thatâand if they do, it’s more of an indicator that you’re not taking the right probiotic supplement with the appropriate strains of bacteria.
It may take some trial and error, but by looking for strains that are targeted to the issue you want to treat, you can find the probiotic that’s just right for you.
What Are The Best Ways To Take Probiotic Supplements
The best way to take probiotic supplements is to do so as directed on the label! There is a science-backed reason for this, as label instructions are usually informed based on findings in clinical studies that showed the dose with the best efficacy and administration of the supplement or nutrient in the study.
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Should I Eat Before Taking A Probiotic
Taking a probiotic after or during your meal may negate some of the benefits of the supplement due to busy digestion efforts in your gut. But Dr. Asike explains that some bacterial strains are naturally more resistant to stomach acid, and can be taken with meals safely in some cases, multiple times a day. You’ll likely see printed language on your chosen probiotic packaging that indicates it’s safe to take with meals.
The Best And Worst Time Of Day To Take Your Probiotics
Youve probably heard 100 times by now how important your gut health is for your overall well-beingand that the healthy bacteria that live in your digestive system play a huge role in keeping that gut health in tip-top shape.
After all, these probiotics help us digest food, destroy microorganisms that might trigger disease, and even produce vitamins. Our bodies naturally house both good and bad bacteria, but as long as the two are in balance, our immune system stays strong, which is crucial for our general health, explains Sarina Pasricha, M.D., M.S.C.R., a Harvard-trained, double-board certified gastroenterologist with the Delaware Center for Digestive Care in Newark, Delaware. In fact, probiotics have been shown to help us fight off everyday bugs, overcome irregularity in the bathroom, and manage digestive conditions.
Given their many benefits, its no wonder many of us have added probiotic supplements to our daily routines. Thing is, benefiting from a supplement isnt quite as simple as just remembering to take it at some point every day. Turns out, when we take our probiotic supplements actually has a pretty big impact on just how much theyre able to do for our digestive system.
Heres what top gut expertsand the latest sciencehave to say about when to take your probies.
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How Often Should You Consume Probiotics
To find your optimal probiotic schedule, we need to break things down into times per day and time of day for healthy bacteria consumption:
If youre using healthy foods as your probiotic source, you can reach this daily dose by packing your probiotics into a single meal or snack or by spacing them out throughout the day.
As probiotic consumption becomes a part of your daily schedule, youll likely find a period when you most enjoy these foods, or perhaps when you feel they most benefit your digestion.
This same approach applies to what will be your best time to take probiotics.
As scientists are pretty split on whether probiotics work best on an empty or full stomach, the general advice is to find the time of day that works best for you and your body.
There are myriad probiotic-rich foods to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or any snack in-between, so you wont have difficulty establishing routines that work for you.
However, it is essential to try and stick to your routine, as research shows that consistency is likely more important to probiotic efficacy than consumption at any specific time of day.
For example, if you like a delicious serving of sauerkraut, kimchi or fermented dressing with your lunch, youre most likely to receive the full benefits of its probiotics if you eat it at the same time every day.
What Are The Risks Of Ingesting Probiotics
- Side effects. Probiotics seem to have few side effects. Some may cause intestinal gas and bloating. However, this is likely to get better over time. If your probiotics are causing these side effects, try decreasing the dose or using it every other day.
- Interactions. If you have any medical problems or take any medicines regularly, talk to your health care provider before you start using probiotics. They could interact with medicines such as antibiotics or immunosuppressive drugs.
- Risks. If you have intestinal disease or damage, HIV, cancer, a weakened immune system, or excessive bacteria in your intestines, don’t use probiotics without checking first with your health care provider.
Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria are two of the most common types of probiotics on the market.
Can I Get Probiotics From Food
You can absolutely increase beneficial microbes in your body from the foods you eat. Certain foods have probiotics in them and can benefit the health of your microbiome.
These foods can be introduced into your diet at any point of the day. You may even be regularly eating them now and not realize that they contain probiotics. You will want to check the food label for live and active cultures. A few suggestions for just some of the probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet and some times to try them include:
For breakfast, try:
Probiotic supplements may be combined with a prebiotic. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that feed the microorganisms in your gut. Basically, prebiotics are the food source for the good bacteria. They help feed the good bacteria and keep it healthy. Prebiotics include inulin, pectin and resistant starches.
When you have a supplement that combines a probiotic and prebiotic, its called a synbiotic.
How Do I Choose The Right Probiotic
Experts tell us that added good bacteria are beneficial at every age. But when it comes to choosing a probiotic supplement, all those choices can seem a little overwhelming. How do you know which one is right for you and your family? Renew Life makes it easy.
Use our helpful tool to find exactly the right probiotic for your specific needs. Whether you experience occasional digestive discomfort or you simply want to support digestive and immune health on a daily basis, we can help you make the best choice for you and your family. Renew Life probiotic supplements are made with multiple scientifically studied strains to help re-establish digestive balance and support optimal health.*
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Whens The Best Time Of Day To Take Probiotics
Certain probiotics have specific recommendations for when they should be taken. Be sure to read the instructions before taking a new supplement. Because of the varying types of probiotic strains that have different effects, and the best time of day to take probiotics depends on the strain and formulation.
Some probiotics outline that they should be taken on an empty stomach, whereas others should be taken with a meal.
Some medications may adversely interact with probiotics, so you may need to take medicine and probiotic supplements separately. Since daily use of probiotics has been shown to be safe and effective for many health benefits, choosing a time of day when you will remember to take your probiotic supplement is the best way to ensure consistency.
Is It Ok To Take Vitamin D With Probiotics
In individuals with PCOS, we anticipated that a combination of vitamin D and probiotic treatment would be more effective than a single supplementation. Supplementing with both vitamin D and probiotics may have a powerful synergistic impact on hormonal profiles and indicators of inflammation and oxidative stress.
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How Often Should I Take Probiotics
The tricky thing about probiotics is that they don’t stay in your gut for very long. You poop them out, so in order for them to be effective, you need to take them daily until you feel better, says Tamara Freuman, RD, author of The Bloated Belly Whisperer. Any benefits from a probiotic only happen as it passes through your body, she says. Because of that, taking your probiotics at a certain time can actually make them more effective.
What Are The Signs You Need Probiotics
Research supports that probiotics have many health benefits and are likely effective at relieving many chronic health conditions. The following are some signs that you may benefit from these beneficial bacteria.
1. Youre experiencing non-specific health symptoms, such as:
- Brain fog, decline in memory, or cognitive dysfunction
- Abdominal pain, stool changes, or excess gas and bloating
- Chronic fatigue and sleep disturbances
- Mood disturbances, depression, or anxiety
2. A clear medical cause of your symptoms has not been identified. Often probiotic supplements can help with functional gut disorders and other vague health symptoms that typically evade conventional diagnosis.
3. You have adopted a healthier lifestyle by improving your diet, sleep hygiene, and exercise regimen. However, youre still not experiencing relief from your health symptoms.
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Final Thoughts On When Is The Best Time To Take A Probiotic
While the best time of day to take a probiotic is ultimately up to you, it is advised that they are most effective if taken 30 minutes before a meal and consumed before breakfast. This will allow the probiotic supplement to get to where it needs to be without being sabotaged by your stomach acid.
You can take them with a light snack or meal if you feel you need to eat something before bedtime, just be sure that you’re not including foods known to trigger heartburn or other digestive problems. Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system.
Is It Safe To Take A Break From Probiotics If You Are Consuming It Everyday
Yes, it is safe to take a small break here and there. We always recommend checking in with your body. After all, you know your body better than anyone else does. Once you have been on probiotics for a while, consider how youre feeling. Some people give themselves a few days off probiotics every month to evaluate the way they feel their body changing. It is all a learning experience learning about your body and what works for you.
So there you have it: a little bit of insight into probiotics and answering how often should you take probiotics. Sure, probiotics can feel like a choose your own adventure ride, but its important to remember that consistency is key hopefully now you understand the benefits of taking probiotics daily.
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How Do I Know If I Need Probiotics
Your body naturally contains trillions of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are live bacteria that are believed to be good for your health, especially your digestive system. Some people take probiotics to try and restore the natural balance of bacteria in their gut after its been disrupted by an antibiotic.
There is some evidence that probiotics may help with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome , inflammatory bowel disease , and infectious diarrhea. Probiotics may also help with skin conditions like eczema and urinary tract infections .
If youre considering taking probiotics, talk to your doctor about what might be the best option for you.
Are There Any Storage Instructions For Probiotics
Several probiotic strains are very fragile and need to be protected from heat, oxygen, light and humidity. The probiotics might start to break down or die if they are exposed to these elements. Because of this, you may need to refrigerate your probiotics or store it in a particular place. Refrigerating certain probiotic strains ensures that theyre still viable when you go to use them and will still provide the full benefit of the probiotic. Always read the labels on any probiotic product you purchase to make sure you store it correctly and use it within the expiration date.
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When Should You Not Take Probiotics
Have no fear, a stellar safety profile is here! Probiotics are well known for generally being well-tolerated, with few recorded side effects. However, if you are taking other things in your regimen or are concerned about introducing something new, talk to your healthcare provider before adding probiotics to your supplementation routine.
How Do Probiotics Work
The main job of probiotics, or good bacteria, is to maintain a healthy balance in your body. Think of it as keeping your body in neutral. When you are sick, bad bacteria enters your body and increases in number. This knocks your body out of balance. Good bacteria works to fight off the bad bacteria and restore the balance within your body, making you feel better.
Good bacteria keeps you healthy by supporting your immune function and controlling inflammation. Certain types of good bacteria can also:
- Help your body digest food.
- Keep bad bacteria from getting out of control and making you sick.
- Create vitamins.
- Help support the cells that line your gut to prevent bad bacteria that you may have consumed from entering your blood.
- Breakdown and absorb medications.
This balancing act is naturally happening in your body all of the time. You dont actually need to take probiotic supplements to make it happen. Good bacteria is just a natural part of your body. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fiber every day helps to keep the number of good bacteria at proper levels.
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Issues To Be Aware Of
If you’re considering trying probiotics, there are a few issues you need to be aware of.
Probiotics are generally classed as food rather than medicine, which means they don’t go through the rigorous testing medicines do.
Because of the way probiotics are regulated, we can’t always be sure that:
- the product actually contains the bacteria stated on the food label
- the product contains enough bacteria to have an effect
- the bacteria are able to survive long enough to reach your gut
There are many different types of probiotics that may have different effects on the body, and little is known about which types are best.
You may find a particular type of probiotic helps with one problem. But this doesn’t mean it’ll help other problems, or that other types of probiotic will work just as well.
And there’s likely to be a huge difference between the pharmaceutical-grade probiotics that show promise in clinical trials and the yoghurts and supplements sold in shops.
Page last reviewed: 27 November 2018 Next review due: 27 November 2021