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When is the Best Time to Take Probiotics?

Alex Kinejara
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Probiotics are the live-action superheroes of gut wellness and you can take probiotic supplements to support your digestive health. 

But when is the best time to take probiotics?

The answer to that query is complex—ultimately, the best time, method, and dosage for probiotics depend on several factors, such as the type of probiotic you use and your body composition. However, a daily dose of probiotics—at any time of the day—is often the best option when looking to support your gut microbiota. 

How Do Probiotics Work in Your Body?

Probiotics are mostly bacteria. Before you get concerned, they aren’t the same as the harmful bacteria that cause infections. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are naturally present in your gut. Their jobs include:1

  • Inhibit growth of harmful bacteria in our gut microbiota 
  • Stimulate growth of beneficial bacteria in our gut microbiota 
  • Supporting digestion

In some situations, your body doesn’t have the right balance of probiotics in your gut. If this happens, your gut microbiota becomes unbalanced. This can cause several unpleasant health problems, including:6,7

  • Poor nutrient absorption
  • Digestive problems
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Increased inflammation
  • Weakened immune system

That’s where probiotic foods and supplements can step in and fill the gaps to balance your gut microbiota. That’s why it is important to know what are probiotic foods and the signs probiotic are working.

Different Types of Probiotics

There are many strains of probiotics. However, probiotic supplements typically contain one or a combination of the following genus:2

  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacterium
  • Saccharomyces yeast

  • Each of these strains works in harmony and serves its own specific purpose.

    Probiotic Uses

    Taking a probiotic supplement in capsules presents a slight additional challenge, as it is necessary to ensure that the capsules feature targeted release technology. Encapsulated probiotics are freeze-dried and therefore weakened by this dehydration process. The target release technology will allow the probiotics in the capsules to be released into the intestines without being affected by the stomach acid. 

    This allows them to work at any time, day or night.3 That being said, there are many ways you can use probiotics, each with its own potential benefits. You can get your daily probiotic dose by:

    • Consuming fermented foods – There are many foods that are naturally rich in probiotics. These include yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, miso, sourdough, kombucha, and pickled vegetables. Adding a little bit of fermented goodness to your daily menu can support healthy gut bacteria balance.
    • Swallowing them in a capsule – One of the most impactful ways to take a dose of probiotics is in probiotic capsules. Targeted release technology from gastric acidity and helps them reach your gut intact. So make sure that the capsules you buy do indeed have this kind of protection.
    • Consuming a drinkable probiotic – You can also get your daily dose of probiotics in drinkable form. Bio-K+® Drinkable Probiotics come in a variety of delicious flavors. They’re also available in both dairy and vegan formulas to meet your dietary needs. Our drinkable probiotics can be consumed at any moment during the day. The bacteria are alive and active and they will act from the mouth to the anus. 
    • Adding them to other foods – You can also use liquid probiotics as an additive for other foods or beverages. Just be careful not to add them to hot foods—the heat can kill the probiotic bacteria.

    Effectiveness of Your Probiotics

    While the timing of your probiotic dose isn’t critical to their effectiveness, some factors do contribute to whether or not you have a good probiotic supplement experience. Some of these factors include:

    • The function the probiotics perform – Different strains of probiotic bacteria are better at performing specific functions than others. For example, if you’re struggling with digestive issues, doses of the Lactobacillus probiotic strain might be more effective for your needs.8 
    • The quality of your probiotic strain – Probiotic supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. This means you may not always get what the label promises. You should always look for a manufacturer that you can trust. Be a critical consumer and research reviews and the company’s reputation before you buy a probiotic supplement to ensure you get what you pay for.
    • The dosage you use – The probiotic dosage you use can also have an effect on how well your body responds. Probiotics are measured using the term CFU (colony forming units). It might take some time to figure out what CFU is appropriate for your needs. Generally, you should start small and increase the dosage gradually as needed.
    • The frequency of your use – Probiotics don’t work immediately. Instead, it can take up to 8 to 12 weeks for you to see measurable results from regular probiotic use. As such, stick with your routine and be patient with the process. Depending on your tolerance, your dose frequency might be daily or less often. This too impacts how long it’ll take for your probiotics to work.Keep in mind that each gut microbiota is unique.  
    • Your overall health – Your physical condition may also impact the effectiveness of your probiotics. They might offer benefits and support a healthy lifestyle but probiotics aren’t a miracle supplement. If you have significant health issues or take certain medications, the effect of your probiotics might be limited.

    Should You Take Probiotics With Food?

    There seems to be some debate over whether it’s best to take probiotics with food or on an empty stomach. Manufacturers make varying recommendations and some research suggests that it might not matter.5 

    Furthermore, everyone’s body is going to react differently, so what works for your friend might not be ideal for you.

    Instead of paying too much attention to when or how you take your probiotic supplements, it’s best to stick with a consistent routine for maximum effectiveness. Remember, probiotics can take quite some time to work, so patience is key.

    What Benefits Might Probiotics Offer Your Body?

    When you incorporate probiotics into your routine, your body can benefit in a variety of ways:1

    • Probiotics may support your body’s immune response – Probiotics may assist your immune system by fighting off bad bacteria. They may also help strengthen your defenses so that you fall ill less frequently and fight off infection more quickly, if you do happen to get sick.
    • Probiotics might help lift your mood – The connection between your brain and your gut might not be fully understood. However, one thing that researchers think influences your mood is a balanced gut microbiota. A balanced gut utilizes vitamins more efficiently, meaning vitamins B-12 and K can help to balance your mood a lot better. This leaves you feeling more positive and less prone to down days.
    • Probiotics can help support your digestive health – The most well-known probiotics benefit is digestive support. Taking regularly specific strains of probiotic doses may help you have fewer days of constipation, bloating, and gas. Probiotics may also help your digestive system work more effectively and efficiently.
    • Probiotics may support athletic performance – There are several tangential ways probiotics may help support your athletic performance. When your gut is more balanced, you can get healthier, more restful sleep, which may improve your physical performance. Furthermore, when your body utilizes nutrients more effectively, you can recover from hard workouts and perform better during your athletic pursuits.9 
    • Probiotics might mitigate the negative effects of antibiotics – Another benefit of probiotics is that they may alleviate some of the discomforts that can accompany antibiotics, such as gastrointestinal trouble and diarrhea.

    Side Effects of Probiotics

    While the side effects of probiotics are minimal, some do experience the following:1 

    • Mild stomach discomfort
    • Gas
    • Bloating

    Others with existing health conditions, such as a compromised immune system, should avoid adding a probiotic supplement to their routine until they’ve spoken with their healthcare professional. 

    Probiotics may also cause infection in those whose bodies have a struggling immune system. If you experience this kind of condition, it is recommended to consult a health professional before starting a probiotic supplement. 

    To that end, the best ways to mitigate the risk of side effects include:

    • Starting with a small dose of probiotics
    • Increasing your dosage very slowly
    • Being patient as probiotics can take several weeks to take effect

    Most side effects should resolve within a few weeks. However, if you continue to experience digestive discomfort, headaches, or any other unwanted symptoms, discontinue your use and speak with your healthcare team.

    Quality Probiotics at Any Time of Day with Bio-K+®

    There isn’t an exact right time to take probiotics—the formula is much more complex and depends on the type, dosage, and intent of the probiotic you’re using. However, adding a probiotic to your daily routine may support your overall wellness. 

    If you’re ready to try probiotics, then Bio-K+® has you covered

    We offer a variety of probiotic supplements, including encapsulated and drinkable with target release technology, so you can find the right option to meet your needs and goals. Bolster your healthy lifestyle with Bio-K+®—your gut will thank you.


    Sources: 

    1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Probiotics: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know. Accessed April 1, 2022.
    2. Probiotics: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Probiotics-HealthProfessional/. Accessed April 1, 2022.
    3. Yoha KS, Nida S, Dutta S, Moses JA, Anandharamakrishnan C. Targeted delivery of probiotics: Perspectives on research and commercialization - probiotics and antimicrobial proteins. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12602-021-09791-7. Published April 27, 2021. Accessed April 1, 2022.
    4. Sniffen, J. C., McFarland, L. V., Evans, C. T., & Goldstein, E. J. C. (2018, December 26). Choosing an appropriate probiotic product for your patient: An evidence-based practical guide. PloS one. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6306248/. Accessed April 4, 2022.
    5. Toscano, M., De Grandi, R., Stronati, L., De Vecchi, E., & Drago, L. (2017). Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Bifidobacterium longum BB536 on the healthy gut microbiota composition at phyla and species level: A preliminary study. World journal of gastroenterology, 23(15), 2696–2704. https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v23.i15.2696. Accessed April 4, 2022.
    6. Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa et al. “Effects of gut microbes on nutrient absorption and energy regulation.” Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition vol. 27,2 (2012): 201-14. https://doi:10.1177/0884533611436116Accessed April 4, 2022.
    7. Wu, Hsin-Jung, and Eric Wu. “The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity.” Gut microbes vol. 3,1 (2012): 4-14. https://doi:10.4161/gmic.19320Accessed April 4, 2022.
    8. Pace, F et al. “Probiotics in digestive diseases: focus on Lactobacillus GG.” Minerva gastroenterologica e dietologica vol. 61,4 (2015): 273-92. Accessed April 4, 2022.
    9. Nichols, Andrew W. “Probiotics and athletic performance: a systematic review.” Current sports medicine reports vol. 6,4 (2007): 269-73. Accessed April 4, 2022.

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