Some Simple Advice For Scheduling Your Probiotic Supplements
Research shows that certain probiotic strains may not survive the harsh acidic environment of your stomach. If thats true, how do you ensure the viability of the probiotic supplements you take? Should you take them with meals? Without meals? At bedtime?
It turns out that concerns about probiotic viability are a bit of a red herring.
If you look to the internet for medical advice on these questions, you will get a lot of conflicting information.
Heres a sampling of advice about probiotics from different sources:
- Take probiotics just before a meal or as you begin yourmeal.
- Take probiotics 20 minutes after you eat.
- Take probiotics at bedtime.
- Dont take probiotics with a heavy meal.
- Take probiotics with fats.
- Dont take probiotics with garlic, herbs or prescriptionmedicine.
Crazy-making, right? Well, I have some good news for youthats both uncomplicated and flexible
Just find an approach thats convenient for you. That makesit much more likely you will remember to take your probiotic supplements,which is what matters most if you want to get all the health benefits of probiotics.
Get A Probiotic With Prebiotics
Prebiotics dont contain bacteria as probiotics do. Instead, they simply serve as food for probiotics. They provide the necessary fuel to help bacteria grow, and probiotics are living microorganisms that need this sustenance in order to function.
When used in conjunction, prebiotics and probiotics are referred to as synbiotics. Synbiotics are especially healthy because probiotics may have a hard time surviving when they are trying to pass through the intestinal tract. This means that they often don’t actually make it all the way to the lower intestines .
The idea behind synbiotics is that using pre- and probiotics together can increase the chances that the healthy bacteria will get to your gut alive and well. Synbiotics are noted to be especially useful for those suffering from conditions such as IBS and diabetes.
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.
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Take Probioticsat A Specific Time Of Day
A lot of advice about when to take probiotics is simply conjecture. Basically, if you are worried about the potential effects of stomach acid on probiotic supplements, then of course you start thinking up ways to save probiotic lives.
One study, which is often quoted, finds better survival rates for some probiotic strains if they are taken just before a meal.. This study uses a model digestive tract and simply measures bacteria survival rates. This study doesnt actually tell us anything about whether the probiotic supplements provided health benefits in humans.
With so many humanclinical trials showing that probiotics work, no matter what time of daythey are taken, it doesnt make sense to focus on one mechanistic study.
Theres no harm in taking your probiotic supplement rightbefore a meal and its even possible that this may provide some benefit. Butdont stress about it.
Also, Ive seen a few silly suggestions like: Take probiotics at bedtime if you suffer from insomnia. Preliminary evidence suggests that probiotics can help with sleep quality, however they dont work in the same way as a sleeping pill. Take probiotics for a couple of weeks and you may start to experience sleep improvements.
Bottom line: Take probiotics when its convenient for you.
Mistake #: Youre Not Prepping Your System Prebiotics
Prebiotics are food for good bacteria. But Nielsen warns that most of the research on prebiotics is done with high doses , which can be hard on the stomach, especially for those with gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome.
So, how do you get the benefits of prebiotics to get the benefits of probiotics? I recommend eating a diet high in plant foods, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains, says Nielsen. A high-fibre, plant-centred diet has been shown to have an overall beneficial effect on the flora, and will naturally include prebiotic foods such as wheat, legumes and onions.
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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.
How Often Should You Take Probiotics
Probiotics are live yeast and bacteria that are good for you, particularly in your digestive system. Your body is full of bacteria some of which are good, and some of which are bad. Its no surprise that probiotics fall into the good category. They help to keep your gut healthy, providing many benefits, which we will touch on below. A lot of people wonder whether they should take daily probiotic supplements or whether this is too much. You came to the right place were going to answer all of the questions you may have about when to take your probiotic supplement so that you can get a better understanding. So, lets get to it…
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Why Not To Take Probiotics With A Heavy Meal
Your stomach is a very smart organ. The more food you eat, the more digestive enzymes and stomach acid it secretes.
Also, the more you eat, the longer it takes for the food to move through the stomach. It typically takes about 4 to 5 hours for food to move through the stomach.
Taking a probiotic right before or right after a large, heavy meal means that the probiotic has to endure the acidity of the stomach for much longer before it can move to the small intestine.
Best Time To Take Probiotics At Night Before Bed
The recommendation is to wait 2-3 hours after eating before taking probiotics to better help the probiotics travel through the stomach as quickly as possible. However, you should always check the intake instructions on the probiotic supplement for the most effective way to take your probiotic.
Taking probiotics late in the day or at night before bed can be very 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.
How much and how late you ate before going to bed plays a major role in how empty your stomach is. This is why we recommend waiting 2-3 hours after eating before taking your probiotic.
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Choose The Right One For Your Health Condition
If you have a particular health condition, you may want to consider a specific strain of probiotic or consult a medical professional to find one thats best for you.
Experts agree that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains benefit most people .
In particular, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Saccharomyces boulardii may reduce your risk of antibiotic-related diarrhea, while E. coli Nissle 1917 may help treat ulcerative colitis (
For a probiotic to work, its live microorganisms must reach your large intestine and colonize it. Look for a supplement that guarantees at least 1 billion live cultures on the label and ask your healthcare provider whether a particular strain is best for you.
How Long Should Probiotics Be Taken
The reason for taking probiotics will determine how long you should take them. There are some guidelines, but the exact length is hard to determine.MedlinePlus compiled a list of conditions that may improve with probiotics. It also includes the recommended dosage and the duration of treatment. But its for quick reference only, so discuss the duration of treatment with your doctor.
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What Is The Microbiome
What if I told you that youre really only 10% human and 90% microbes? Its true. Only 10% of your body is controlled by your cells and DNA, and the other 90% of your functioning comes from the trillions of microbes living in you and on you. In fact, you have 150 times more microbial DNA in your system than human DNA.
This microbial ecosystem is what scientists call the microbiome, and it includes viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and all kinds of living organisms. The microbiome encompasses all of the microorganisms and their genetic elements that are in and on their hostwhich is us!
We are made up of thousands of little ecologies that have to work together to perpetuate the health of the whole. When you think about it, humans are like walking, talking rainforests!
The Human Microbiome Project was launched in 2008 to study the microbiome and its role in human health and disease. This has led to an explosion of scientific research, including more than 50,000 research papers in the last 5 years alone. Its the biggest scientific revolutioneveryet we are still just scratching the surface of all there is to know.
For example, not long ago, scientists thought that certain areas of the body like the womb and blood were sterile. Now, theyve discovered that we have 1,000 bacterial cells per milliliter of blood, and we also have them in our brain, cerebrospinal fluid, eyes, and everywhere else too. But by far, the gut has the highest concentration of microbes in the entire body.
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This Is The Best Time Of The Day To Take Probiotics
First things first it is always better to take your probiotics at any time, than not take them at all.
However, if you can choose, the best time to take probiotics is thirty minutes prior to a meal. That is mainly because probiotics are alive organisms, and in order for you to have any benefits from taking them, they need to survive the stomach acids and reach your gut. Actually, one of the purposes stomach has is to kill any bacteria in it, preventing it from reaching the gut and bloodstream. Unfortunately, it is not selective, and the stomach acid will kill the good bacteria too.
Taking probiotics before a meal will increase the likelihood of survival since the food will help them thrive and get past the harsh acids. The best type of food to take with probiotics is milk , as it helps the probiotic growth. But in general, it is a good idea to take probiotics with fatty foods as the fat supports them.
Broadly speaking, for most people, the best time of the day to take probiotics is 30 minutes before breakfast. Breakfast is the one meal you are most likely to eat every day roughly at the same time, at home, which makes it an ideal candidate for probiotics since you are least likely to forget. Also, you will probably consume milk with flakes or in coffee, or eat something fatty like eggs and bacon, which will all help probiotics get past your stomach and enter the lower portions of your gastrointestinal tract, improving gut health.
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
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When Is The Best Time To Take A Probiotic
Should you take a probiotic in the morning or at night? Do you need to take it with food? When is the best time to take a gut health supplement?
Heres the answer. To get the greatest benefit from probiotics, you need to be using the on a daily basis. Ideally, you should be taking a probiotic at the same time each day before food. The exact time isnt important just do what works for you. Whether you prefer to take it first thing in the morning before breakfast, or just before a snack close to bedtime, it doesnt really make a difference.
The benefits of probiotics are long-term. They dont have immediate, short-term effects. They work by re-balancing your gut microbiome they create a hospitable environment for healthy gut bacteria, and an unwelcoming environment for harmful bacteria. So the exact time you take them is unimportant just take them consistently with food.
Your Personal Circadian Rhythm
Because your gut bacteria can influence your sleep cycle, it is common to take probiotics to help heal an unhealthy digestive tract. Having a bacteria imbalance in the gut can reduce your quantity and quality of sleep. But having a healthy gut can improve sleep.
If you are an early riser, take your probiotics in the morning. If you tend to stay up late at night, take them in the evening.
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The Relationship Between The Microbiome And Sleep
Sleep affects the microbiome and the microbiome affects sleep. They have a cyclical relationship, and if one isnt functioning properly, the other will be impacted too. Likewise, improving the health of the gut microbiome can have a direct impact on your sleep, and getting adequate rest can promote a healthy gut.
Avoid Taking Probiotics With A Heavy Meal
As mentioned before, its best to take probiotics on an empty stomach or in case thats not possible, its best to take them with a light breakfast that consists of dairy.
We encourage taking probiotics with a light meal because it improves the chances of those beneficial bacteria in the probiotics actually making their way to your gut, where all the benefits happen.
With that said, we do not suggest taking your probiotics before or after a heavy meal, as that will dramatically REDUCE the effectiveness of the probiotics.
Unfortunately, theres still very little research out there comparing the effectiveness of taking probiotics in the morning or at night, but we believe its best to take them first thing in the morning.
30 minutes before breakfast on an empty stomach with lots of water seems to be ideal, as you will also be forming a habit of taking probiotics, which drastically improves the chances of your body healing and your gut getting better.
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