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Should You Take Probiotics With Food

Any Side Effects Of Taking Probiotics At The Wrong Time

Food for Thought: Should you take probiotic supplements?

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.

Next Steps To Take If You’re Considering Probiotic Treatments

If you’re looking for where probiotic research stands on specific conditions, like acne or UTIs nothing conclusive on either of those topics as well as the limits of certain studies the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website provides an informative breakdown.

The bottom line is that you should discuss your best course of action with a doctor or registered dietitian especially “if you are considering starting a probiotic to treat a specific illness, have a chronic disease or if you are immunosuppressed,” Gilmore says.

Should I Give Probiotics To My Kids

Probiotics can be beneficial for both adults and kids. If your child has an illness that requires an antibiotic medication for treatment, taking a probiotic can help shorten symptoms. Probiotics can also be used to help relieve constipation, acid reflux, diarrhea, gas and eczema in children.

Introducing probiotics into your childs diet through food is typically a safe way to give them probiotics. Foods like yogurt and cottage cheese are often part of a balanced diet and can add in good bacteria without much risk.

There are commercially available probiotic supplements specifically designed for infants and children. However, it is important to talk to your childs pediatrician before giving them any probiotic supplement or changing the childs diet to include probiotic-rich foods.

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On An Empty Stomach When The Acid Level Is Low

When to take a probiotic is a common but important question. Probiotic bacteria do not survive in a strong acid environment like the stomach, as the acid will destroy probiotic bacteria.

For this reason, it is best to buy probiotics that are encapsulated in an acid-resistant vegetable matrix with a polymer. The capsule passes through the stomach and then dissolves in the small intestines leaving the probiotic bacteria alive and well.

The stomach is stimulated to produce acid by exposure to a protein in the diet and by distention of the stomach. There are three phases of the stomach or gastric acid production.

In phase 1, 30 percent of the gastric acid production occurs due to the anticipation and smell of the meal. Sixty percent occurs during and after the meal. Ten percent occurs when the meal enters the small intestines.

Based on stomach physiology, it is best to take probiotics on an empty stomach when the acid level is low.

The other time to consider taking the probiotic is during the early phase of a meal. Although there is an increase in acid production, the food will buffer the acid and increase motility, which allows the probiotic to empty sooner into the intestines.

So dont take the probiotic if you are dreaming of a delicious meal. Wait and take it during the next time the stomach is empty.

Rebecca Park

Registered Nurse | Founder, Remedies For Me

Why Take Probiotic Supplements

Food for Thought: Should you take probiotic supplements?

There are many great reasons to add a probiotic supplement to a healthy diet. Depending on the person and the type of bacteria involved, taking a probiotic supplementor eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kombuchamay help:

  • Create a healthy balance of gut microorganisms after an illness

Research shows probiotics may also help treat digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome , and even aid with fat loss. But knowing when to take your probiotics is key to getting the most out of them.

Read Also: How Do You Know If Probiotics Are Working

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.

How Many Probiotics Should You Take

The first thing to know about probiotics is that they come in far larger doses than most other supplements or nutrients.

While dosage can vary, American Family Physician recommends children take 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units of probiotics per day, and suggests adults consume 10 to 20 billion.

Additionally, some research shows theres potential value in consuming multiple strands of probiotics daily rather than just one.

These findings suggest that probiotic-rich foods, like Cleveland Kitchen sauerkraut, pack multiple strands of beneficial bacteria that can be more valuable than probiotic supplements with far fewer strands.

So, instead of opting for a single supplement with one billion CFU, try a few tablespoons of sauerkraut, or other fermented veggies, for up to 100 million CFU in a more diverse and flavorful package.

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Should You Take Probiotics

The “good bacteria” may help healthy people but aren’t formally recommended.

Probiotics are “good” bacteria touted to help maintain digestive health and boost the immune system. You can take them in a dietary supplement or get them from food sources, such as yogurt. But should you? They can be helpful in some cases, but we still need more studies to tell us if and when they are safe and effective for older adults.

How Can Probiotics Benefit The Rest Of The Body

Digestive Health: Should I Be Taking Probiotics? | Keri Glassman

While most famous for their immune-boosting properties, probiotics can also positively impact many other aspects of your health.

One way they achieve this is by boosting the efficacy of your gut and aiding the primary functions of your gastrointestinal system.

When you incorporate natural probiotics into a healthy, well-rounded diet, you can open up your body to:

  • Smoother Digestion
  • Enhanced Retention of Key Nutrients
  • Improved Bowel Movements
  • Moving up to your brain, we find another significant, positive effect of proper probiotic consumption: improved function of the gut-brain axis.

    The gut-brain axis is the system that connects our mind and microbiome through a complex series of communications, and its health can play a role in our cognitive and emotional success.

  • Reduced Anxiety
  • Enhanced Focus
  • Recommended Reading: Douglas Labs Multi Probiotic 15 Billion

    There Is No Way To Know What Dose You Are Taking

    The probiotic supplement market is relatively unregulated, so it’s hard to know how many CFUs we actually are consuming when we take probiotics in pill form. Moreover, it’s difficult to know if the organisms in those probiotics are even still alive and capable of doing their job, or if they’re dead and useless. Even if the bacteria are alive, there’s a question about whether they can survive once inside your gut.

    If you are getting your probiotics from foods like store-bought yogurt, there are also very few ways to be sure that you are consuming a significant dose of good bacteria. The conditions that the yogurt is stored in down the supply chain, the temperature of your refrigerator, and the strain of probiotic that the yogurt contains all have a significant effect on the dosage of CFU. Many of the beneficial microbes could have perished before you consume the yogurt.

    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.

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    Mistake #: You Put Your Probiotics Into A Personalized Pill Box

    Sure, organizing your daily pills and supplements in a handy pill box will help you to remember to take them, but it could compromise how effective your probiotics are. Like crackers, probiotic capsules will expire more quickly when exposed , says Millette. And Nielsen agrees. She says to keep your probiotics in sealed individual doses away from bright light and heat.

    Best Time To Take Probiotics:

    You Should Never Use Probiotics or Fermented Foods If......
    • You should wait two hours to take probiotics after taking herbs, garlic, or medications, as certain foods and prescription drugs can interfere or destroy with the probiotics.
    • If you are taking probiotics for digestive health, it is best to take them at every meal.
    • If you tend to sleep late, take the probiotics before bed. There is a strong relationship between gut health and calming of the liver that helps with sleep.
    • If you are an early riser, take the probiotics in the morning.

    Four health benefits of probiotics:

    According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease , 60-70 million Americans have some sort of digestive disease. The United States spends over $100 billion each year on digestive disorders. Digestive diseases can lead to a weakened immune system, mental health disorders, and neurological diseases. Other health issues that are affected by digestive disorders include thyroid imbalances, joint pains, skin disorders, chronic fatigue, autism, and ADHD.

    Gut Health Our digestive system contains numerous microorganisms such as bacteria, yeast, and viruses. Collectively they are called gut flora. The majority of our gut flora contains bacteria and a large portion of these microorganisms reside in the colon . Our digestive system contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria. A healthy ratio of good to bad bacteria in our system should equal around 85:15 percent respectively.

    Probiotics & Skin

    • Kefir water, milk, or coconut
    • Yogurt

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    How Probiotics Are Good For You

    They might lower the number of “bad” bacteria in your gut that can cause illness or inflammation. They can also replace those problem germs with good or helpful bacteria.

    Researchers are studying when and how probiotics might best help. There’s more research for some illnesses than others. They might help people with:

    • Diarrhea, especially when it’s linked to specific antibiotics. Probiotics also might help with infectious diarrhea, especially in children.
    • Inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Some probiotics might keep ulcerative colitis in remission and prevent Crohn’s disease from relapsing and getting worse.
    • Irritable bowel syndrome. Probiotics can sometimes help ease symptoms, including stomach pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.

    Probiotics also are being studied for many other conditions. There isnât as much research yet, but some people say that probiotics have helped them with:

    Probiotic Strains And Sub

    Theres another thing thats more important than looking for delayed-release or enteric-coated capsules. Make sure that whichever probiotic you are using lists the sub-strains of bacteria that are in its probiotic. Just listing a strain should be a big warning sign as to the quality of the probiotic.

    For the most common probiotic strain Lactobacillus acidophilus we use the sub-strain La-14*. This is a well-researched sub-strain that weve chosen for its unique health benefits and its ability to survive stomach and bile acids.

    *The other sub-strain in Intelligent Labs Probiotics are Lactobacillus casei LC-11, Lactobacillus paracasei Lpc-37, Lactobacillus plantarum Lp-115 rhamnosus Lr-32, Lactobacillus lactis Li-23, Bifidobacterium bifidum Bb-06, Bifidobacterium breve Bb-03, Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-04, and Bifidobacterium longum BI-05.

    When it comes to probiotic supplements, its important to avoid generic strains. Heres why:

    Simply listing a strain on a probiotic bottle such as Lactobacillus acidophilus with no sub-strain is a bit like saying, I have a dog. OK, so you have a dog. But what type is it? A German Shepherd is obviously different from a Miniature Pinscher. Just as those two breeds have different characteristics, so too are different sub-strains of the same bacterial strain.

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    How Should I Take Probiotics

    Written By Michael Greger M.D. FACLM on January 2, 2014

    Foods appear to be better carriers for probiotics than supplements, but if one chooses to go with the supplement route, should they be taken before, during, or after meals?

    The package labeling on probiotic supplements is often confusing. Sometimes the consumer is instructed to take the probiotics with meals, sometimes before or after meals, and occasionally on an empty stomach. I was surprised to find so few actual data in the scientific literature concerning this topic, but that is par for the course for most dietary supplement advice. See, for example, my video series about how little pharmacists and natural food store employees know:

    The lack of information on how to take probiotics has led to serious confusion, both for the industry and the consumer. Surprisingly it doesnt appear as if any studies had ever examined this questionuntil now.

    What did they find? Like vitamin D supplements, which should also probably be taken with meals for maximum efficacy , probiotic bacterial survival was best when provided within 30 minutes before or simultaneously with a meal or beverage that contained some fat content.

    -Michael Greger, M.D.

    Final Words On When To Take Probiotics

    Should I take probiotic supplements every day?

    To conclude, the best time to take probiotics would be with a meal. This creates thebest possible environment for the good bacteria to arrive in your gut alive. However, if thats not convenient for you, thats okay. Intelligent Labs delayed-release probiotic capsules and specially selected sub-strains are designed to survive acidic conditions. So, if you take our probiotics on an empty stomach, they will still work just fine!


    Tompkins, T A et al. The impact of meals on a probiotic during transit through a model of the human upper gastrointestinal tract. Beneficial microbes vol. 2,4 : 295-303. doi:10.3920/BM2011.0022

    Andy Mobbs

    Andy is Intelligent Labs Chief Product Officer and takes the lead role in ensuring Intelligent Labs product range is always at the forefront of development in the supplement industry. Andy initially studied Sports Science and Physiology at the University of Leeds and has since gone on to study under some of the leading critical thinkers in the functional medicine and nutritional therapy industries including Dr Bryan Walsh, Dr Datis Kharrazian and Marek Doyle, to better understand how our nutrition as well as our lifestyle and environment can help combat chronic disease and increase our lifespan.

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    It Can Depend On The Strain

    Finally, its important to note that not all probiotic strains and formulas are alike.

    For example, lactobacillus is a common probiotic strain. It relies on glucose to survive in an acidic environment like our stomachs. For that reason, it may pair best alongside sugar and carbohydrates.

    However, different probiotic strains, and combinations of strains, may perform differently.

    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.

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    What Are Probiotics Used For

    The word probiotic is derived from the Latin word pro meaning for in Latin and bios meaning life in Greek. Probiotics colonize the lining of our digestive system and ensure that the natural intestinal flora can perform its role in vital functions in your body.

    Probiotics are good bacteria that naturally occur in a healthy intestine. Our intestine consists of billions of bacteria that are critical to many important processes within the body, including digesting food, absorbing nutrients, eliminating toxins, and preventing pathogens from spreading.

    When this world of bacteria is disrupted by a poor diet, stress, or strong medication, probiotics help to restore the balance within our intestine. Taking a high-quality probiotic supplement can improve and maintain your long-term health and wellbeing.

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