When Is the Best Time to Take a Probiotic? Tips To Boost Your Gut Health

Nikhil Goswami

Bumps and itchiness, diarrhea and constipation – no one wants to deal with these symptoms! However, our lifestyle is getting increasingly busier with work and family. So much so that it seems that we are more prone to getting sick and less able to fight all those little bugs.

Unfortunately, you will probably be hitting up the medicine cabinet regularly if you don’t take care of your health. While these medicines are convenient for fast relief, they are often riddled with harsh chemicals. Such medications can actually make your symptoms even worse: in many cases, popping pills simply makes your immune system weaker.

If you regularly eat fermented foods like probiotic-rich yogurt or kombucha, you are already on your way to a healthy gut. The next step is supplementing your routine with high-quality probiotics.

When you regularly take probiotic supplements, these powerful little guys will help keep a happy balance in your digestive system. So, it can focus on fighting off pathogens that might threaten your health.

With the help of a probiotic supplement, you can deal with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) or yeast infections that sometimes result from oral or vaginal antibiotics. Probiotics are known for relieving digestive issues like constipation and diarrhea and are also great for your body’s healthy immune system function. In addition, probiotics are helpful to promote healthier skin and hair and encourage a better mood and more energy throughout your day.

Regardless of your symptoms, adding this functional food into your routine can make all the difference in ensuring your gut is running smoothly. Then, you can enjoy meals with few or no side effects. You might be surprised at how much of an effect one supplement can have.

However, it might be a daunting task for beginners to evaluate the right time to take probiotic supplements. Most people are unsure if they should add probiotics to their morning routine or take them after dinner. 

This is the article for you to learn the best time to consume probiotic supplements for a better gut microbiome. So, scroll down to learn why time consideration is important for dietary supplements. 

Should I Take a Probiotic Supplement Every Day?

The short answer is yes. You should make it your habit to ingest a probiotic daily if your health allows. Doctors recommend taking probiotic supplements at least once daily, either with milk or water. 

You will find different types of probiotics in the wellness aisle. From tablets to liquids suspensions, capsules to powders, supplement manufacturers provide multiple probiotic types to choose from as per your liking. However, the most important thing is to take a dose of probiotics on an even basis regardless of the bacterial strains or probiotic forms you prefer.

If you are unsure of the best probiotic option to choose for a daily dose, experts recommend looking for multi-strains or multi-species products. Single strain supplements are suitable for people facing a certain health problem and searching for a solution.

Since multi-strain probiotics contain several strains of healthy bacteria, they can control and fix various health issues simultaneously. Hence, multi-species probiotics provide more benefits overall. 

If your concern is to treat irritable bowel syndrome, choosing a probiotic with Saccharomyces boulardii and Lactobacillus rhamnosus will do the job. Most importantly, you should note that no one over-the-counter supplement brand offers probiotics better than others regarding strains. So, you should look into multiple supplement brands to find the one that offers multi-species or multi-strain probiotic products. 

When Should I Take a Probiotic?

Since the US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements like probiotics, each probiotic product may have different indications on timing and dosing. Still, we advise you to choose a suitable time for you to follow, especially if you find it hard to remember to consume your medications. That is why many doctors suggest developing a routine that you can actually stick to without any issue. 

Also, building a routine to take your pills is important as you want to be consistent with your supplements. Consistency is all it takes for your probiotics to fix the issues with your imbalanced gut flora. 

You are free to decide the time of the day when you can take your probiotics. However, experts advise you to take a probiotic about 30 minutes before your meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Breakfast is the most effective time for ingesting a probiotic among all these timings. 

If you take your supplement before breakfast, you are preparing your digestive tract and gut to maintain a healthy gut bacteria ratio. It is because your stomach is free from any food load in the morning.

Probiotics have great efficiency in your small and large intestines when you consume them right before a meal. There is no food in the stomach to digest and absorb during a fast or before eating. Therefore, the stomach acidity is low, allowing probiotic capsules or coated tablets to pass through the stomach into the intestine. 

Adding a probiotic supplement to your morning routine will keep your stomach from hindering your efforts. Moreover, most people have breakfast usually at the same time in the morning. Since it also tends to be smaller in portion size and quickly digested, the A.M routine will help your goals in many ways. 

Should I Eat Probiotics on a Full or Empty Stomach?

In the case of supplements like probiotics, timing remains a major consideration. The natural environment fitting for probiotic bacteria is your small and large intestine. That is the right place for probiotic strains to perform their goodness functions. The efficient working of probiotics not only strengthens your digestive tract or gastrointestinal system but also boosts your immunity.

The main hurdle that probiotics face in reaching their target site is the very acidic environment of your stomach. Probiotics have no other way to perform their goodness without overcoming this hurdle.

However, one cannot neglect the purpose of an acidic stomach because it kills any bad bacteria and viruses in your food and water. It is a red flag for probiotic bacteria as extended exposure to stomach acid will do no good to the strains except finish them off.

You should aim to help your probiotics pass through the stomach acid quickly. Therefore, we recommend you take them on an empty stomach. Taking probiotics two to three hours after your last meal and 30 minutes before your next lunch will be helpful. This way, you will increase the probiotic bacterial survival rate by improving their traveling speed from the stomach.

Meal Composition May Help

Everything you consume, either by eating or drinking, stays in your stomach for a while. The condition triggers the walls of your stomach to release stomach acid and digestive enzymes. So, the heavier the lunch, the longer your stomach will take to transfer the food into the small intestine.

Many probiotics on the market come with a “take on an empty stomach” direction. Therefore, most brands manufacture their probiotics to be taken in the morning. It allows the probiotics to have limited exposure to the hostile acid environment.

The latest technologies in the supplement industry have enabled many brands to produce stomach acid-resistant capsules. The probiotics containing such capsule shells aid the supplement in swiftly moving through the stomach. Hence, as soon as the capsule reaches its destination, it bursts open to release the probiotic content. 

Consuming a probiotic with larger meals like dinner may be unreasonable. When you eat a heavy meal, your stomach works faster to produce stomach acid in larger quantities.

As you know, the acidic environment in your stomach is necessary to break down the larger chunks of food into digestible particles. So, when the stomach is working on your food, and you take probiotics with a larger lunch, the acid might end up hurting your probiotics.

Excessive degradation of probiotics in your stomach will lead to fewer active strains reaching your intestine. Although probiotics are substantially degraded even on an empty stomach, you must not risk it with your dinner. 

Stomach Acid and Timing of Probiotic Use

The ample amount of your healthy gut bacteria resides in your small and large intestines, where there is no threat of stomach acid. The bacterial strains in your probiotic product must travel the distance from your mouth to the intestines to yield benefits. Certain points, including the size and timing of your last meals, are the key determiners of your probiotic’s traveling speed. 

The Role of Stomach Acid

Stomach acid has a key role in the human digestive system. The amount of acid your stomach releases on your brain’s demand decides your digestive health. 

The extremely low pH of your stomach is important for digesting the main nutrients in your food. If your stomach does not produce substantial amounts of acidic juice, the digestion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats will be compromised.

Not only will it affect your metabolism, but lesser stomach acid levels will also threaten your body’s defense mechanism. The second major purpose of stomach acid is to kill any germ, including bacteria and viruses, that may have entered your body via food. So, in case of subpar levels of stomach acid, the germs that are not killed will trigger an immune response in your body.

The ideal pH level of your stomach is between 1.7 to 2.0. As the probiotics move from the stomach to the intestine, the pH level increases substantially. Generally, the pH value goes up steadily throughout the small intestine. However, some parts of your large intestine have a 7.0 pH, which is a neutral level. 

Most healthy bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract are inhabitants of your small and large intestines, thanks to a higher pH value. While taking probiotics, keeping a count of your supplementation timing is vital to save healthy bacteria from destruction. 

Different Strains Matter

Bacterial strains are more resilient to stomach acids in the world of probiotics. Therefore, such strains have higher survival rates than other sensitive probiotic strains. 

The manufacturers work hard to opt for the right ingestion technique to improve the survival rates of good bacteria. Different strains function differently. Therefore, depending on the delivery method of the probiotic product, the survival rates can be enhanced. 

Unfortunately, some threatening microorganisms like H. Pylori and E. Coli possess substantial resistance to stomach acids. Due to their resilience and higher survival rates, your acidic juice cannot throw them away.

Both of these microbes lead to cases of food poisoning or stomach flu. The number of cases is higher in areas where hygienic food is unavailable. So, the microbes reach the human digestive system via food, and the stomach cannot kill them.

It leads to harmful pathogens entering your small and large intestines. When the stomach fails to do its job, both the intestines come into play to get rid of the microbes quickly through vomiting or diarrhea. 

Consider Probiotic’s Quality

Like other supplements, the quality of your probiotic supplement is a factor you must not neglect. High-quality probiotic supplement brands focus on developing probiotics with high gastric resistance and survivability.

Most prominent brands manufacture probiotics in freeze-dried condition and pack them in quality capsules. Notably, freeze-drying is a technique of preserving probiotic bacteria in their finest form, which is a beneficial mechanism. However, the problem is that the freeze-dried probiotic bacteria will absorb any liquid to rehydrate themselves. 

Once the bacterial strains have soaked up all the moisture or liquid, the bacterial strains will make a comeback in an awakened state. Many probiotic bacteria die when they have their first exposure to stomach acids. 

Therefore, many brands work on this front and develop a probiotic supplement in powder form. The powdered probiotic supplements are suitable for people who prefer probiotics in liquid suspensions. 

While liquid suspensions are in the ready-to-ingest form, the powder form requires mixing with water. Once you mix the probiotic powder in water, the freeze-dried bacteria re-awakens in a healthy and strong environment. That’s how the brands minimize the odds of bacterial loss while formulating probiotics.

Furthermore, the prebiotic foods are already present in the probiotic powders that serve as a food source to nourish healthy bacteria. Since the bacterial strains will have everything ready, from food source to environment, they will be much stronger to handle the stomach acids.

Why Is It a Bad Idea to Take Probiotics With a Heavy Meal?

The human stomach is one of the smartest organs of the body. It balances its environment depending on the conditions you provide it with. If you eat more food, it will ultimately secret more stomach juice containing acids and digestive enzymes. 

Moreover, the more you eat, the more time it takes for the food to pass through your stomach. Normally, the food you consume takes about four to five hours before it reaches your small intestine. 

Therefore, consuming a probiotic supplement before or after a large meal can harm your probiotic bacteria. Eating something light before or after ingesting your probiotic supplements is better. 

Portioning Out Your Probiotics Versus Having It All at Once

Apart from developing a routine for probiotics ingestion, there is another tip you can use to rev up the impact of good bacteria. The tip: split up your probiotics dose to encourage its effects on your digestive system. 

If you prefer this method, you can split your dose into two halves. Consuming a half dose of probiotics in the morning and one half in the evening can be beneficial to boost the influence on your gut microflora.

When you take your probiotics using this method, you can lower your odds of overwhelming your gut. Moreover, it will help you to understand your digestive system’s response to the probiotic in portions instead of all at once. 

Not only that, this method allows your gastrointestinal system to adapt to the benefits of probiotics at smaller doses. So, in this case, the time of consumption does not hold as much importance. Thus, you can take your probiotics in the a.m or p.m. Just make sure to consume them around your meal times. 

However, according to experts, a decrease in the potency of your probiotics is the only drawback of this technique. Still, it is better to stick with the beneficial side of the partitioning method for your gut health.

Consequently, you must pay attention to how your body reacts to any new addition to your health regimen. If you follow as it says, you may save your body from the supplements that do more harm than good. 

Should I Take Probiotics With Other Medications?

As a general rule, you can take probiotics with other supplements in your a.m routine without issues. However, certain medications can mask the functions of probiotic supplements. 

You should take medicines like antibiotics alone in this regard. Moreover, your physician might ask you to discontinue using other supplements if you have a temporary illness.

According to experts, probiotics are generally safe for most individuals. Although the possible side effect of these supplements is temporary bloating or extra gas, your system will sort it out during adjustment. 

Best Time to Take Probiotics at Night Before Bed

Before you take your probiotics, doctors recommend waiting for two to three hours after having a meal. It is to help your probiotic bacteria to travel smoothly from the stomach as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, we advise you to always check the intake directions on your probiotic supplement. Since the brand is eligible to give more sincere suggestions, you should stick to them to take your probiotics effectively. 

As the name suggests, probiotic supplements for women contain probiotics – live microorganisms that have evolved with humans. 

Consuming probiotic products late in the day or before bed at night can be extremely favorable. It is especially true of people who have dinner early in the evening. For most individuals, the stomach is empty either in the morning when they wake up or at the end of the day before they go to bed. 

The amount of food you eat and the time you have your meal before bed hold utmost importance in emptying your stomach. Therefore, we suggest you wait two to three hours after your meal to consume any probiotic product.

Tips to Boost the Health Benefits of Probiotics

As a beginner, you might face difficulty consuming your probiotics correctly. Therefore, we have come up with some tips you can follow to make your probiotics more effective. 

This is where probiotic supplements come into play.

As we have mentioned before, the first and foremost action you take should be reading the recommended use instructions. Brands employ different technologies and techniques to manufacture their supplements, so they know better. 

Furthermore, do not forget to keep your probiotics in proper storage conditions. You must understand that the conditions will vary from one brand to another. While probiotics need refrigeration, you should keep others (like powders) away from moisture and water. Also, exposure to high temperatures over long periods will be detrimental to probiotics bacteria.

Another important factor is timing. Most probiotic supplements are highly effective when you take them on an empty stomach – 30 minutes before and two to three hours after meals.

Choosing a high-quality multi-strain or multi-species probiotic supplement can be an answer to all your health issues. Moreover, always opt for the probiotic product that aligns with your health requirements. Since probiotics work in teams, taking Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains together can offer greater benefits. 

Lastly, the probiotic and the brand’s health claims must align with the clinical studies. Thus, you will have confidence in your purchase that has passed lab testing. 

What Are Probiotics Used For?

Basically, probiotics are linked to regulating your gut microflora. Probiotic foods and supplements colonize throughout the lining of your gastrointestinal system. As they ensure that your natural gut flora is in optimum condition, probiotics help sort out constipation and diarrhea.

In your gut, the probiotics are healthy microbes that exist naturally in a healthy intestine. Your intestine is a house to billions of bacteria vital to your body’s critical processes. A balanced gut with high ratios of healthy bacteria helps digest food, kill toxins, absorb nutrients, and limit the spread of pathogens.

A poor diet, high stress, or potent medications can disrupt the gut’s bacterial content. Therefore, probiotics aid in the restoration of your gut functions. Hence, consuming high-quality probiotics can help you to have better well-being and long-term health.

Possible Side Effects and Interactions of Probiotic Supplements

When your system is not used to probiotic supplements, it may show negative symptoms like mild bloating, frequent bowel movements, or flatulence. It signifies that your body is adapting to the probiotics and possibly clearing away toxins like pathogens. 

These side effects are common in individuals for the first few days of a new routine. However, if you find these negative effects not going away on their own, stop using the product immediately and consult your doctor.

In addition, some individuals might experience serious side effects when a certain probiotic strain does not suit their body. Severe symptoms include stomach cramps, difficulty breathing, allergic reactions, swelling, dizziness, or diarrhea. If you also face these issues, discontinuing the probiotic product and contacting your healthcare provider should be your first approach.

Conclusion: When Should I Take A Probiotic In A Day? 

After choosing the best probiotic supplement for your digestive health, you should consider reading the instructions on the packaging. Every probiotic is made differently as it contains a variety of bacterial strains. Therefore, appropriate advice will be from the supplement manufacturer regarding time recommendations. 

There are also probiotics for weight loss & probiotics for UTI if you want to have a look at it. 

For most probiotics, consuming them on an empty stomach is in your best health. This way, the beneficial bacteria in your probiotic will have higher survival rates through stomach acid. 

Many people find it suitable to incorporate probiotics into their morning routine after waking up. You can take your probiotic supplement about 30 minutes before breakfast. Besides, waiting two to three hours to consume a dose of probiotic bacteria after having a meal in the evening is also beneficial. 

What you must be cautious of is consistency. Probiotics are highly effective in flourishing your gut with healthy bacteria when you follow a strict routine around how and when you consume them.

After consuming your supplement, the biggest challenge that active probiotic strains face is the harsh stomach environment. Therefore, you must choose a probiotic that can tackle this situation. 

Different probiotic supplements on the market follow varied methods of consumption. Some are to be taken as a capsule. However, others require you to make a solution of them in the water before intake. 

You must look for a manufacturer that uses the latest technology to enhance the survival rate of probiotic strains. Some high-quality probiotics come in powder form that you can dissolve in water to activate the bacterial strains. Hence, taking probiotics before or after a meal gives the bacteria a chance to rehydrate and absorb nutrients to combat the acidic stomach environment. 

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