Supplementing with probiotics can help keep your gut — and your entire body — healthy. But, in order to get the most out of your probiotics, you need to know when to take them. Continue reading to learn more. probioticseverything.com probiotic on empty stomach
What are probiotics, exactly?
Probiotics are live bacteria that provide health benefits when ingested in the correct doses, according to the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics. Probiotics are gut-friendly bacteria found in foods, drinks, and supplements that are identical to — or similar to — microorganisms found naturally in the body. probioticseverything.com probiotic on empty stomach
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), there are many distinct types of probiotics, or helpful bacteria species, and each has a particular effect on the body. probioticseverything.com probiotic on empty stomach
According to Stephanie Wallman, D.O., a board-certified family medicine physician specializing in functional medicine at Parsley Health in New York City, the probiotic species Lactobacillus can encourage your brain to produce more gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that can help manage anxiety or depression. probioticseverything.com probiotic on empty stomach
Bifidobacterium, on the other hand, encourages the production of butyrate, “which is essentially the food that our colon cells consume for energy,” according to Dr. Wallman. Butyrate can also help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level by regulating your body’s response to insulin.
What are the benefits of using probiotic supplements?
There are numerous compelling reasons to include a probiotic supplement in a balanced diet. Taking a probiotic supplement or eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kombucha may help, depending on the person and the type(s) of bacteria involved:
After a sickness, restore a healthy balance of intestinal microbes.
Boost your immunity.
Improve digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea.
Probiotics have been shown in studies to assist cure digestive diseases like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and even improve fat loss. Knowing when to take your probiotics, on the other hand, is crucial to getting the most out of them. probioticseverything.com probiotic on empty stomach
When should you take probiotics?
“Taking a probiotic on an empty stomach is the ideal way to take it,” explains Dr. Wallman. Most people should take a probiotic first thing in the morning (at least an hour before a meal, according to Dr. Wallman) or shortly before bedtime. Keep the probiotic next to your bed so you don’t forget to take it. probioticseverything.com probiotic on empty stomach
What’s the point of taking a probiotic on an empty stomach? Dr. Wallman states, “The goal is to distribute the probiotics to the big intestine tract.” To be more exact, the goal is to reach anywhere from five to 100 billion colony-forming units (also known as CFUs, which are the number of viable bacteria cells in a sample) to the large intestine, where the germs can do the most good. When you eat something, your stomach gets more acidic, killing some of the specialized bacteria and decreasing the number of CFUs that make it to their final destination, according to Dr. Wallman. probioticseverything.com probiotic on empty stomach
However, make careful to read the dose directions because this can change the ideal time to take your probiotic. According to some study, it’s preferable to take a probiotic with or shortly before a meal. According to a 2011 study published in Beneficial Microbes, uncoated probiotic pills are best taken with, or immediately before, a fat-containing meal. Why? Fat keeps the stomach from becoming too acidic, allowing more bacteria from probiotic supplements to survive long enough to reach the large intestine. probioticseverything.com probiotic on empty stomach
Probiotics based on spores, on the other hand, are better taken with food. “They use the food to ‘hitchhike’ down to the big intestine since they are in their spore form and are not impacted by the harsh acidic environment that occurs with eating meals,” adds Dr. Wallman. They perform better when taken with food, according to studies. probioticseverything.com
Also, if you’re taking antibiotics, don’t take your probiotics and antibiotics at the same time. Otherwise, your antibiotic therapy could wipe out all of your “good bacteria.” However, taking a probiotic while on an antibiotic to maintain good bacteria colonization in the stomach can be beneficial—as long as the two aren’t taken at the same time. Dr. Wallman recommends taking your probiotic at least two hours after taking your antibiotics. Keep your probiotic away from any prescription that recommends to “avoid meals” with it, such as thyroid medication, to avoid interfering with good absorption, she says. Antifungal medicines such as clotrimazole, ketoconazole, or nystatin should be avoided when using probiotics.
It’s also important where you receive your probiotics from.
Apart from when you take your probiotic, the quality of it will influence how much healthy bacteria reaches your big intestine. According to Dr. Wallman, “high-quality makers would add higher doses of probiotics in their capsules to ensure that the amount of CFUs indicated on the container is in each pill for the duration of its shelf life.” She also says that higher-quality strains have a longer shelf life.
Talk to your doctor about getting the correct probiotic supplement for you if you’re taking probiotics for a specific health condition.
If all else fails, look for a high-quality broad-spectrum probiotic supplement. Broad spectrum probiotics, unlike spore-based probiotics, usually contain at least three different types of bacteria (ex. Lactobacillis, Bifidobacterium, Cerevisiae). “When utilizing a probiotic for general health and wellbeing, it’s a good idea for it to be as diverse as your gut microbiota,” Dr. Wallman explains.
Is it necessary to keep probiotics refrigerated?
In general, probiotic bacteria are heat and moisture sensitive, and both can kill the specialized organisms and render them ineffective. This is why some probiotic supplements need to be refrigerated and will come with detailed instructions from the manufacturer on how to store them and what temperature is best to keep them effective. Fortunately, because the optimal time to take a probiotic is on an empty stomach, and your stomach is likely empty shortly after you wake up or before you go to bed, it’s also a convenient time to open a refrigerator.
Not all probiotics, however, require refrigeration. In fact, freeze-dried organisms, such as those found in our Parsley Health probiotic, are shelf-stable, allowing them to last much longer than active probiotics. Freeze-drying probiotics helps to stabilize them and allows vast volumes of bacteria to be concentrated into a smaller volume, boosting the efficacy and number of CFUs in the final product.
When purchasing a probiotic, make sure you carefully read the label. If your probiotic needs to be kept refrigerated, make sure it’s been kept chilled by your store, or if you’re ordering by mail, make sure it’s been dispatched fast with proper packaging and little exposure to heat and moisture. Probiotics that have been freeze-dried are far more resistant to dramatic temperature swings, such as the cold temperatures that can be experienced when shipping on an airline, so they can tolerate air travel or transportation in hotter climes.
Before you buy a probiotic, go to your doctor to make sure you get one that’s right for you. Once you’ve acquired it, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s dosing and storage instructions, and if in doubt, refrigerate.