Getting the most out of any health supplements or dietary change is an important factor in all health journeys. It’s like using the correct form when you’re exercising – there’s no point doing it if you’re not going to do it right!
Taking probiotics or introducing them into your diet is no exception. There are optimal times to ingest them that will ensure you’re getting the most out of your new routine. This will positively affect your experience and allow you to achieve maximum results.
Read on to understand what probiotics are, if you should be taking them and the best time to take probiotics.
What are probiotics?
The friendly bacteria that reside in your small and large intestines are called probiotics.
Probiotics are groupings of beneficial strains of bacteria, yeast and microorganisms – referred to as “gut flora”.
In your gut there are going to be both good and bad bacteria, it’s important to maintain a good balance to boost your immune response, digestion and overall health.
When you have too much bad bacteria hanging out in your gut, you can get sick or run down.
There can be over 400 species of probiotics in a healthy body and about 40 trillion good and bad bacterial cells all floating around together at any one time.
Here’s some of the benefits probiotics can have on your body:
- Good digestion which can aid with weight loss (source)
- Immune health – protecting against IBS, diarrhea, common cold, allergy symptoms and development, etc. (source)
- Maintain vaginal health (source)
- Improve mental health (source)
- Improve cardiovascular health (source)
- Lower blood pressure (source)
Probiotics can be found in foods like:
If you’re going to be taking probiotics, it’s a great idea to combine them with prebiotics. Prebiotics will feed the healthy bacteria and encourage them to thrive and multiply in your gut, giving them the optimal chance to get to work on your health concerns.
Prebiotics can be found in foods like garlic, bananas, avocados, onions, oats and heaps more! If you’re getting your probiotics as a supplement, be sure to get one that has prebiotics already included.
When should you start taking probiotics?
Probiotics help with so many health issues and concerns, that it’s a great idea to start taking them anytime. Ideally, they should be incorporated into your daily routine, just like a multivitamin.
If you find you’re at a point in your life where you don’t have enough time to maintain the healthiest diet, or your overall health and immune system response is a little off, then probiotics could be the kick you need to get back on track.
Studies show that nutrients will be absorbed better, digestive problems will improve and your body will be able to fight off disease and illness easier.
If you’ve been on a course of antibiotics, your gut flora will need to be restored. To lessen the chance of bad bacteria populating, take a probiotic supplement to get the good stuff growing.
If you’re having issues with a poor diet, viral infections like diarrhea, stress or sleeping problems, a daily hit of probiotic may benefit you and get you feeling back to your old, healthy self again.
When in doubt though, always consult a medical professional. If you’re not sure about taking a probiotic supplement or introducing more probiotic-rich food into your diet, then a doctor will be able to answer all your questions.
They’ll also be able to work out a maintainable game plan with you and recommend a few products that will be specifically helpful for your goals.
Best time of day to be taking probiotics?
When it comes to getting the most out of your probiotics, timing is crucial. Depending on your reason for taking them, this time will change. If you’re consuming your probiotics as food, you don’t need to worry about your timing.
Generally, for gut health, immunity and general overall wellbeing improvements, you’re going to want to take your probiotic supplement directly before or with a meal, as this research study shows. With a meal is the best option, but if you’re going to opt for before then be sure to take it no more than 30 minutes before your meal.
The reason behind this is quite simple; the food you are consuming your probiotics with will protect them from being killed by your stomach acids and give them the best chance of delivering the most strains and Colony Forming Units (CFU) into your intestines.
If you’re taking your probiotic supplement first thing in the morning, there’s no buffer between them and your empty stomach filled with acids. There’s no point in taking the supplement if it’s just going to be killed off the second it reaches your tummy.
So, breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Well, that depends on your routine and health concerns. If you’re taking them for general health, it’s best to have them in the morning or at lunch to give your body most of the day to absorb them whilst you’re active and awake.
If you’re taking probiotics to help with your sleep, take them with dinner so that you’re getting the right effects at the right time. And if you’re taking them to assist with bloating or digestive issues, a supplement you can take at every meal would be the way to go.
How often do you need to be taking your probiotics?
Well, it depends on what supplement you’ve purchased. The product will tell you on the label exactly how many times a day you need to be ingesting it.
All you have to do is make sure you get that dose daily and at the right times.
Probiotic supplements don’t hang around in your body forever. They pass through the intestines and take the nasty microorganisms with them on their way through and out of the body.
So, to maintain a good balance of healthy gut flora, you’re going to have to take your supplement daily.