Have you taken probiotics before? A daily probiotic supplement can do wonders, aiding your system with good probiotic bacteria.
Probiotics are live microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast that offer health benefits when you take the right amounts. They are gut-friendly microorganisms almost like those found in your body and can befit gut health with beneficial bacteria.
You can get them from yogurt and kimchi, but they are also available in pill form. Probiotics have been shown to help treat and manage various conditions such as acid reflux, constipation, and diarrhea.
However, we always wonder, when is the best time to take probiotics? Does it matter whether you take them before or after meals? Read on to find out.
Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance in your body, keeping your body neutral. When we have infections, harmful bacteria can increase in the body, causing an imbalance. The results can be digestive issues such as diarrhea caused by gut bacteria in your digestive system.
However, that doesn’t mean if you don’t take them, you’ll not recover. Your body’s immune system is continually working to keep the balance between good and bad bacteria. Probiotics only work to add some additional help via healthy bacteria.
Some common types of probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. An example of a probiotic yeast is the Saccharomyces boulardii.
According to a study, people who consumed a probiotic drink with Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus casei, and Lactobacillus paracasei for 12 weeks had fewer minor flu symptoms and upper respiratory infections compared to those who didn’t.
In another study, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome who took Saccharomyces boulardii for four weeks showed significant improvement in IBS symptoms.
Other medical conditions that probiotics help with include:
Different manufacturers give different times to take probiotics. However, no matter when you choose to take them, consistency is vital.
You should take them at the same time every day. Ensure you pick a time you’ll be comfortable and stick to, especially for people who forget to take their pills.
As for whether you should take probiotics before meals, with meals, and after meals, most experts suggest probiotics are more effective when taken on an empty stomach.
This is because the acid in the stomach after meals can degrade the probiotic before it performs in the intended location. If you take a probiotics supplement 30 minutes before meals, especially breakfast, the stomach is not acidic. The probiotic microorganisms can therefore perform at optimum without the stomach sabotaging the efforts.
You can take probiotics with other supplements as they’re generally safe. Some people may experience bloating or extra gas, which typically goes away on its own after some time.
However, some medications such as antibiotics should be taken alone without any supplements. Other medications such as antifungals may cause drug interactions with some probiotics. Be sure to consult your doctor on the specific drugs and supplements you are using.
Microbes used in probiotics are already present in our bodies’ natural gut microbiota. So, probiotics are generally safe for use. As a healthy gut bacteria, it should have no negative impact on digestive health.
However, some people are allergic to some substances. As your gastrointestinal tract adjusts, you may experience allergic reactions, mild bloating, gas, or flatulence for a few days if it’s the first time you’re using them.
Additionally, if you have:
You may be at a higher risk of contracting an infection when taking a probiotic capsule. Very sickly infants are also at risk. As a rule of thumb, consult your physician first before you start taking any supplements.
Even though probiotics are generally safe to use, taking them has some risks involved. The risks are more for people with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems.
Possible side effects of probiotics include:
Probiotics typically don’t pose any dangers to children. You can give them to your child as they are beneficial to their gut microbiome. Like in adults, probiotics are a digestive enzyme that can help relieve diarrhea and eczema in children. Additionally, if your child is taking antibiotics, taking probiotics can help alleviate the symptoms faster.
If you want to stay away from supplements, you could introduce probiotic foods into their diet. You can feed them foods like yogurt, buttermilk, cottage cheese, or fermented food like Kombucha, fermented pickles.
Additionally, there are commercial supplements made for children and infants. Sick infants and premature babies may have issues with probiotics, so ensure you talk to a pediatrician before giving your child the supplements.
Also, some children may have allergies and intolerances. Keep that in mind when picking probiotics for your child.
Where you get your probiotics affects the quality you get. The best probiotics from reputable, high-quality manufacturers have high levels of good bacteria and longer shelf life. Your doctor or pharmacist can recommend the best probiotic brand or probiotic strain, especially if you take them for a specific condition.
If you are just looking for probiotics with no specific medical condition, broad-spectrum probiotics are ideal as they usually contain more than one type of microbes. The bacteria in your gut are diverse; thus, broad-spectrum probiotics would benefit you more.
The bacteria in probiotics are sensitive to moisture and heat. Some may require refrigeration to prevent damage by heat but not all of them. Most manufacturers include a guide on how to store them as well as the ideal temperatures. Freeze-dried probiotics have a longer shelf life and increased potency than live bacteria.
They also don’t require refrigeration as they are resistant to extreme heat and cold. When buying probiotics, ensure you read the label. If they require refrigeration, be sure the seller had them in a refrigerator.
Probiotics are safe for most people and provide health benefits. Timing is essential when taking probiotics. Ideally, you should take them on an empty stomach, preferably before breakfast. Your body is less acidic at that time, and the supplements can perform without effect from the acid.