So, what are probiotics? Probiotics are your gut’s most trustworthy sidekicks. When bad bacteria start to take over, probiotics are there to SMASH! their populations, ZAP! balance back into your gut microbiome, and KAPOW! your body back into shape.
In other words, they’re the good guys—well, beneficial microorganisms.
But when’s the best time to raise your Bat-Signal and summon your probiotics to battle?
Typically, you should take probiotics 30 minutes before a meal. However, there actually isn’t an established protocol for the right time to take probiotics, and there are many factors that may affect the effectiveness of a probiotic supplement once you take it.1 Let’s dive in.
Is There a Best Time to Take Probiotics?
When planning when to take probiotics, past research suggests that it’s best to take probiotics on an empty stomach—it was thought that this might help the probiotics make it to your gut in one piece.
However, more recent evidence suggests that probiotics packaged in delayed-release capsules can survive the trip to your gut more readily.1 To that end, the time of day you take a probiotic may not actually matter at all.
Although, certain research suggests that the best time to take probiotics may be at the same time every day to help you build a habit and intake probiotics more consistently.
Outside of timing, additional factors that may play a part in a probiotic’s effectiveness include:
- Consistency of use – When you use probiotics consistently, the overall composition of your gut microbiome can improve and increase more beneficial varieties, such as L. rhamnosus and B. longum2.
- Quality of the probiotic strain/s – The quality of the probiotic strain/s you take may also impact how effective they are. Some high-quality strains may have improved resistance to environmental stresses and may also be better equipped to target specific areas of need, such as the colon.
- Functional aspects of the probiotics – Probiotics have different functions, and when they’re processed and sold for consumption, probiotics may lose some functionality. As such, an effective probiotic is one that can survive your stomach acid and still perform its gastrointestinal duties.
The Health Benefits of a Daily Probiotic
An efficient probiotic a day could improve your microbiota’s natural balance and ensure your body remains in peak condition. Why? Your gut is fairly complex, and its health may impact the health of your whole body, influencing7:
- Heart health
- Immune functions
- Brain health
- Cognitive functions
- Digestive health
Those taking antibiotics or suffering from certain gastrointestinal problems might find improvement in their conditions when they take probiotic supplements as well. To that end, regularly taking probiotics could benefit your well-being in five key ways.
#1 May Support Athletic Performance
To be an athlete, you naturally must be health-conscious, working to fuel your body with proper nutrition and support it with strengthening workouts. However, the training required to keep oneself in prime physical condition can take a toll on the body—mainly affecting the immune system to:
- Disrupt sleep
- Increase stress
- Elevate the risk of infections
And this isn’t only true for professional athletes. Even recreational athletes who train hard for endurance events such as marathons or triathlons can experience a suppressed immune system due to heavy training.
According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, probiotics might help to support athletes who train. To that end, probiotics may:3
- Increase your body’s ability to absorb key nutrients
- Help protect the strength of gut-barrier functions
- Encourage better muscle recovery
#2 May Support Your Gut and Digestive Health
Probiotics are also heroes when it comes to cultivating a healthy, functioning digestive system. Your body is home to many naturally beneficial microorganisms. However, if you suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder, your gut microbiota might be unbalanced leading to digestive issues that can wreak havoc on your digestive system, like:4
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
- Diverticular disease
A probiotic supplement might be recommended by your healthcare professional if you suffer from one of these disorders. Taking probiotics daily can help to improve your overall gut health, helping to mitigate some of the discomfort, pain, bloating, gas, or other intestine distress that comes with these ailments. Consult your registered dietitian to know more about these conditions and the intake of probiotics.
#3 May Balance the Negative Effects of Antibiotics
Athletes aren’t the only ones who might benefit from taking a probiotic supplement. If you’re taking a course of antibiotics and are having stomach trouble, probiotics might help. According to research cited in the journal “Antibiotics,” one of the most common problems faced by adults and children taking antibiotics is diarrhea5.
A Certain clinically-proven probiotic supplement was was found to be beneficial in preventing people from suffering from antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Furthermore, there were no negative side effects associated with adding probiotics to the care routine.
#4 May Help You Maintain an Elevated Mood
Your body is a series of interconnected systems that must work in harmony for you to feel your best. And while you might not realize it, your brain and gut are closely connected.
Your gut is home to your enteric nervous system (ENS), which is responsible for controlling digestion. It also works closely with your central nervous system, which consists of your brain and spinal cord. If something is off in the ENS, that information is shared with the central nervous system.
That’s why it’s critical to have a healthy gut microbiota. If not, you may likely find yourself feeling low or moody. Thus, the presence of probiotic bacterium could impact your mood and mental well-being.6 For instance, certain proven probiotics might promote:
- Improved cognitive reactivity to a poor mood
- Better sleep
- Elevated mood and improved psychological well-being56
In short, a daily probiotic could help to restore balance in your gut and ultimately support the funaction of your whole body.
#5 May Positively Influence Your Immune Response
As you can imagine, a healthy microbiota can also influence the well-being of your immune system—a population of good bacteria in your gut help your body defend against harmful invaders by:7
- Enhancing immune response
- Interacting with other microbiota to fight infection
- Improving the release of compounds by beneficial bacteria with antimicrobial ability
When you have a flourishing gut microbiota, your body may support immune health.
The Best Types of Probiotics
Probiotics are present in many foods you probably consume regularly, including:
- Yogurt or kefir
- Sourdough bread
- Soft cheeses
- Pickled vegetables
Incorporate fermented food into your diet for a natural adding probiotic. If you’re looking for the best probiotic supplement to fit your needs, they come in many forms:
A dtargeted-release technology helps protect the probiotics in your dietary supplements to ensure that they make it to your gut intact. There are many different methods of encapsulation and protection. However, if you’re a vegan, you’ll want to avoid probiotic capsules encapsulated in animal proteins such as gelatin.
Liquid forms of probiotic supplementation are ideal for those who stray away from swallowing whole capsules—plus they’re tasty! However, a liquid probiotic can also be added to a tube-feeding routine for those who can’t consume food by mouth.
One of the most common ways probiotics are added to foods is by including them in different foods. Be aware that the bacteria are sensitive to temperature, do not cook your probiotics!
Are There Risks Associated with Taking Probiotics?
Most people can consume probiotics and probiotic supplements without harm to their overall health. That being said, some individuals may experience a temporary increase in mild stomach discomfort, gas, and bloating.4 Other, more serious risks have been rarely associated with:
- Infection in those with severely compromised immune systems
- Transfer of antibiotic resistance to microorganisms in the digestive tract
- Contamination of the product as dietary supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA
Therefore, you should carefully research the probiotic product of your choice to ensure you’re getting your probiotic supplements from a trusted source with proven benefits. This way, you’ll get what you pay for without risky additives.
Finally, people who are taking antibiotics should check with their healthcare professional before adding a probiotic supplement to their routine. It is important to take a proven probiotic supplement during and after the antibiotic treatment. Be sure to take the probiotics at least 2 hours after the antibiotics to avoid killing the beneficial bacteria in the supplement.
Make Time For Your Health with Bio-K+®
So, when is the best time to take probiotics? When you’re feeling unbalanced, bloated, or low. However, no matter your disposition, taking a high quality probiotic once a day may help to support your digestive and immune health.
If you think it’s time to incorporate a probiotic into your wellness routine, enlist Bio-K+® in the balance of your gut microbiota.
Our line of probiotics includes drinkable and capsule varieties to support cognitive, immune, and gastrointestinal health. Maintain your gut balance with Bio-K+®.
- Yoha KS, Nida S, Dutta S, Moses JA, Anandharamakrishnan C. Targeted delivery of probiotics: Perspectives on research and commercialization - probiotics and antimicrobial proteins. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12602-021-09791-7. Published April 27, 2021. Accessed February 8, 2022.
- Toscano M, Grandi RD, Stronati L, Vecchi ED, Drago L. Effect of lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001 and Bifidobacterium Longum BB536 on the healthy gut microbiota composition at Phyla and species level: A preliminary study. World Journal of Gastroenterology. https://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/full/v23/i15/2696.htm. Published April 21, 2017. Accessed February 8, 2022.
- Jäger R, Mohr AE, Carpenter KC, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Probiotics - Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12970-019-0329-0. Published December 21, 2019. Accessed February 9, 2022.
- Probiotics: What you need to know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/probiotics-what-you-need-to-know. Accessed February 9, 2022.
- Blaabjerg S, Artzi DM, Aabenhus R. Probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in outpatients-A systematic review and meta-analysis. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/2079-6382/6/4/21. Published October 12, 2017. Accessed February 9, 2022.
- Marotta A, Sarno E, Del Casale A, et al. Effects of probiotics on cognitive reactivity, mood, and sleep quality. Frontiers in psychiatry. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6445894/. Published March 27, 2019. Accessed February 9, 2022.
- Meissner HC. Can probiotics enhance immune function, prevent disease? American Academy of Pediatrics. https://publications.aap.org/aapnews/news/7832. Published November 27, 2019. Accessed February 9, 2022.
- Bull, Matthew J, and Nigel T Plummer. “Part 1: The Human Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease.” Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.) vol. 13,6 (2014): 17-22.