Does a blender kill probiotics

Does a Blender Kill & Destroys Probiotics? (Vitamix etc)

Blended probiotics can certainly taste delicious, especially when mixed with fruits or other flavors. However, some people are worried that the blender they use to prepare the drinks might kill the good bacteria.

So, once and for all, let me answer the question in your mind: “Does a blender kill probiotics or can your good bacteria survive blenders like Vitamix?”

Here’s the good news: No! The blender doesn’t kill probiotics But there’s more to this than meets the eye.

Key Highlights:

  • No, blending doesn’t usually kill probiotics
  • Blender blades are strong and sharp but they’re too large to cut down the microscopic bacteria
  • Blending might kill probiotics if acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, are included in the smoothie
  • Blending can also kill probiotics if hot stuff or items are added (although most blended preparations are with ice or cold items)
  • Most probiotic foods can survive blending, though this might change their taste or how you can enjoy them
  • Because freezing can also affect good gut bacteria, it’s best to consume your blended drink or smoothie as soon as possible

Why do bacteria survive a blender, what kills probiotics, and what are the best probiotic foods that can survive blending? 

Does a Blender Kill Probiotics?

There are many different wants to enjoy probiotics. Most people simply take their probiotic capsules the regular way – with a glass of water. For probiotic drinks like kombucha or Yakult, it’s a no-brainer – you simply drink them, preferably before meals. Probiotic food such as kimchi and sauerkraut are usually eaten as a side dish.

Yet others also love taking their probiotics as a smoothie or with their fruit shake.

Knowing that blenders have hard, sharp blades that can cut through ice and make it smooth and tiny, some people are worried that these might also have an effect on the bacteria in the probiotic food, drink, or supplement.

Thankfully, you can continue enjoying your delicious probiotic-infused smoothies because blenders have no effect whatsoever on your good bacteria.


Well, despite the sharpness of these blades, blenders can only cause mechanical or physical “harm” to the ice cubes. These metal parts are simply too big to cut through the microscopic probiotics.

In other words, these good bacteria are super duper small, while the blades are simply too big and can even carry millions of these probiotics on each blade (and you won’t even see any of them).

Woman using Blender

What Kills Probiotics?

Heat, moisture, freezing, light, oxygen, and certain medications such as antibiotics can kill probiotics. It is important to store probiotics in a cool, dry, and dark place and to take them at least two hours before or after taking antibiotics to ensure their effectiveness.

Lets explore more:

  • Heat around or above 115 °F (46 °C) can kill probiotics because their proteins and cell membranes can become denatured (lose function and shape) at this range, causing them to lose effectiveness or die; note that some strains, especially those with spores, are able to withstand heat or even boiling
  • Freezing can damage the probiotics’ cell wall, causing them to lose their effectiveness or die (but flash freezing can help the bacteria survive, and refrigeration helps keep them at optimal numbers); note also that some strains with spores are able to withstand freezing
  • Pasteurization might kill many forms of probiotics, although heat-resistant ones can survive; there are different types of pasteurization but all use heat of at least 63°C, which means that the temperatures are high enough to denature the probiotics’ proteins and kill them off 
  • High salt concentrations (above 10% salt ratio) can kill bacteria due to a process called osmosis wherein water from the probiotics is forced to go out to balance the high-salt environment, leading to their death
  • High sugar concentrations (e.g., jams) can also kill bacteria through osmosis because their water content can also go out to balance the high-sugar environment, damaging the cells
  • Vitamin C or acidic foods with this vitamin (such as citrus fruits) can kill probiotics through chemical alterations in their systems, causing them to die
  • Hot coffee can kill probiotics because of the heat, while cold coffee might make the gut more acidic (which can also cause harm to good bacteria) if you take coffee first before taking probiotics
  • Oregano oil can kill probiotics because it’s a natural bacteria or germ killer and won’t distinguish between the good bacteria in your probiotics and the bad bacteria from diseases or illnesses; it works by destroying the bacteria with chemical alterations
  • Garlic also has antimicrobial properties that can make them an effective germ killer by causing damage to the probiotics’ cell membrane and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA)
  • Alcohol can increase your gut’s acidity, making it harsher for the probiotics to survive and thrive; be careful with all types of alcohol such as beer (kills probiotics mainly because of its alcohol content) or even kombucha with over 5% alcohol (it can contain probiotics if with low alcohol content)

Note, however, that most of the foods listed above don’t always kill probiotics – timing is important. 

Many of these foods can make your gut more acidic, while some can directly kill gut bacteria. However, if you take probiotics at least 30 minutes or an hour before drinking or eating these foods, then they have a better chance of survival.

IMPORTANT: Heat around or above 115 °F (46 °C) can instantly kill your probiotics! That temperature is lower than a hot cup of coffee. Unless you’re drinking probiotic coffee, don’t take your probiotic supplements at the same time as hot coffee (or any other hot drink and food).

Can Bacteria Survive A Blender?

Yes. If you’re worried about the effects of the sharp blender blades on your probiotics, don’t be. 

Bacteria are likely to survive your blender under optimal conditions unless you’re blending something hot (which is quite unlikely) or adding acidic, such as citrus fruits.

Surprisingly, there’s also a 2022 study in the Foods journal that indicates citrus fruits might actually be a good choice in the development of functional foods in coordination with probiotic bacteria.

However, because studies on probiotics remain scarce and have conflicting results, it’s best to err on the side of caution by not mixing them together until it’s proven that the acids in these fruits won’t kill your good bacteria.

Can You Blend Probiotics In A Smoothie?

Yes. You can add probiotics in most smoothie recipes, except if you’re using citrus fruits because they’re acidic and can kill good bacteria.

Remember that freezing can kill probiotics – and you might want to add ice to your smoothies or blended drinks. If you prefer that, then make sure to consume your drink as soon as possible. 

Adding to that reminder, don’t freeze your blended drink.

And in case you’re whipping up a tipsy drink, remember that alcohol can also kill probiotics. So, don’t mix in a shot of tequila or some whiskey.

There’s also debate on whether honey, a natural bacteria-killer, can kill the good bacteria in probiotics. However, since there haven’t been studies to back this up or refute it, it’s best to keep your honey away from your probiotic smoothie blend.

Is it OK to Blend Kefir (a probiotic food) or Put It in a Smoothie?

Kefir is a fermented milk drink that contains live bacteria and yeast, making it a probiotic-rich food. It has a consistency similar to that of drinkable yogurt and can be consumed as a standalone drink or added to smoothies.

It is perfectly safe to blend kefir or put it in a smoothie, and doing so can actually enhance the nutritional value of the drink.

Blending kefir with fruits and vegetables can create a delicious and nutritious smoothie that is packed with probiotics, vitamins, and minerals. However, it is important to note that blending kefir with high-sugar ingredients may negate its health benefits. Overall, incorporating kefir into your smoothies is a great way to boost your gut health and add variety to your diet.

The 3 Best Probiotic Foods (Blendable or Not?)

1. Yogurt

Yogurt makes it to the top of my list because it’s a ubiquitous probiotic food. You can find it almost literally everywhere, and it’s available in many different forms, flavors, brands, and sizes.

There are tons of choices for everyone, including sugar-free varieties or yogurt drinks like Yakult.

Yogurt is also versatile and can be used for smoothies, hummus, puree dip, and salad dressing. The Food Network even lists 50 delicious things you can make with yogurt.

Some people even use yogurt for baking, though the extreme heat is sure to kill the bacteria once you put the batter or dough in your oven.

The good news is that you can blend them in your smoothie or add them to iced drinks. The probiotics aren’t likely to die in these preparations as long as you don’t freeze the drink after preparation.

2. Kefir

This probiotic drink is similar to Yakult (a yogurt drink). It has a tangy and creamy taste – and it’s perfect as an addition to your smoothie.

Yes, the probiotic strains in kefir won’t die in your blender as long as you stick to the rules I listed above about preparing smoothies or blended drinks with probiotics.

3. Sauerkraut

Freezing sauerkraut is fine (first freeze only), so you might think that it’s fine to blend this. However, it would be weird to blend this food and take it as a drink. 

Sauerkraut is a probiotic food that’s best kept as a side dish rather than a main dish or dessert. 

Still, if you want variety or simply wish to try something new, then you’re free to blend sauerkraut. The probiotics are sure to survive the blending process.

Note that sauerkraut probiotics can die during the sterilization process, depending on what the manufacturers did to meet strict food standards and requirements.

If you have to increase the chances of having live probiotics in your sauerkraut, then choose the raw and unpasteurized varieties.

Also, make sure you don’t cook or heat this probiotic food before eating.

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