It is commonly advised to periodically rotate your probiotics due to their short shelf life. While research does confirm that taking probiotics in different formulations may lead to better results, the rationale behind this recommendation is based on factors other than the bacteria’s shelf life.
Most experts agree that you should rotate your supplement every 30 days to ensure diversity and effectiveness. But time is not the only factor you should consider.
The following factors should inform your decision on your probiotics rotation cycle:
- How long it takes for your probiotic to work (the “lag time”)
- the type of probiotic formulation you’re taking,
- and whether your supplement also contains prebiotics.
This post will examine how each factor relates to probiotics rotation. You’d also learn practical tips to decide the best probiotics rotation calendar.
Should You Rotate Probiotics Supplements?
To rotate or not rotate probiotics is a common argument between users and experts. However, anecdotal evidence reveals that individuals have different gut bacteria needs. What men need in probiotics may be different from children.
Apart from gender, factors like your diet, age, activity level, immune factors, etc. also determine the type of gut bacteria that would be the most beneficial one for you at a particular time. Also, as we grow old and change our dietary habits, specific probiotic strains may become obsolete while other strains may become more important.
Research has suggested that the elderly have different gut bacteria composition than healthy adults.
This reason is associated with many changes like diet and medications. Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli probiotics strains are found to be reduced in elderly people. Thus, probiotics supplementation with a diverse range of these strains can be particularly useful in this situation.
Another critical reason to rotate your probiotics is to ensure the biodiversity of the gut microbiome.
Probiotic diversity is essential because it helps your body maintain a healthy balance of bacteria and other microorganisms, enabling you to stay healthy. While some people prefer one probiotic supplement, others may benefit from switching it up and trying different types.
Another great way to ensure diversity in your gut microbiome is through diet. Suppose you’re eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. In that case, your diet will likely contain many different types of bacteria.
What are the benefits of rotating probiotics supplements?
Here are more benefits of rotating probiotics supplements:
- Exposure to multiple probiotics options
Each person has different good bacteria in their gut, and it’s unique for their needs. When they take a probiotic supplement, in a few weeks, it should colonize their gut and improve it.
However, some people do not derive benefits from those probiotics. This means they need to switch their strains. Using a different probiotic blend at this time on a rotational basis can give them the benefits they require.
- Reduces Probiotics Side effects
Bloating, gas, and stomach cramps are some of the side effects that may come with probiotics.
It is common for people using probiotics supplements for the first time to experience one of these symptoms or none at all. When this happens, rotating probiotics can be a solution to persistent side effects.
It helps to determine the type and routine of probiotics best suit each person’s gut microbiome to elucidate the proper response.
- Increase in overall probiotics effectiveness
The significant advantage of rotating probiotic strains is that it offers more diversity over time. You can use one strain blend for a few months, then switch to another probiotic blend without compromising your health or infusing the same strain in each bottle.
This way, you can better understand which strains work best for you and what types of bacteria are helping you stay healthy.
- Strengthen your defense against pathogens
Different types of probiotics can affect your body differently. Some probiotics are better at supporting digestion than others, while others are better at supporting your immune system.
If you need help determining which ones work best for your unique needs, it can be helpful to alternate between different types of probiotics so they can work together harmoniously to support your health.
What are the side effects of switching probiotics?
Probiotic rotation may only be effective for some people. The environment in the gut is constantly changing, so adding new strains might not have the desired results. The following adverse effects may be experienced shortly after switching probiotics.
On occasion, though, these side effects have a tendency to fade with time.
Common side effects of switching from one probiotic to another are:
- Increase in constipation or diarrhea
- Drop in mood and energy
- Gut health becomes unstable
- Other friendly bacteria may get destroyed
- Risk of bacterial overgrowth
The side effects mentioned are also typical to persons that recently started probiotics. They may occur for a few weeks as your gut environment strives to recover equilibrium. However, suppose the symptoms become chronic after switching probiotics. In that case, you should cease immediately and visit your doctor for a consultation about optimal probiotics usage.
How Should You Cycle Different Probiotics?
Rotating or cycling through different probiotics is essential to maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects.
Consider the following factors when choosing a regimen:
Include stains with antioxidant properties
The gut’s microbiome primarily interacts with the body’s cells through cell mitochondria. Studies show that if you improve the gut microbiome, the microbiome’s impact on cellular health increases by increasing the diversity of mitochondrial functions.
Some people’s mitochondrial DNA is more likely to break when exposed to free radicals. This can cause a chain reaction in which their DNA gets sick, making their bodies sick.
Probiotics can help prevent this chain reaction by keeping their bodies safe from free radicals. When switching between probiotics, always include strains that can help sweep up free radicals for proper mitochondrial activity.
Here are some probiotic strains with antioxidant properties:
- Lactobacillus spp. (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactiplantibacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus delbrueckii
- Bifidobacteriaceae (Bifidobacterium adolescentis, B. longum, B. bifidum, B. breve, B. animalis),
Include Multiple Probiotic Strains
Your next probiotic supplement should contain different strains than your first one.
For example, the best probiotics for women include a blend of beneficial bacteria, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. These are the ones most often depleted from overuse of antibiotics or poor diet. They replenish the gut flora when depleted.
The good thing is that these probiotics can be taken by women and men who experience stomach problems or GI distress.
Include Probiotics Yeast at Some point
Incorporating probiotic yeast, such as Saccharomyces boulardii, into your cycling routine will aid in preventing die-off symptoms and reestablishing the natural balance of your gut’s bacteria.
Additionally, probiotic yeast aids in the reduction of symptoms like diarrhea.
Probiotic yeast can be used before or after the other probiotic supplements are stopped.
Avoid using high dosages
While probiotics benefit your health, it’s important not to overdo them.
High dosages can adversely affect some people and cause diarrhea or other digestive issues. Try using a lower dosage first, then gradually increase it if needed. 20-40 billion multi-strain probiotics can give you a variety of bacteria that may help your body.
Probiotics containing more bacteria strains are generally better than those with only one strain.
Add a prebiotic supplement to the probiotic routine
When taking probiotics, adding a prebiotic supplement, such as inulin or oligosaccharides, is essential. This helps the bacteria travel and colonize throughout the gastrointestinal tract by feeding them. It also improves intestinal lining health with short-chain fatty acids.
Some probiotics supplements contain prebiotics, so you may not need to take an extra prebiotic supplement.
Probiotics are not a cure-all
Get a quality diet and Include fermented foods to help maintain balance. While probiotics are an excellent way to improve your health, they should not be considered a substitute for proper diet and lifestyle changes. If you want to see results from probiotics, ensure you’re also following a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
Can you skip a day of probiotics?
There may be days when you don’t utilize your probiotics during your rotation or cycle, and you may question if that’s an issue.
First, let’s talk about skipping probiotics. Probiotics tend to have benefits that occur slowly over time. Therefore, skipping a day is not likely to have any negative impact on your health.
Now that we’ve covered this, let’s move on to how often you should take them – and what day of the week is best for you.
The general recommendation is to take them once or twice daily.
Still, if you’re feeling extra stressed out or have had an upset stomach recently, it may be best for you to take them on an empty stomach (right before bedtime) or before breakfast.
How To Rotate Probiotics? (Choosing Between Supplements)
Rotating probiotics may expose you to various strains, but finding the ones that work for your body is more important than just trying different kinds. The composition of gut flora varies from person to person and cannot be generalized across large groups.
Therefore, we can expect each probiotic formulation to be tailored to the individual. So a one-size fits all approach will only work with probiotics and gut health.
So, what should you look out for on ingredient lists? It depends on the condition you are trying to treat. For example, if you are looking for a probiotic for bloating or constipation, you may want one with more Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.
On the other hand, if you are trying to treat a vaginal yeast infection or urinary tract infections (UTIs), then look for supplements that contain Saccharomyces boulardii.
Look out for the following strains for these conditions:
Stress and Anxiety
Certain probiotic strains could be helpful in reducing feelings of social stress and improving mood, resulting in better performance.
A study conducted in 2021 showed that people with a sense of social anxiety who took a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175 were less likely to experience symptoms of stress. Probiotic supplements reduce stress hormone cortisol levels and increase dopamine levels, which are associated with feelings of pleasure.
General gut and immune health
Bacillus coagulans Unique IS-2 is a probiotic that has been clinically studied for its ability to improve digestive health and immune function. It potentially works by enhancing levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut and increasing resistance against harmful microorganisms such as fungi, E. coli, salmonella, staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, and Klebsiella pneumonia.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Lactobacillus acidophilus relieves symptoms of indigestion and gas in the digestive system. It is also used to treat diarrhea and other abdominal pain.
Saccharomyces boulardi is used to treat diarrhea and abdominal pain. It also helps restore healthy bacteria in the digestive system.
Bifidobacterium infantis may help with constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This strain may also help prevent colon cancer.
Overall, a multi-strain probiotics supplement increases your chance of getting the benefit you want in one convenient tablet.
Examples of well-researched and trialed brands include:
It contains up to 8 different strains that will help you if you have digestive problems like bloating, an upset tummy, constipation, or diarrhea. Another benefit is that you won’t worry about a separate prebiotic and fiber regimen because the product has both.
It’s a multi-strain probiotic that has been clinically proven effective. It includes Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Bifidobacterium bifidum. The product is also gluten-free, so it won’t aggravate your condition if you’re sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease.
How can I choose the ideal probiotics supplements?
When choosing a probiotic supplement, look for one with at least 2-4 billion CFUs per serving. Choose one that contains multiple strains of probiotics (which can be listed on the label as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis). Look for a product that comes in capsules instead of powder because it’s more stable and easier to digest.
How often should you change probiotics?
If you take a probiotic for short periods, you may only need to replace it every few months. If you’re taking one regularly and for long durations. For example, if you have chronic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) then, you should change your probiotic every six months.
How often should you take probiotics?
The general rule of thumb is to take probiotics daily. However, some people experience side effects when taking them for the first time or after a long break from using them. If you’re one of these people, start with a lower dose and work your way up until you find the best dosage for your body.
When should I take a break from probiotics?
You should stop taking probiotics if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in your probiotic supplement.
If this is the case, it’s best to talk to a doctor before resuming treatment with probiotics. Some people may also experience side effects, such as bloating and gas when taking probiotics. These symptoms can be unpleasant but usually go away within a few days or weeks of stopping treatment.
If your symptoms worsen or don’t improve after a week or two of taking probiotics, contact your doctor right away.
Do probiotics stop working after a while?
It is possible that your microbiome may have changed in some way, making a particular probiotic ineffective. This is especially true for those who are on antibiotics or have recently taken an antibiotic.
Two other reasons can cause probiotics to stop working:
- The bacteria die off before they reach your home. This happens when you need to keep them at proper storage temperatures or if they get damaged in transit.
- The bacteria are destroyed by stomach acid. If you take your probiotics with food, they’re more likely to survive the trip through your digestive tract and reach their destination in one piece.
Do probiotics fight each other?
Different strains of good gut bacteria can have different effects on our bodies.
Some strains can fight off other ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut, so it’s essential to take a variety of probiotics.
Is it better to take a probiotic at night or in the morning?
It’s best to take a probiotic at night because it has the most time to do its job while you sleep.
Probiotics can help support your immune system during the day. Still, they can also cause an upset stomach if you take them during the hours you need your stomach acid for digestion.