Are you curious about when the best time is to take probiotics? You’re not alone! Probiotics are becoming increasingly popular as people discover how beneficial they can be for gut health. But there’s a lot of confusion about when to take them – with meals or on an empty stomach?
Some probiotics have protective coatings and can survive stomach acidity, making them suitable to use anytime (on an empty stomach, with meals, or after meals). But not all probiotics are alike, and you will not see their health benefits if taken at the wrong time. Such pills show the best results when taken with meals.
In the following sections, I have listed the factors affecting the efficacy of probiotics at different times and with different meals.
So, keep reading to figure out when is the best time to take probiotics;
Taking Probiotics With Meals or Empty Stomach: What’s Better & Why?
Taking probiotics with meals (just before meals) is better because fat content will shield microbes from acidity and help them safely travel to the intestines. Probiotic strains colonize the intestinal lining, mainly the colon. But before reaching the intestinal part, they must travel down the whole digestive canal, passing through the esophagus and stomach first.
And many probiotic strains, especially bacterial ones, hardly survive acidic environments.
Thus, your probiotic needs to escape the stomach acidity to provide health benefits. Research has shown that stomach acidity reduces for some time after taking meals.
Hence, the best time for probiotic dose is with meals.
But this timing is also significantly affected by the pill type. Non-enteric pills/ quick-release pills easily dissolve, and microbes are exposed to the gut environment in the stomach or even prior.
However, this early release reduces the supplement’s efficacy as many microbial units are wasted away due to stomach acidity.
Hence, when purchasing probiotics, it’s better to opt for delayed-release pills.
And capsules formed in resistant polysaccharide material like Hypromellose (HPMC) are even better because they are strong enough to protect encapsulated microbes from highly acidic environments.
Thus, you can take them effectively even when stomach acidity is at its peak.
That is why I recommend probiotics like Gut+ from YourBiology and Biotics 8 from Bauer Nutrition, as they come in the form of innovative resistive capsules.
1. YourBiology Gut+
YourBiology Gut+ has the edge over others because it is developed with a delayed-release formula that ensures delivery of maximum live probiotics. It is based on the MAKtrek technology, which ensures that the probiotics have a safe journey to your intestines.
The probiotic blend in this product contains science-backed species from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genus that are well-tolerated and have fewer side effects.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is worth mentioning among these probiotics because it prevents vaginal infections, making it a good supplement for women.
Another plus point is that it contains the prebiotic fructooligosaccharide to nourish probiotics and natural gut microbes.
You can purchase its one-month supply of 60 tables for $74.99 and receive them within the standard delivery charges.
- Promotes weight loss, women’s health, and gut, skin, immune, and brain function
- 60-day money-back guarantee
- Can be stored at room temperature
- Free from preservatives and allergens
- Multi-strain probiotics
- contains prebiotics
- not stocked in physical stores
- The recommended dose is two capsules
2. Biotics 8
The Biotics 8 probiotics provide an overall health boost to men’s health because of its wide range of ingredients. The best thing about this supplement is that its synbiotic (probiotics +prebiotics) blend is encapsulated in vegetarian-friendly HPMC capsules, which are more resistant to acidity than regular gelatin capsules.
Its probiotic blend contains the clinically acclaimed Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species as well as the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Among these, the Lactobacillus plantarum is worth mentioning because of its role in men’s health, as it boosts sperm production.
On top of that, it contains prebiotics in the form of chicory root fiber which feeds the health-promoting microbes in the gut.
The next gut savior is the addition of digestive enzymes that aid the breakdown of macronutrients which helps to prevent bloating and discomfort.
Additionally, the formula is fortified with vitamin D and hence helps to increase testosterone levels in the body which may also help you become more muscular.
You can buy its one-month supply of 90 capsules for $74.99 from the official website and get it delivered free of cost.
- improves testosterone levels
- containing 20 billion CFU per serving
- Includes digestive enzymes and prebiotics
- ten probiotic strains
- 60-day money-back guarantee.
- Free from gluten, dairy, and soy.
- GMP certified.
- only available on the official website
What Happens When You Take Probiotics on an Empty Stomach?
Enteric tablets can easily withstand stomach acidity as they are pH-sensitive and open only in the alkaline environment of the intestines. Thus, they will pass unaffected through the stomach.
But quick-release probiotics are not recommended to take on an empty stomach, way before your morning meal, as many probiotic strains are pH-sensitive and may die in highly acidic environments.
On an empty stomach, only some gastric acids are present in the stomach, making pH as low as 2 and acidity very high.
So, if you take probiotics at this time, gastric juice collected in the stomach can kill several microbes in your supplement, making it less effective.
However, you can take non-enteric probiotics just before breakfast because the food will mix up with gastric juice and lower stomach acidity due to the food’s pH-buffering effect.
What Happens if You Take Probiotics on a Full Stomach?
When you take probiotics as meal starters, the probability of microbial strains safely reaching the intestines is the highest.
The reason is that proteins and fatty acids in the meals lower stomach acidity for a while.
Hence, probiotic strains can travel through the stomach without being damaged due to gastric pH.
However, it is not recommended to take quick-release probiotics after you have a meal as, at that time, proteins are partly digested, and stomach acidity is again high due to gastric juice secretions.
Should I Take Probiotics With Food?
Yes, probiotics are most effective when taken with food. In fact, it is best to take them with foods containing at least 1% fat.
As discussed earlier, stomach acidity significantly influences the efficacy of probiotics. In turn, food influences stomach acidity, making your diet an important factor in probiotic supplementation.
Scientific observation shows that proteins in the food act as a buffering agent immediately after ingestion, lowering stomach acidity. However, as the digestion processes (about half or one hour after the meal), protein content in the stomach induces gastric juice secretion. This returns the stomach to a highly acidic pH (about 1.5 or 2).
Besides the buffering effect of proteins, fats also tend to lower stomach acidity.
Above mentioned study also infers that fat content affects vagus nerves, delaying the acid secretions.
Another study investigated the effect of meals on the efficacy of probiotics supplements containing Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces.
Its results show that the efficacy of yeast probiotics is not affected by the buffering capacity or time of the meal. However, most bacterial strains were killed when taken 30 minutes after the meal.
Instead, probiotic bacteria performed best when taken with a meal or 30 minutes before the meal. It also infers that fat content is more important for the survival of gut-friendly microbes rather than proteins.
Does Probiotics Timing Matter? Why?
For quick-release tablets, it matters, but for extended-release tablets, it does not. Delayed-release pills are equally effective whether you take them on an empty or full stomach because their constituent strains won’t be released in the stomach.
However, the case for non-enteric or rapid-release pills is entirely different. Taking these pills when stomach acidity is high reduces their efficacy.
Are Probiotics Better During The Day or Night?
It is best to take any kind of probiotics at night.
This answer can be backed up by the news24 article, which quoted the recommendation from the gastroenterologist Dr. Patricia Raymond.
In her statement, she explained that the GI tract is more relaxed during the night, so the probiotic microbes can hang around it a bit longer. Thus, they are more likely to get integrated into the gut microbiome.
Should I take a probiotic every night?
Yes, you can take a probiotic every night. Especially, if you’re just starting out, you must take it at night. It would help you avoid the common daytime symptoms that include brain fog, bloating or frequent urge to poop.
Can I take probiotics twice a day?
Yes, it is safe to take probiotics twice or thrice a day. However, I’d recommend you consult your doctor before increasing your dosage if you have any underlying medical illness or have a weak immune system.
When to take probiotics for weight loss?
You may combine daily probiotic intake with some lifestyle and diet modifications to induce weight loss.
In most Randomized Control Trials (RCTs) that reported a positive outcome, participants were fed probiotics mostly containing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species in the dosage range of 10 billion colony-forming units every day for 3 to 24 weeks.
Do you take probiotics with food or on an empty stomach?
It is preferable to take probiotics either with food or no more than 30 minutes before your meal.
How long should you take probiotics?
You may take probiotics throughout your life unless and until your doctor recommends you against them.
To conclude, it is best to take probiotics within or 30 minutes before consuming food. Moreover, milk or high-fat food is more compatible with probiotics than plain water or juices.
Compared to this, you should avoid taking probiotics on an empty stomach because, at this time, their pH could be as low as 1 to 3 (highly acidic).
Therefore, the live bacteria you will ingest may not make it to your intestines unless they are encapsulated in a protective coating.
Lastly, always consult your doctor before taking probiotic supplements or if you feel something odd after taking them.
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