Probiotics commonly referred to as biotics regularly feature in the top 10 most popular nutritional supplements. Containing microorganisms, probiotics are generally taken to complement your existing good gut flora. Diet, stress, illness and medications such as antibiotics can impact our digestive systems. This may result in an imbalance in the bacteria that naturally occurs in the gut. Too much of the ‘bad’ bacteria may lead to digestive problems, allergies and a host of other issues. But when is the best time to take probiotics?
This post explores all you need to know about when to take probiotics to get the most benefit.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics or biotics as they have come to be known, are bacteria and yeasts. Bacteria often get bad press, but biotics are the ‘good’ bacteria. There are various strains of biotics; however, the most common are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. These bacteria work in a similar way to the organisms that are found naturally in the body. Biotics can compliment your existing gut bacteria.
Live biotic cultures are found in fermented dairy products such as yoghurts, milk drinks and cheeses, including gouda and cheddar. Other food sources include fermented foods like pickled vegetables, tempeh, miso, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
However, unlike other nutrients and vitamins, there are no official guidelines on daily probiotic requirements. This makes it difficult to know when you are getting enough. Plus, not everyone likes fermented foods. So, if pickled vegetables and miso soup aren’t your thing, a supplement containing a biotic may be beneficial.
There are plenty of biotic supplements on the market and come in various forms, including capsules, powders, tablets, liquids and drinks.
Why Take Them?
Our digestive systems naturally contain large amounts of bacteria, which help us digest food and support our metabolism and immune systems. It’s estimated that inside our guts are billions of bacteria, all performing essential processes within the body.
However, everyone has a unique mix of gut bacteria, which is influenced by our diet and lifestyle. Illness and the use of medications, especially antibiotics, also play a part. Biotics can complement your existing good gut bacteria good bacteria.
However, different strains of biotics may provide different benefits. So, if you are taking biotics, it’s essential to do your research first. The good news is that biotics can help in the following ways:
- biotics may complement the diversity of microorganisms in your gut.
- biotics may help to restore balance in your intestine.
- biotics provide good bacteria to the gut.
Is There an Ideal Time of Day to Take Them?
The time of day you take your biotics may impact their effectiveness. This is because biotics pass through the digestive system quickly before ending up in your poo.
Furthermore, the stomach naturally contains lots of acid. Biotics need to get to the large intestine as quickly as possible so they can start to work. And research has shown that stomach acid can kill some, but not all, biotic strains.
However, different manufacturers have different advice. Some recommend the best time to take biotics is on an empty stomach, while others advise taking it alongside food. And several suggest the best time to take biotics is before bed as the stomach is least active while we are asleep.
However, there is some evidence that biotics complement existing gut flora gut regardless of whether they are taken with food or not. The biggest benefit was from consistently taking biotics rather than the time of day they were taken.
It’s confusing, right? The issue is that biotics is an umbrella term for a broad spectrum of different strains with their own characteristics.
So, if you are considering taking supplements, the best advice is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the best time of day to take probiotics.
There are many strains of biotics and lots of different formulations. So, when it comes to the best time to take probiotics, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. What’s more important for maximising the benefits is that you take biotics consistently, every day.