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Best time to take probiotic supplements


Probiotics are a popular supplement taken by approximately 4 million Americans. These live microorganisms, which are composed of bacteria and yeast, can be found in capsule form and in fermented foods such as yogurt, pickles, and kefir. Probiotics have the ability to improve digestion and gut function and support immune health.

If you've had intestinal upset caused by a bad bug, you may want to consider a probiotic. But after choosing one from the drugstore, you may be surprised: When is the best time to take it? The answer is not simple. We consulted health experts, including dietitians and a doctor, who told us all the factors we needed to consider first.

Factors to Consider

type of probiotic

When perusing the probiotic aisle, you'll find a ton of supplements in a variety of forms, from refrigerated to shelf-stable, such as capsules, powders, and liquids. Each probiotic you pick up will list different amounts of probiotic strains and colony forming units (CFUs), while often highlighting potential health benefits for its intended use.

“Of the many strains found in probiotics, the two most prevalent are lactobacillus And Bifidobacteria, In most scenarios, these probiotic strains are considered safe with a few exceptions. Although there are no known specific guidelines for daily intake of CFU, you can expect to see a range of 10 to 20 billion CFU for adults. It should be encouraged that each individual consult their health care provider for appropriate dosage,” says Kunal Lal, MD, an internal medicine physician based in Miami, Florida.

Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CPT, a registered dietitian nutritionist, founder and author of Shaw Simple Swaps Air Fryer Cookbook for Dummies, explains, “Each probiotic acts differently and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to their use. While some strains provide benefits for those who struggle with gastrointestinal diseases, others are beneficial for allergies, acne, respiratory disorders, and even dental health.

Dietary habits

Eating a low-fiber diet for just one day can reduce gut microbiome diversity. Fibrous foods keep your stomach rich and happy; Therefore, a fiber-rich diet is essential to maintain a healthy gut. While a probiotic supplement can be helpful and support your gut, relying solely on supplements cannot compensate for a poor diet. Similarly, a study found that a high-sugar diet promotes inflammation and may harm gut health. So consider your probiotic supplement simply a supplement to be taken with a healthy diet, not a fix.

Health conditions and medications

It is safe for most healthy individuals to take probiotics. Lal advises anyone currently taking antibiotics to split the time between their antibiotic regimen and probiotics. Antibiotics work to kill bacteria to treat certain infections, and you don't want to counter this effect with the healthy bacteria that probiotics are adding to your gut. Lal recommends taking the antibiotic first and then waiting at least 2 hours before taking the probiotic supplement.

He also says, “Any very ill people with compromised immune systems, patients with end-organ failure, or people with small bacterial bowel overgrowth (SIBO) should avoid taking probiotics. Also anyone requiring high doses and/or long-term use of corticosteroids, such as individuals with autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease or connective tissue diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. These patients should generally avoid taking probiotics due to potential drug interactions as they may also cause infection or colonize your body in harmful ways.

morning vs evening

Whether you're a morning bird or a night owl, the best time of day to take probiotics is still undecided. Jenna Braddock, MSH, RD, CSSD, performance dietitian at MakeHealthyEasy.com and RhythmSportsNutrition.com, explains, “There is no generally accepted, scientifically supported reason why someone should or should not take a morning probiotic. Needed For many individuals, the morning ritual of taking their doses provides the best case for remembering to take them.

Shaw says, “Although the strain and amount of probiotics can affect when and how you should take them, a general rule of thumb is to work with your medical team to help ensure that other medications. And foods will not affect their efficacy when consumed together. ” She also says that if you experience gas after taking a probiotic supplement, taking it first may reduce discomfort and help avoid disrupting your sleep.

with or without food

Another common question health experts face regarding food is: Should I take my probiotic with or without food? Shaw explains, “Unfortunately, studies in this area are not consistent, leaving both consumers and supplement manufacturers confused. One study found that non-enteric coated bacterial probiotics should be consumed before or with a fat-rich meal for optimal bacterial survival of the probiotic. However, this is only one study and again, each strain is different.

Braddock also says, “Like most supplements, the best time to take them is first and foremost when you remember to take them! Consistency is most important. One study found that discontinuing the use of probiotics had less Within as little as eight days, that strain was no longer detectable in the intestine,'' according to Braddock. And remember, what works for one person may not work for another. So, try taking your probiotic with and without food to see how you respond best.

Is there a best time?

Ultimately, all of our experts agree that the best time to take a probiotic supplement is the one that works best specifically for you. They also recommend checking each product's label for specific timing instructions, as each probiotic may differ.

Lal reminds us that it's important to pay attention to how your body reacts to supplements. He says, “If you experience unusual pain, nausea, or diarrhea when taking probiotics with or without food, you may need to make changes to your daily schedule while taking it.”

Additionally, Shaw emphasizes, “What fits with your daily habits is to make sure you're incorporating them into your diet in a way that works for you and is able to become a habit.” , is the most important.”


According to our health experts, the best time to take a probiotic supplement depends on several personal factors. Remember to always check with your health care provider to make sure it is safe for you to take a probiotic based on your medical history. Then, check the product label for any specific timing instructions. If those instructions don't work for you, confirm with your medical team whether it's OK to try taking them at different times throughout the day, such as during the day or with meals. The best time to take a probiotic supplement is the time that works best for you.


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July 2024
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