Getting the Most Out of Your Probiotic? Learn How to Take Probiotics

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Should you take them with food or on an empty stomach? Learn how to take probiotics to ensure absorption

how to take probiotics

Did you know that how you take probiotics matters? This can change whether or not your absorbing the “friendly bacteria”.

Almost all containers state under “how to take probiotics” that it doesn’t matter if it’s with or without food. If you have tried to research this on the internet, it’s even more confusing as half of the sites says to take probiotics with food or else they won’t work, and the other half say to take them without food.

Yet, it does matter!  Studies have shown that in order to optimally benefit and ensure that the good bacteria makes it down into your intestines, timing of probiotics is key!


What are Probiotics?

If you’re not familiar with probiotics, probiotics are cultures of “good bacteria”.  Your gut contains a combination of both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics help ensure a good balance of intestinal flora.

When we use the word probiotic, most of the time it’s referring to a supplement. However, the term can also be used when talking about fermented foods, as they also contain good bacteria.


How to Take Probiotics

Many people know the benefits of adding probiotics, “friendly bacteria”, to their health regimen and take them either as a supplement or consume them in fermented foods that have active live cultures, such as yogurt, fermented pickles or fermented sauerkraut.

However,  how to take probiotics is often not considered, specifically what time of the day is it best to take them.

Here’s the truth:

If you are taking a supplement, it is best to take it on an empty stomach when you wake up in the morning or before bed. When you first get up, take the probiotic, then get ready for the day preferably waiting at least 30 minutes before you eat breakfast.

You can also take the probiotic with food and still get pretty good absorption.. The reason this may decrease some absorption of a supplement probiotic is that the probiotic ends up spending more time in the stomach. Also, another reason to take them on an empty stomach is because before the journey to the intestines, the bacteria will have more difficulty surviving the harsh stomach acid during digestion, affecting their potency.

But, don’t take them after a meal! Probiotics that are taken after a meal have even more difficulty surviving stomach acid levels as this is when your stomach acid is at it’s highest. A study from last year found that when a probiotic supplement was taken after a meal, extremely low levels of bacteria survived.

A recent study in the Journal of Beneficial Microbes showed that probiotics are optimally absorbed when taken prior to a meal and were absorbed almost as well when taken with a meal containing fats.


How Else to Get Probotics

You don’t have to take probiotic supplements to ensure healthy intestinal flora, you can also make fermented foods! It is best to make them yourself and not rely on store bought fermented foods as they are often bastardized and  preserved in salt rather than in lactobacterial-salt.

Not Taking a Probiotic or Fermented Foods? Why You Should Start:

1. Improved digestion

2. Healthier gut

3. Improved absorption of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals

4. Reduction in cavities

5. Increased resistance to infection, reduces risk of flu and colds

6. Reduced risk of colon cancer

7. Beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome, Chron’s disease, etc.


Do you take probiotics? When do you usually take them?



Linked on: Family Table Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, Fat Tuesday,

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    • dude says

      Dont worry about branding, Branding causes huge costs to keep it going.
      What you want to look at is the strength (CFU)
      5 billion CFU is an easy strength to find (good one too wouldent go lower)

      I recently got 250 unbranded ones from ebay (5bill CFU)
      cost little under £10. Brands would charge more then that for 30

      happy hunting

      I will be taking 5 a day for a few months (Im in need of high dose)

  1. Jeannie says

    I either drink homemade kombucha or kefir. I had not paid any attention to when I drink/eat it. Should this be done on an empty stomach?

  2. Jeannie says

    Opps I forgot to check the notify reposting
    I either drink homemade kombucha or kefir. I had not paid any attention to when I drink/eat it. Should this be done on an empty stomach?

  3. Young natural mommy says

    I’m pregnant and do not eat packaged foods or from restaurants. I steam greens n eat only organic foods. I’m aware of most health myths… How much fermented sauerkraut should I eat on a daily basis? Aren’t fermented fermented foods kinda alcoholic? I only have one chance at this pregnancy as my partner past away recently. I gave up kombucha to be on the safe side. But, maybe it is safer to take my (food) probiotics n absorb more nutrients… I don’t take supplements ever only foods, and I am O blood, I don’t do dairy(especially in cold season).

    • Lori, Health Extremist says

      Fermented foods are great for increasing good bacteria. I haven’t heard of a recommended amount to eat per day. For myself, I try to eat at least one serving of fermented foods per day with a meal.

  4. Gina Love 17 says

    I have been taking the Lady Soma Probiotics for about 1 year now and I can’t belive the difference it makes in my digestive health! My OB/GYM reccomended Lady Soma. I have had stomach/instestinal problems my whole life and I have diagnosed with IBS. since taking the probiotics I have seen alot of improvement.

  5. Palak says

    The best book if you want to learn more about Probiotics is “The Probiotics Revolution” by Gary B. Huffnagle. The best way to take probiotics ( good bacteria) is to take it with prebiotics(food for the good bacteria). Prebiotics is also available from apples,bcoz apples contain pectin which is a prebiotic.

  6. Billi says

    Pb8 works best for me but have tried Prilosec as well. Pb8 is a capsule which I like better than a pill. I take on empty stomach at least 30 minutes before a meal. Helped stomach issues; just hope it continues./b

  7. says

    The study in the Journal of Beneficial Microbes says that taken before a meal is almost as good as taken with a meal with fat. So then that’s better than on an empty stomach? Maybe I’ll just experiment with both. I have inconsistently taken one that is pre and probiotic. I just ordered it today, as it’s had good testimonies, and plan to use it after a two week detox. Although I’m wondering if it’s best to take it during the detox or after?

    • Lori, Health Extremist says

      It could depend on what type of detox you’re doing, but I prefer to never go without either a good probiotic or fermented foods.

  8. Dianne says

    I’ve been taking probiotics for years first thing in the morning right before I drink my shake. It seems to work for me.

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