by Will Grumke July 27, 2019 5 min read
Probiotics and gut health trends are becoming all of the rage in the world of nutrition, but why is that?
In this article, we’ll talk about what probiotics are, why they’re helpful, and when the best time to take them is.
There are billions of bacteria both inside and outside of your body.
Much of this bacteria is found in your stomach - and although this may sounds like a cause for alarm, it's actually okay!
Probiotics are the naturally occuring bacteria inside your gut. While we usually think of bacteria as a bad thing, but probiotics are actually an important part of your body's ecosystem. These bacteria exist in your stomach and intestines to help digest and move food from your stomach through your digestive system. They help sort out fuel from waste and allow you to get the full benefit of the nutrients in your food. You can see why probiotics are sometimes called "good bacteria" or "helpful bacteria"!
Probiotics also help strengthen your immune system against infections.
There are also tons of bacteria in the world (and even in your body) that isn't good for you. These bacteria can cause infections, stomach problems, and a variety of other health-related diseases.
These good and bad bacteria balance each other out creating a healthy biome within your body, which helps your body operate at an optimal level.
But, many of the habits we fall into create an environment that’s dangerous for those good bacteria. Stress, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and other bad habits cause a lot of those good bacteria living within us to die. These bad habits also give the bad bacteria an advantage they wouldn’t normally have.
Probiotic supplements can help you reclaim your health by replacing those missing good probiotics with new ones.
That way your body can operate at a more optimal level than before and fight back against those bad bacteria.
There are several different types of bacteria, known as strains, that are used in probiotic supplements. Individual strains are part of bigger categories, called species, and research shows that different species and strains target different areas of bacteria in the body and provide different benefits.
There are two common species of bacteria that are used for probiotic supplements: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Each of these species has a variety of strains, so you should compare products to find out what will work for you and your specific needs; different probiotics can help with everything from nausea, bloating, diarrhea or slow digestion to muscle and immune health.
Depending on the probiotic supplement you’re looking at, the “when” recommendation is going to look different. That “when” recommendation is also going to look different based on where you’re getting your information from. Some websites say early in the morning, while others say after each meal.
The reason why there are so many differing opinions on this topic is that we simply do not have a definite answer yet. There isn't a lot of concrete research on when the absolute best time for you to take probiotics is, and it probably depends on your body and a variety of other factors.
While there is lots of research being done, most experts agree on one thing: the best time to take probiotics is at a time where you can be consistent. When it comes to results, it is much more important to take the supplements consistently than to take them at a certain time or in a certain way.
We certainly agree with this way of thinking. But, here are some of the many different opinions you'll hear...
For example, some people say you should take your probiotics before you eat because that’s when your stomach acids are at their lowest.
They say this increases the chance that those bacteria will survive the digestion process and make it to where they need to in your digestive tract.
Others make the argument that it doesn’t matter how much stomach acid is or isn’t in your stomach. If the probiotic bacteria are the only things in your stomach, they’re the only things your stomach acids will digest.
These experts are of the opinion that you should take your probiotics with food. That’s because the food will increase the chance that the probiotics will survive, even if it increases the amount of stomach acid in the body.
At 1st Phorm, we’re of the opinion that the best time to take your probiotic supplements is when you can remember to take them, but preferably with food. Not only is it useful because the food protects the probiotic bacteria from stomach acid, but those probiotics need food in order to survive.
Some say that taking probiotics in the morning, just after you wake up and about 30 minutes before you eat, minimizes the amount of acid the bacteria will be subjected to and allows it to get into place. Then breakfast coming soon after gives the bacteria food to grow and directs the stomach acid away from the bacteria.
Well, what about before bed? Your digestion slows down while you sleep, so this could mean that the bacteria doesn't have to get through so much acid. Some supplement blends that include probiotics are made to improve sleep as well. Obviously, these specific probiotics should be taken before bed. You’ll know if the probiotic supplement is meant to be taken before bed, because it will explicitly state it on the bottle or container.
Now, if you are taking an everyday product like Opti-Greens 50 that has a probiotic in it… you can take it any time of the day! Same with most stand-alone Probiotic supplements. These supplements can be taken with or without food, in the morning, or before bed. I'll just point it out one more time - the thing that matters the most is consistency in taking your probiotics, however and whenever you choose to do it.
Yes. Probiotics are like every other type of supplement out there. They come in different strengths.
So depending on the probiotic you get, what your goal is with using a probiotic, and your lifestyle the answer to this question might vary… but in MOST cases, taking a probiotic every day is not only ok… it’s highly recommended!
Many supplements out there require that you take them 1 to 3 times a day, typically with a meal and 12-16 oz of water to have the desired effect. Read the packaging and dosing instructions on the probiotic you choose to take and consult with a healthcare professional if you're unsure about how much you should be taking.
1st Phorm has an awesome probiotic supplement for those who are looking to add probiotics to their routine!
Now, depending on your goals, and what other supplements you want or need … you may be able to kill two birds with one stone. Two of our most popular products contain probiotics in them ... The first one isMicro Factor and the second isOpti-Greens 50.
You can, and most people do, use these two products together as part of their daily stack! Then if you are looking for additional probiotic support you can add more probiotics into your supplement routine.
If you’re wanting to improve your health, and you think that probiotics are the way to make those improvements, come and check out 1st Phorm today!
NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, NASM VCS Virtual Coaching Specialist, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer