Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD, PhD
Timing and balance play are integral in developing a healthy diet that suits your lifestyle. Consumption of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in unhealthy amounts or at the wrong time can harm health. The same theory applies to the use of probiotics.
Although not much is known about the gut microbiome, it is safe to consume some source of probiotics every day. Some probiotics can be taken once a day to get maximum health benefits, while others should be taken at a prescribed dose.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are good bacteria that balance out microbial flora of the digestive system when consumed in an adequate amount. Some pre-existing bacteria are beneficial, while others are harmful and can make you sick.
Several bacterial strains are found in the gut, and all of them perform different functions. The bacteria present in the intestines can perform tasks like producing fatty acids or providing defense against pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and viruses. A study titled “Probiotics: Versatile bioactive components in promoting human health,” published in Medicina, suggests that the use of probiotics can provide health benefits.
How Often Should You Take Probiotics?
Probiotics are safe for adults and can be taken daily. However, people with weak immune systems due to illness, chemotherapy, or surgery should not take probiotics regularly. Products with a high concentration of probiotic bacteria can be taken twice a day. It is essential to follow instructions to achieve optimal health benefits. Although taking too many probiotics can cause side effects like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas, it usually does not pose any extreme risk to one’s health.
Health Benefits Of Taking Probiotics Daily
Probiotics are beneficial microbes that help in digestion, keep the gut’s microbiota balanced, and help fight harmful bacteria. Some bacteria help break down and absorb medicines, while others help manufacture vitamins in the body. These bacteria can be found naturally in food items like kimchi, kombucha, and yogurt and can be obtained through supplements.
Choosing the right probiotics is essential because the quality of the products differs, and different strains of probiotics have different effects on the gut. In addition, specific probiotic strains work best in groups.
Probiotics have many health benefits and can treat conditions like diarrhea associated with antibiotics, anxiety, constipation, eczema, and chronic inflammatory diseases like ulcerative colitis. They also help in absorbing nutrients, including some vitamins and minerals. Moreover, probiotics play a crucial role in supporting the immune system.
What Are The Most Common Types Of Probiotic Bacteria?
Amongst the plethora of probiotic bacteria available in the market, two types of probiotics are commonly available in stores. These include:-
The most common type of yeast used as probiotics is Saccharomyces boulardii.
How Many Probiotics Should Be Taken Daily?
The amount of microbiome that can be taken daily depends on the needs of the individual. This is because many factors influence the gut flora, such as genes, health conditions, medications, including antibiotics, stress, and diet. Additionally, different strains have different health benefits. Hence, the amount of probiotics necessary to achieve a health benefit varies.
The dose of probiotic supplements is calculated as colony-forming units (CFU). It is believed that probiotics between the range of one million and one billion CFUs are adequate to produce health benefits.
The right approach to choosing the best probiotic is finding a product that can address one’s health problems instead of the one with the most CFUs.
For How Long Should You Take Probiotics?
A study, “Gut Microbiota alteration after long-term consumption of probiotics in the elderly,” published in Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins, suggests that using probiotics in the long-term can benefit the gut microbiome. However, like dosage, the duration of taking probiotics varies depending on the strains of bacteria used and the health conditions that one may have. For example, for people suffering from acute diarrhea, one may require probiotics for a short time to see the positive results.
A modern lifestyle exposes the gut to innumerable factors that can harm its flora. For example, stressful life, a diet full of sugar and processed foods, alcohol, and certain medicines have disturbed the gut flora. Therefore, while incorporating high-quality probiotic supplements into the daily routine, one should look for a probiotic supplement with a certain scientifically proven combination of strains.
What Is The Best Time Of The Day To Take Probiotics?
The best time to take probiotics depends on the strain and formulation. For example, some probiotics can be taken on an empty stomach, while others should be taken with a meal.
Certain medications can adversely affect the action of probiotics. Thus these medicines and probiotics should be taken separately.
Since taking probiotics daily has proven beneficial, it is crucial to choose a particular time of the day to take them daily to ensure consistency.
How Can One Take Probiotic Supplements?
There are several ways in which probiotic supplements can be taken. These include taking probiotics in food and drinks or capsules, powder, or pills. Probiotic supplements can be combined with prebiotic ones. Prebiotics are complex carbohydrates that help in the growth of the gut microbiome. Prebiotics are the source of food for the bacteria present in the gut. They help in increasing the concentration of good bacteria. Particular examples of prebiotics include inulin, pectin, and resistant starches. Synbiotic is a supplement that is rich in both prebiotics and probiotics.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be taken to keep the gut microbiome healthy. They are safe and can be taken daily. Different strains of probiotics have other effects.
Gao, R., Zhang, X., Huang, L., Shen, R., & Qin, H. (2019). Gut Microbiota alteration after long-term consumption of probiotics in the elderly. Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins, 11(2), 655–666. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12602-018-9403-1
Hurley, E. (2017, November 22). What to look for when selecting the right probiotic. Food & Nutrition Magazine. https://foodandnutrition.org/blogs/stone-soup/look-selecting-right-probiotic/
Quigley, E. M. M. (2013). Gut bacteria in health and disease. Gastroenterology & Hepatology, 9(9), 560–569.
Sharifi-Rad, J., Rodrigues, C. F., Stojanović-Radić, Z., Dimitrijević, M., Aleksić, A., Neffe-Skocińska, K., Zielińska, D., Kołożyn-Krajewska, D., Salehi, B., Milton Prabu, S., Schutz, F., Docea, A. O., Martins, N., & Calina, D. (2020). Probiotics: Versatile bioactive components in promoting human health. Medicina (Kaunas, Lithuania), 56(9), 433. https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56090433