When Is The Best Time To Take Probiotics? (2022)

Probiotics are friendly live bacteria and sometimes yeast that are good for the human body. These tiny microorganisms are often sold in dietary food supplements and are taken for the health benefits.

Poor diet, stress and antibiotic usage can all contribute negatively on the diversity of this good probiotic bacteria and can cause in imbalance in gut bacteria that can lead to decreased diversity of probiotic bacteria in the microbiome.

Some good quality probiotic supplements may be able to help restore this imbalance in gut bacteria but only if you follow the correct instructions. This guide will explain when the best time of the day to take probiotics is so that you are able to get the most benefits for your gut.

Why Timing Matters


Low Stomach Acid

If you wondering if you can take probiotics at random times during the day the answer is yes you can but they may get killed by your stomach acid and not make it through your large and small intestines where eventually they will sit, hopefully multiply and provide health benefits.

For me personally I make probiotics part of my daily routine, as soon as my eyes open in the morning I swallow my capsules and drink a large glass of water. Because my routine is so solid, I never miss a day.

The other big reason I take probiotics first thing in the morning is because my stomach is empty and has the lowest PH of gastric content. The acid inside your stomach is designed to break down food, kill bacteria and destroy viruses. This acid doesn't know that probiotic bacteria are the good guys.

If for whatever reason you can't take your probiotic bacteria first thing in the morning then the next best would be to take 2-3 hours after your meal or 1 hour prior to any meals. 

I take FlowFlora which is coated in a substance derived from brown seaweed & uses matrek bi pass technology. Both of these things do a good job at protecting the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium bacteria from harsh stomach acid but for peace of mind I still take it on an empty stomach.

Why Your Meals Matter


High Stomach Acid

Drinks like coffee can provide large amounts of stomach acid and the hot boiling water can also kill most lactobacillus probiotic strains. Fluids like vinegar and alcohol are also particularly harmful so don't think about washing your supplement down with these liquids.

Large meals can also lead to the production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes so if you eat large meals and this sits in your stomach more acid and digestive enzymes will be produced. If you are rushed for time then at least try to eat something small snack that can be digestive easily. Bananas, Almonds and Avocados are good options and they also include great prebiotic fiber.

I often see people leave 1-star reviews for probiotic supplements claiming that they didn't work and that those supplements are scams. Many times the reason the supplement didn't work is because they chugged down the capsule with a large Indian curry and double espresso coffee.

How Stomach Acid Works

The worst time to take probiotics is immediately after a meal, as this means that your digestive system is hyperactive after digesting the meal consumed by you earlier on, and your stomach is full of acid with a PH of 1.5 and 2.5 but in the large colon the PH is far higher making it a better environment for probiotic bacteria to survive.

Stomach acid is known to be lethal to most types of gut bacteria, including the good ones which are found in probiotic supplements. If you take them after having a meal, then most of the good gut bacteria will be killed as soon as they reach your stomach. 

Because it can take up to 6-8 hours food to pass your digestive system if you eat a large meal you should take this into account when timing your probiotic usage. Eating larger meals will require more time needed to wait before and after your meals.

Taking a walk after a large meal has been shown to speed up the digestive process so if you want to take your probiotic supplement after your evening dinner then simply go for a walk first instead of laying on the couch. This may help limit stomach acid production.

Not All Probiotic Bacteria Is The Same

If you ear eating probiotic gummies then they are likely to contain Bacillus Coagulans and this strain is different from Lactobacillus bacteria in a number of ways. Bacillus Coagulans strain has been shown to be far more durable and can survive extreme conditions like boiling water. If you probiotic supplement only contained Bacillus Coagulans then in theory you could take it at any time of the day regardless of stomach acid production.

Best Time To Take Probiotics Is In The Morning Before Breakfast


Take Your Probiotic In The Morning

Based one what we now know about stomach acid we can safely assume that for most people, the best time of the day to take probiotics is in the morning immediately after waking up before breakfast.

When you wake up, it’s been several hours since you’ve eaten up anything, and this essentially means that your digestive system is most inactive. Your stomach doesn’t contain a lot of acid associated with the digestive process. This provides the best environment for the bacteria found in probiotics.

If you are a night owl then the next best option would be to take your probiotics at least 3-hours after your last meal of the day. Remember, you can also take a brisk walk to speed up your digestive process.

Probiotic FAQ

How Long Do Probiotics Take To Work?

From all of the probiotic studies I have read, health benefits were noted at around 4-weeks. Reducing inflammation, growing and killing bad bacteria all takes time and doesn't happen overnight. 

You can help your probiotic bacteria grow by feeding it prebiotic fiber and also by eating an anti-inflammatory foods. Ingesting probiotics on an empty stomach will allow it to pass through the stomach quicker.

Best Time To Take Probiotics For IBS

The best time to take probiotics for IBS first depends on what type of IBS you have. If you have IBS-D for example then the best time to take probiotics may be in the evening after you have finished work or on the weekend when you don't have to be out in public. Probiotics could trigger side effects diarrhea when they first start to work. If you have IBS-C then the best time would be first thing in the morning as this may help you head to the toilet the following morning to poop.

Can You Take Probiotics With Antibiotics?

Most strains used in probiotics don’t react negatively with antibiotics; research suggests you can safely consume them together with antibiotics.

Many people take probiotics along with antibiotics to help with things like antibiotic-associated diarrhea and with repopulating the gut after the antibiotics wipe out your good bacteria.


Probiotic Side Effects

If you are taking a probiotic supplement for the first time you should be prepared for initial side effects that should pass after your body adjust. If you experience initial symptoms you can be sure that the probiotic bacteria has made it through to your large colon. Side effects may include gas, mild diarrhea, bloating. If any side effects persist after 1-week or you experience in allergic reactions you should discontinue use immediately and consult with a doctor. I am not a doctor.

Do you have a question? Leave a comment below and I will answer it.

Final Thoughts

There is no easy answer to the question when to take probiotics. It's going to be different for each person. Depending on their circumstances, health, and the reason why they are taking the supplement in the first place. 

Although, we can assume that for most people, taking Probiotics early morning on an empty stomach works best, and you can take them immediately after you wake up each morning. 

The content in this guide is purely informational and should not be taken as medical advice. I am not a Doctor.

Probiotics should not be taken as a substitute for medicines to treat conditions or diseases. If you experience any symptoms or side effects, you should consult with your medical professional.

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