When is the best time to take probiotics?

Probiotics are live strains of microorganisms (such as bacteria and yeast). They are present in some foods, especially fermented foods like yogurt or kombucha, but are also available as supplements.

People take probiotics for a variety of health issues, especially digestive conditions like diarrhea, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Probiotics can have an effect on the gut microbiome, which is made up of all the microorganisms that live in the digestive tract.

What\’s not clear is which types of probiotics are best for which conditions, what time of day to take the probiotics, or whether probiotics should be taken with food. This article will include a review of what is known about the best times to take probiotics.

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How to take probiotics

Probiotics come in different forms. You can consume probiotic-rich fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, and miso. Or, you can take oral probiotic supplements in capsule or liquid forms. Apart from these there are topical probiotics which are applied to the skin or vagina.

One of the main problems with oral probiotics is how to keep them alive long enough to travel through the acidic environment of the stomach and small intestine to reach the colon, where they are believed to have the greatest effect.

Start a probiotic

It is important to consult a doctor before starting a probiotic. Probiotics come in many different forms and strains, and it may be difficult to determine which type to try. A healthcare professional can help by recommending a specific probiotic.

There has been some research into what time of day probiotics should be taken and what types of foods they should be taken with for maximum effect, but no general agreement has been reached within the medical community. However, there are some rules of thumb that can help you make choices about probiotics.

One study sought to determine whether what you eat or drink with probiotics affects how well they work. The experiment was not conducted in humans, but was instead an in vitro study (not using a live organism) using a model of the digestive tract.

The tension in the studio wasLactobacillus fermentum K73. The researchers found that this particular strain lived longer when mixed with milk instead of water. This could mean that taking a probiotic with milk could be more beneficial than taking it with water. But the authors can\’t say for sure that this made a significant difference in the composition of the human gut microbiome.

A 2017 study from Italy looked at a combination of Bifidobacterium longum AND Lactobacillus rhamnosus, two types of bacteria found in the digestive system. Participants took the probiotics 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after breakfast. Timing didn\’t affect the results, as both groups were shown to have an increase in good bacteria and a decrease in bad bacteria in the gut.

Prebiotics are also important while taking probiotics. Prebiotics are non-digestible parts of plants that become food for probiotics (and for existing microorganisms in the gut microbiome). Some dietary sources of prebiotics are nuts, legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans), onions, garlic, wheat products, artichokes, and chicory root.

The point is, there is no agreed-upon way to take a probiotic. It should be based on each individual\’s needs, how they structure their day, and whether probiotics are causing any side effects.

When to take probiotics: morning or evening?

Most probiotic clinical studies do not include the time of day the supplements were taken, such as first thing in the morning or at bedtime. This could mean that the researchers don\’t expect the time of day to have much of an impact.

The best time to take a probiotic may be when it is most convenient to take it. A probiotic that is not taken because it has been forgotten will have no chance of acting.

Talk to a healthcare professional about taking a probiotic. Additionally, each probiotic will have its own instructions on how best to take it. Probiotics are made by various methods and with different ways of encapsulation, such as coatings on capsules to protect the contents from stomach acid or to allow for timed release.

The product label should provide details about when is the best time to take the probiotic, whether it should be taken with or without food or with milk or other food, and whether it is most effective when taken in the morning or evening.

When is the best time to take probiotics?

There isn\’t much evidence showing the best time to take probiotics, so plan it when it\’s most convenient for you to remember to take it.

If you experience symptoms after taking a probiotic, you can try changing the time of day you take the probiotic or taking the probiotic with a meal. If taking the probiotic with food is recommended, take it with the same meal each day (such as breakfast).

Check with a healthcare professional whether it makes sense to take a probiotic at a time of day other than other medications. For example, they may recommend not taking it at the same time as an antibiotic, as that drug may kill the probiotic organisms.

What might be more important is taking the probiotic consistently and taking it for the recommended length of time.

Tips for starting a probiotic

When starting a probiotic:

  • Seek advice from a healthcare professional about which probiotic to take (such as a particular strain or brand).
  • Read the label carefully to understand when and how to take it.
  • Take the probiotic at the same time each day.
  • Evaluate how you feel after taking it.
  • Consider keeping a symptom diary to track your progress.

Signs that probiotics are working for you

Whether a probiotic can help with symptoms will depend on a number of factors, such as the strains, formulation, dosage, and the condition being addressed. In general, one measure of a probiotic\’s effectiveness is that symptoms begin to improve. However, you should keep in mind that the probiotic may not be the reason for the improvement.

People take probiotics for several desired results. Most of these have not been verified by research. Possible benefits you may notice include:

Signs that probiotics aren\’t working for you

The evidence on probiotics is unclear. It is not yet known which strain (or strains) might be best for each person and for which health condition. Because probiotics aren\’t usually covered by health insurance plans and can be expensive, consumers will want to know that what they\’re taking is worth the extra expense.

If you\’re taking a probiotic supplement, check the label to see how long the manufacturer recommends you take it to experience benefits. See your doctor if symptoms continue or do not improve. If you have a health condition or symptoms that concern you, don\’t take probiotics instead of consulting a doctor.

If your doctor has recommended a probiotic, ask your doctor when you can expect to see results and what signs may indicate the probiotic is working. If there are no noticeable changes in that time period, ask if you need to change the strain or stop taking probiotics.

Any adverse effects that occur after starting a probiotic, such as headache, bloating, or excess gas, are a reason to ask a health care professional about changing the probiotic or discontinuing it.

Side effects

Probiotics are widely considered safe. However, they are living organisms that can grow and colonize in unexpected ways. When using a probiotic, you may experience rare adverse events, including infections, especially if you are immunocompromised.

For this reason, it is important that anyone with a health condition who wants to take probiotics first makes sure it is safe to do so.

Who shouldn\’t take probiotics?

Probiotics usually don\’t cause serious problems. Minor symptoms in some people include gas and infections, although infections are rare.

However, there are some people who may be at greater risk of having a negative result. People who are very ill or have compromised immune systems may not be good candidates for probiotics. The World Gastroenterology Organization advises against taking probiotics for people with serious illnesses or compromised immune systems.


For those who want to try probiotics, asking a healthcare professional will be the best way to get advice before exploring the option. The time of day probiotics are taken and whether they should be taken with a meal will depend on the strain and the manufacturer\’s recommendation.

The benefits should be noticed within a few weeks. Probiotics are safe for most people, but those who have serious illnesses or are immunocompromised may be at greater risk for complications.

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