Dietary supplement suitable for adults and children (from 4 years onwards) with the following recommendations:
- Take 1 capsule daily, preferably with breakfast.
- If desired, or professionally directed, can be increased to 2 capsules a day.
- Can be used on an ongoing basis.
- For anyone unable to swallow capsules, the capsule can be opened and the contents mixed with cold food or drinks.
- Do not exceed recommended daily dosage.
- For best results, do not remove desiccant sachet from the glass jar and close lid firmly after each use.
- For maximum potency, can be stored in the fridge after opening.
All questions answered by probiotic experts Dr Kate Stephens PhD (Food and Microbial Sciences) BSc(Hons) Medical Microbiology and Kerry Beeson BSc (Nut. Med.) Nutritional Therapist.
Can a probiotic be too high strength?
Probiotics are very safe supplements, and it’s not thought to be possible to ‘overdose’ on them: the human gut naturally contains trillions of micro-organisms, so the number of bacteria in a supplement is relatively small by comparison, and clinical trials have used doses up to 500 billion1. However, we’re all different with a unique gut microbiome, and some people do better on higher strength supplements, whereas others find they get the support they need from a lower dose. If you want to try a more powerful supplement but tend to be sensitive to new foods and supplements, then it’s best to start with a low dose and gradually increase. You can open all Optibac capsules and take half a dose if preferred.
How do I choose the best probiotic for adults?
With so many brands to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the probiotic supplement that’s right for you. We recommend looking for a probiotic which is guaranteed to reach the gut alive, contains well-researched strains, is shelf stable and does not need refrigerating. It is always good to choose a product with great customer reviews, but most importantly it should contain strains researched for the condition you’re trying to support.
Is it OK to take a probiotic every day?
Yes, it is safe and generally advisable to take your probiotic supplement daily. Probiotics colonize in the gut for a few weeks but research,2,4,5 suggests that the probiotic strains – along with their positive benefits – will disappear without regular supplementation, so it is a good idea to regularly support your microbiome. You can do this by including prebiotic-rich and fermented foods in your diet, but it is worth remembering that not all probiotics do the same thing in the body. Therefore, if you have a specific health condition you need to support, it is best to consume specific strains which have been shown to be helpful for your individual needs.
Should you take probiotics on a full or empty stomach?
In general, it’s best to take probiotics with the first meal of the day. There are concerns that stomach acid will damage the delicate probiotic bacteria, and that taking them on an empty stomach will help. But at breakfast time, stomach acidity is closer to ‘neutral’ than at other times of day (i.e. least acidic), and there is a lag time (up to 30 minutes) between food consumption and stomach acid release. Taking probiotics with food has additional benefits: the food helps to buffer the effects of stomach acid, facilitate the passage of the probiotics through the stomach, and ensures that they are well mixed with the stomach contents as they pass into the small intestines.
How long should you take probiotics for?
This depends on why you are taking them: some people like to take specific strains at certain times, for example during pregnancy, when travelling abroad, for menstrual bloating, or during the winter flu season. However, if you have ongoing health conditions, or just want to give your gut or vaginal microbiome a daily boost of good bacteria, then take your supplements every day. There is no current research to suggest the body becomes dependent on probiotics, so if you just feel better when you take them, it is fine to take your probiotics on a long-term, ongoing basis.
1. Pham M, Lemberg DA, Day AS. (2008) Probiotics: sorting the evidence from the myths. Med J Aust. Mar 3;188(5):304-8. PMID: 18312197.
2. Mimura, T. et al. (2004). 'Once daily high dose probiotic therapy (VSL#3) for maintaining remission in recurrent or refractory pouchitis'. Gut, 53(1): 108-114
3. Eskesen et al. (2015) Effect of the probiotic strain Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis, BB-12®, on defecation frequency in healthy subjects with low defecation frequency and abdominal discomfort: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial. Br J Nutr; 114, 10: 1638-46.
4. Morelli L et al., 2004. 'Utilisation of the intestinal tract as a delivery system for urogenital probiotics'. Journal of clinical gastroenterology; 38(6): 107-110
5. Jacobsen et al., 1999. 'Screening of probiotic activities of 47 strains of Lactobacillus spp. by in vitro techniques and evaluation of the colonisation ability of 5 selected strains in humans'. Applied and Environmental Microbiology; 65 (11): 4949-4956
Probiotics are not recommended for those with serious medical conditions e.g. those who are severely immunosuppressed, have pancreatitis, are in the ICU, have melaena, have a central venous catheter, infants with short bowel syndrome, or patients with open wounds following major surgery; unless under a doctor's care. Keep out of reach of children.
This is a dietary supplement and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Dietary supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you are taking any medications or have a serious medical condition, consult a doctor before use. Optibac supplements will not cause dependency and may be used on an ongoing basis.