When is the best time of day to take live cultures?

When should I take my OptiBac live cultures?

Most of the OptiBac range are best taken with a meal, and ideally with breakfast.

Why is this the best time?

Research from microbiologists shows that at mealtimes (and especially breakfast time) the stomach’s gastric acidity is naturally at pH 4 or above.

The strains in the OptiBac range were developed to survive gastric acidity above (i.e. closer to neutral than) pH 3. In-vitro trials on our live culture strains show a 95-100% survival rate through gastric acidity at this pH level.

This is why we recommend taking the majority of our live cultures with your breakfast, as they will have the best survival rate through the body's gastric acidity. Plus, they're a great way to set yourself up for the day ahead!

Exceptions

There are a couple of our supplements that you can take at other times of day.

Bifidobacteria & fibre may result initially in gas and/or bloating (due to the FOS fibres), therefore some customers might prefer to take this at night rather than in the morning. Moreover, you can take up to four sachets of this supplement a day, so if you are taking more than one sachet then it’s best to take one with each meal, and/or one before bed.

Saccharomyces boulardii can also be taken away from breakfast-time - this strain is very robust, and need not necessarily be taken with breakfast, or even with food. It can be taken as and when required, at any time of day.

How should I take my OptiBac?

The first thing to note is that live cultures should NOT be taken directly with anything hot, as heat can damage the delicate bacteria. Acidic beverages like fruit juice are also not recommended, as acid could also harm the cultures.

However, it's perfectly fine to mix the contents of our capsules or sachets into other cold food and drinks, and this can actually be a great way for children to take their supplements.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Don't mix the live culture powder with hot or acidic food/drinks
  • It's not recommended to swallow your live culture capsules with a hot or acidic drink
  • It's fine to take your capsule/sachet with or in a cold, non-acidic drink/meal, then consume a hot/acidic drink or hot food straight afterwards
  • It's unnecessary to take your live culture with a cold drink, and then wait 15 minutes until you have a hot drink
  • It's not recommended to store probiotics that have been mixed with food or liquids
  • It's not recommended to store probiotics that have been mixed with food or liquids

Our supplements do not require refrigeration and are packaged in moisture and light-proof containers, capsules and sachets to ensure that they remain viable until the date of expiry. But once they leave the safe environment of their packaging, and especially once the capsules or sachets are opened, we can’t guarantee their viability; therefore, we’d always advise leaving the capsules in their containers until required, and then consuming them straight away. The same goes if you have added the contents of our sachets to a liquid/food – it’s best to consume this straight away as the live cultures may begin to degrade in the light and moisture.

Can I take live cultures with medication?

The short answer is: it depends.

Live cultures should not interfere with other medicines or herbal/natural remedies, so it’s generally fine to take our products alongside any other supplements or medications, but there are one or two exceptions.

If you are taking antibiotics, then certain live cultures are best taken separately. However, our 'For those on antibiotics' can safely be taken alongside antibiotics with no concerns over the viability of the bacterial strains.

It’s also necessary to avoid taking anti-fungal medicines or supplements alongside our Saccharomyces boulardii, as they may damage this friendly yeast.

Finally, if you are taking immunosuppressant medication, then you should speak to your doctor before taking live cultures, as good bacteria supplements are not generally recommended for those who are severely immunosuppressed. For more information, please see the following FAQ: I am severely immunosuppressed. Why can't I take live cultures?

Take a look at our range and find the right live cultures for you.

This FAQ has been answered by Kerry Beeson, BSc (Nut.Med) Nutritional Therapist.