When is the best time to take live cultures?

Unless specifically advised otherwise, we recommend taking your Optibac live cultures with breakfast, as this means they will have the best survival rate through the body's gastric acidity.

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 of day to take live cultures?

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 breakfast as the best time of day to take live cultures, as they will have the best survival rate through the body's gastric acidity. Plus, taking live cultures daily is a great way to set yourself up for the day ahead!

Are there exceptions to the best time to take live cultures?

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

Bifido & 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 to take live cultures

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 our liquid drops or 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 when taking live cultures:

  • Don't mix the live culture powder or drops with hot or acidic food/drinks
  • It's fine to take your capsule, sachet or drops 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 cultures 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

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 live 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?

Know you know about when to take live cultures, take a look at the Optibac range and find the right live cultures for you.

You may also like to read: Can I take two Optibac supplements at the same time?

This FAQ about when to take live cultures has been answered by Kerry Beeson, BSc (Nut.Med) Nutritional Therapist.