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We know how important it is to take probiotics at the best time and in the best way, and so we've compiled a few tips to help you get the most out of your live cultures. It may seem a little daunting at first but, rest assured, you don't need to drastically change your lifestyle to maximise the effect from your probiotics.
Today, breakfast seems to have taken a bit of a backseat in most households. In fact, according to a recent study1 the number of us choosing to skip breakfast has doubled in just three years. Most people seem to find breakfast a bit of an inconvenience. Some people skip it all together, whilst others choose sugary cereal bars, breakfast drinks or ‘carby’ croissants as a quick “on the go” alternative.
That being said, breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day because it provides you with the energy, sustenance and vitality you need to kick-start your morning!
It's also the best time to take your probiotics! This is because breakfast time is when your stomach is at its least acidic and, as a result, the probiotics have the best chance of surviving the harsh stomach environment and reaching your gut alive – our strains of probiotics have a 95 to 100% survival rate! (Read more about our research and quality testing).
However, if you choose to take your probiotics at lunch or dinner the chances of the good bacteria surviving decrease marginally. This is because later in the day, you are more likely to have consumed a variety of different foods and stimulated acid production in your stomach. This increased acidity might result in some slight losses of bacteria as the probiotics journey through the stomach, resulting in fewer good bacteria arriving in the gut.
Another quick tip is to make sure that you do not take your probiotics with acidic food or drinks. Just as your stomach acid can damage the delicate bacteria, so could strongly acidic foods or drinks.
These include anything from a glass of wine to citrus fruit juices - so, make sure you aren't taking your probiotic with your glass of OJ at breakfast time. The same applies again for anything hot! We don’t recommend sprinkling your probiotics into a hot bowl of porridge as the heat may also kill off some of that good bacteria.
However, if you struggle with swallowing capsules or taking pills, do not worry! There are probiotics which are flavourless and can be dissolved into water or mixed into lukewarm food and drinks.
If you haven’t already, create a healthy morning ritual:
You aren’t going to see a significant difference by taking just one capsule every so often so make it part of your routine and most importantly, stick to it! It takes some time for probiotic levels to build up in your gut, so don’t expect immediate results.
You can also consider adding fermented foods to your diet. These foods are high in amino acids, sodium, fibre and calcium and a great way to introduce additional “live cultures” to your diet. It also makes for an interesting and unique way to mix up your weekly meals with something a little less conventional.
It’s no secret that we consider ourselves probiotic specialists, so we know that there are specific strains of good bacteria or ‘live cultures’ that have different effects on the body. Some have even been scientifically proven to work effectively in different parts of the gut.
As an example, some specific strains have been found to work in the large intestine to help maintain regularity, whereas others have been found to work higher up the digestive tract to support IBS symptoms. Other strains have even been associated with improving mental health. There really is no end to the health benefits of good quality probiotics!
Make sure that, first and foremost, you take the probiotic that’s right for you, and your own specific health requirements. If you have any under lying health conditions, we would always recommend that you seek medical advice first before purchasing a probiotic.
As written in “probiotic myths…BUSTED”, research shows that “the quality of the strain is of much more importance than the quantity”.
In today’s modern world, we are often told, as consumers, that the more there is of something, the more amazing it is! This is not necessarily true of probiotics.
A probiotic supplement that contains multiple strains of good bacteria isn't necessarily better than a product that includes fewer or even only one strain. Equally, having huge numbers of each strain of bacteria in the product (known as the CFU) isn't the most vital thing. Choose quality over quantity. Sometimes less really is more.....
Hopefully these 5 quick tips will help you maximise those mighty microbes to their full potential in your gut!
Enjoyed this article? Check out some other related pages below:
Does it really matter what time you take your probiotics?
Healthcare professionals can see: Do women’s probiotics work in the gut?