Probiotics are one of the biggest wellness trends of the moment. Not only can you find supplement versions, but everything from bottled water to tortilla chips are being laced with the friendly microbes.
In case you need a refresher, probiotics are good bacteria thought to boost the health of your microbiome, or the balance of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that lives in your intestines. You can — and should — get them from foods (like yoghurt, kimchi and miso), but you may also want to throw back some Bac’ in pill form.
While studies haven’t proven that probiotic supplements are beneficial for already healthy peeps, they have been shown to help treat a handful of specific conditions, like digestive disorders such as diarrhoea, constipation, and acid reflux.
There’s also evidence that probiotics can help reduce inflammation for people who have ulcerative colitis, can be helpful for people who have a condition called traveller’s diarrhoea (basically, your digestion gets thrown off by travelling), and can help if you have bad diarrhoea after having taken antibiotics.
You should talk to your doctor to find out which probiotic strain is best for you to take for whichever condition or issue you’re dealing with, since not every strain works for every aliment. Once you have a doc-recommended supplement, it’s also important to consider the timing of when you ingest it.
How often should I take probiotics?
The tricky thing about probiotics is that they don’t stay in your gut for very long. You poop them out, so in order for them to be effective, you need to take them daily until you feel better, says Tamara Freuman, a dietician and author of The Bloated Belly Whisperer. “Any benefits from a probiotic only happen as it passes through your body,” she says. Because of that, taking your probiotics at a certain time can actually make them more effective.
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When should I take probiotics?
The ideal time to take probiotics is right before bed because “the gut is pretty inactive at night. If you think about it, you don’t usually wake up in the middle of the night to poop,” says Dr Patricia Raymond, a doctor in both gastroenterology and internal medicine. If you ingest a probiotic at night when your bowel isn’t moving, there’s a better chance that it will hang around, divide, and potentially get integrated into your gut.
Should I take my probiotics with other medications?
Even if you toss back vitamins or other medication in the morning (including any antibiotics that may have prompted you to start probiotics), you should still take your probiotics at nighttime. With more time in your gut, the good bacteria can get to work healing your digestive issues. And that’s exactly what you want if you’re investing in a supplement.
The bottom line: The best time to take a probiotic is generally at nighttime before bed. But speak with your doctor before taking any sort of supplement to make sure it makes sense for you and your body/condition.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
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