For those of you who follow closely tweets about probiotics (can't just be me... can it?) you'll know that coffee has been the latest buzz word to grace probiotic tweeters' keyboards. Why? Well, mainly because a company in the US has come out with a super coffee. (Probiotic coffee, that is.) And this morning you're in for a treat, because I'm going to tell you ALL about probiotics and coffee.

coffee

The World's First Probiotic Coffee

Ok firstly, can I just say that as a rule, coffee is NOT a probiotic. A while ago an interesting company came out with a probiotic chocolate - which was yummy, I tried it. But it does frustrate me now when people occasionally say that chocolate IS a probiotic. Because it's not pal. If it were, the world would probably be a different place. Chocolate is delicious, and fine in small amounts, but it also tends to contain a lot of sugar (which will feed pathogens in the body), and depending on the ingredients can contain other artificial sweeteners, colourings and additives. Neither coffee, nor chocolate, are health foods.

Incidentally for those keen to read more, we've recently written a piece on liquid probiotics here!

Right, back to the coffee. The probiotic strain in question, Bacillus coagulans GanedenBC30, apparently has a unique ability to survive in a hot drink - a very impressive feat for a probiotic - as bacteria are by nature sensitive to heat, and we wouldn't usually recommend swigging coffee or tea with your probiotics dose in the morning. (more on that later.)

The particular probiotic used is a 'spore-forming' bacteria, which seemingly protects the cell's genetic material from external pressures such as heat. At OptiBac we don't currently use any spore forming bacteria. We like to see an extensive amount of human clinical trials on any probiotic strain before taking it on.

Is this going to be the new way to take probiotics? Who knows. Do we think it's a good idea? Well I'm not convinced about the amount of research behind this product, but perhaps we will be proven wrong. I wouldn't suggest swapping from a high quality supplement to coffee just yet... but for any serious coffee drinkers, perhaps there's no harm in exchanging the occasional cup for a probiotic version - as it might well help to support your digestion (or at least minimise the effects of the coffee) at the same time as giving you your morning caffeine fix. Wins all around!

coffee

Image from http://bdos.tumblr.com/post/39029348676

Can I take my Probiotics with Coffee?

Now, probiotics and hot coffee have 'bean' the 'grounds' of many a heated discussion in the geeky probiotic world. I kid you not. This issue is all the more relevant because at OptiBac we recommend taking most of the range with breakfast - when a lot of you like to enjoy a hot drink.

It is true that heat kills bacteria. So you may not want to literally put your probiotics (the usual kind) IN a hot drink. However we don't tend to make a big song and dance about it, because by the time tea or coffee is cool enough to drink, its closer to body temperature - which the probiotics will be subjected to anyway (and can survive if they're put through plenty of tests, like ours of course) so its not really a big deal.

I know this is not black and white (its brown - hahaa..) so let me demonstrate with a few scenarios:

  • Opening a probiotic sachet (like our flat stomach probiotic) and mixing it with your hot drink: Bad idea.
  • Swigging some coffee or tea with your probiotic capsules: Probably fine, but not completely ideal.
  • Taking your probiotic capsule or sachet with a cold drink, then sipping hot drink afterwards: Totally fine.
  • Taking your probiotic with a cold drink, waiting 15 minutes until you have a hot drink: Fine, but overly cautious.

Do Probiotics and Coffee have anything in common?

1. Here's a unique little nugget of information for you - probiotics and coffee can both be used internally during or after colonic hydrotherapy. Apparently some colonic hydrotherapists insert probiotic enemas via the anus at the end of a colonic, as well as recommending probiotic supplements be taken orally. Coffee can also be used at the end of a colonic, as veins near the anus draw the coffee up into the liver; which can be of benefit to patients who are especially looking to cleanse the liver - for example some cancer patients who want to prevent the spread of cancer into the liver.

I spoke to Linda Booth, Vice Chair of UK Colonics (The Association of Registered Colon Hydroptherapists - ARCH) who explained that this is a perfectly sound practice, and specified that it is "organic, ground coffee - not just instant coffee from the cupboard!" Good to know. If you're interested in finding out more about colon hydrotherapy, you can visit their website, and if you are considering undergoing the therapy we'd recommend finding a reputable practitioner by using ARCH's 'find a therapist' page.

2. Yup, sorry folks, its about bowels again. A lot of people know that coffee can help to make them, you know, 'Go'. Here I'd say that coffee can have things in common with SOME probiotics. After all, our focus is all about getting the right probiotic for you. Certain probiotic strains, like Bifidobacterium lactis BB-12, which can be found in our probiotic 'For maintaining regularity' - would have a lot in common with coffee in this regard. Find out more about our probiotic For maintaining regularity.

Apart from those two gems, I can't think what coffee and probiotics have in common at all. If you can think of anything, please feel free to add your comments below.

Thank you!

Comments

  • I agree! I am not convinced. My main concern is that for IBS sufferers advice is to reduce intake of caffeinated drinks but that probiotics may be beneficial....and then there is probiotic coffee.hmmm

  • Response from OptiBac Probiotics

    That's a very good point Beth - it had crossed my mind that avid coffee drinkers don't quite match the target market for probiotics (people who really care about their health and want to supplement their gut flora) - but you quite rightly take it to a different level here - that a lot of the people who take probiotics do so for their Irritable Bowel Syndrome (many of our customers have some form of IBS) - and these people should be avoiding drinks like coffee altogether! ~ S

  • "Now, probiotics and hot coffee have 'bean' the 'grounds' of many a heated discussion..."

    Brutal pun, but funny.

  • What about the acid level increase in stomach because of the coffee/caffeine portion? Won't that cancel out the Probiotic?

  • @ Danny,
    Thank you for your very good question regarding the survival of live cultures in increased stomach acidity due to coffee consumption.
    I would like to reassure you that our products are thoroughly tested and proven to survive stomach acidity.
    You may like to check out this link to another blog post which gives further details about the testing process.


  • How long should I wait after having my probiotic to have coffee?

  • Hi Camille,

    Thanks for your question.
    It's fine to take your probiotic capsule or sachet with a cold drink, then sip your hot morning coffee afterwards!
    Kerry

  • Would caffeine not affect probiotic?

  • Hi Trudie,

    Thanks for your question.
    We haven't found any convincing evidence to suggest that caffeine harms probiotics, particularly those strains used in our own range of products as these are put through stringent tests to ensure their viability. In fact, one of our products, 'For daily immunity' contains a very small amount of caffeine due to one of its added antioxidant ingredients, green tea extract.
    As long as you don't swallow the capsules down with a gulp of very hot tea or coffee, you can continue to enjoy your morning coffee safe in the knowledge that your probiotics should make to their destination in your tum unharmed!
    Wishing you the best of health,
    Kerry

  • You mention probiotic chocolate in the article. Isn't chocolate heated when it is formed into bars? How does this affect the probiotic? Could probiotic chocolate be melted (e.g. in hot milk) without killing the bacteria?

  • Thank you, Kerry. Informative article, delightfully worded. Answered my question as I was about to have breakfast. Will check out your website now.

  • Hi Ali,

    Thanks for your interesting question - it's a very good point! We wanted to know the definitive answer to this too, as even the hardiest strains of probiotic would be negatively affected by exposure to very high temperatures. So we spoke to a probiotic choccy company!
    Here's what they said...

    After refining the chocolate ingredients and 'conching' the mixture to make it smooth, the probiotic cultures are added right at the very last minute before the chocolate is molded.This means that there is only a very short period of exposure to higher temperatures. Additionally, in order to guarantee that the chocolate contains the stated number of live cultures, extra cultures are added to compensate for any that may be damaged by the heat.

    Heating the probiotic chocolate is therefore not a good idea...
    Hope this answers your question.

    Wishing you the best of health,

    Kerry

  • I just wanted to say how much I appreciated all the puns!!

  • The word "heated" should have also been in quotes. ;)

  • Thank you thank you

  • hi kerry,

    thanks for this post
    i have two question
    then which quantity of probiotics we should consider for case by case? like some 7billion, 10billion, 35billion and so on? how do we know which type we need?

    so can i intake with cold milk? haha..

    thanks :)

  • Hi Avery,

    Thanks for your questions.

    Everyone is different, so if you need any help choosing the best combination of products for you, and have any questions about dosage, then you're welcome to contact us for advice.

    And yes, cold milk is fine... :-)

    With best wishes,

    Kerry

  • Been reading the article on coffee . If you have the time read Brain Maker, by Dr. David Perlmutter. He is a Neurosurgeon, and he explains how the gut affects the brain. He quotes the fact that the fibre in ground coffee stimulates the flora of the gut. Only just been published, with reference to the latest research in 2015. The book was recommended to me by your stockist in Frodsham.

  • I was really happy I found this information and comments this morning. I was looking for this because - I forgot to take my probiotic BEFORE my coffee! I usually take a capsule 15 or 20 minutes before my coffee. Soooo if I take it 15 or 20 minutes after coffee - it should still be ok?
    Thanks for the questions and answers!

  • Thank you for the information on coffee it has answered my question

  • @Eric,

    Thanks for your comments.
    You'll be pleased to know that we have not one but TWO copies of 'Brain Maker' in the OptiBac Probiotics library. I'm halfway through it now, and it's a great read. :-)

    Best wishes,

    Kerry

  • @Claire,

    Glad you found it helpful!

    Kerry :-)

  • @Esther,

    Glad this information helped to clear things up for you - yes, as long as you don't use hot coffee to actually swallow the capsules with, it's fine to enjoy a coffee as well as your probiotics with your breakfast.

    Warm wishes,

    Kerry

  • What will be the impact of taking 2 probiotic capsules, each 30 billions cfus?

  • Dear Eugene,

    Thank you for your question.
    Unfortunately, this is a very general enquiry, and so I would not be able to give you a specific answer.
    If you would like to contact me directly on [email protected] to discuss your own individual needs and the best application of probiotics then I'd be happy to help if I can.

    Best wishes,

    Kerry

  • Kombucha Coffee Probiotic. I make my own Kombucha (probiotic) After brewed and bottled in refriguator for drinking, just before drinking I would pour 3/4 cup Kombucha in a cup and add 1/4 cup "Cold brewed coffee" to the Buch and drink, It is a cold coffee drink and doesn't taste like Kombucha. Cold brewed or cold pressed coffee is not made with any heat, and brewed cold in the refrigerator for 48 hours and is very low in acidity, Can any one tell me if this Kombucha Coffee probiotic would still have all the benefits of drinking a normal Kombucha probiotic? Or would I have to add a dash of vinegar in to the cold brewing prosess in the refrigerator to neutralize the coffee to be added to the probotic?

  • Response from OptiBac Probiotics

    Hi Perry,

    Thank you for your great question - how to make coffee into a probiotic!

    Actually, you don't need to add vinegar - you can use the acidity in the coffee to kick-start the fermentation. We found this great recipe for making Kombucha Coffee at Cultures for Health but there are plenty online: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/recipe/kombucha-recipes/kombucha-coffee

    Have fun fermenting!

    Kerry

  • Hi,
    Can I use ProBiotic to make homemade yoghurt?
    Thanks

  • Response from OptiBac Probiotics

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks for your question.

    You can use probiotic cultures to make your own yoghurt, though I'd recommend using a specific starter culture, or some live yoghurt, to start off your fermentation.

    Probiotics in supplement form are often not suitable strains for this type of use: for example, our own products have been tested for oral consumption only in clinical trials, not as starter cultures for fermenting foods and drinks.

    Strains of bacteria used in fermented foods are often 'transient' strains, meaning that they don't colonise in the intestines. To be fully activated, our laboratories advise that ideally the bacteria in our products should be rehydrated in gastric juice, b) raised to body temperature, and c) in most cases (for adhering strains) they need to attach onto epithelial cells or mucus, in order to then multiply and divide. It’s only when they start reproducing that they can cause any sort of a change to their environment.

    That being said, we know that some of our customers use the products in their home-made fermented foods, but we couldn't recommend them for this purpose.

    Best wishes,

    Kerry

  • So wait, is coffee good or bad for me?

  • Response from OptiBac Probiotics

    Hi Lulu,

    Thank you for your question!
    It's an interesting question, and one which often divides health professionals. Coffee has been found to contain antioxidants known as polyphenols, and studies have shown that these substances may have disease-fighting properties. However, it also contains caffeine which is a 'no-no' for some, and can cause heartburn and insomnia.

    Whatever you think about it, it's still one of the world's most popular beverages, but we're this blog is actually focusing on whether coffee is a probiotic, and the answer to this is 'No'.

    As to whether you should be drinking it, I'd say that it's up to the individual to see if this tasty drink suits them - if it doesn't, then don't drink it! I'd always advise 'everything' in moderation, and to choose the best quality coffee beans you can afford, organic if possible and to look for naturally decaffeinated options if you want to avoid caffeine.

    Don't add lots of sugar to your coffee, and maybe add a pinch of cinnamon, a lovely spice that's also thought to have lots of health-giving properties and which goes really well with coffee...

    I hope this helps!

    Kerry
    Nutritional Advisor



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