When is the best time to take live cultures?

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

The strains in the OptiBac range were developed to survive gastric acidity above (ie. more 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. Research from microbiologists shows that at mealtimes (and especially breakfast time) the stomach’s gastric acidity is naturally at pH 4 or above.This is why we recommend taking the majority of our live cultures with your breakfast; this is when they will have the best survival rate through the body's gastric acidity.

There are a couple of exceptions:

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

Another one that can be taken at any time is Saccharomyces boulardii - this very robust strain need not necessarily be taken with breakfast, or even with or food. Any time should do for this one!

How should I take live cultures?

Whilst the sachets or the capsule contents can be sprinkled into food/drinks or directly into the mouth, probiotics should not be taken directly with hot drinks or foods (read our blog about Live Cultures & Coffee here) as the heat can damage the delicate live cultures. Mixing the powder with acidic foods/drink such as fruit juices is also not recommended, as the acid may also harm the friendly bacteria.
Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Mixing the live culture powder with hot or acidic food/drinks - Don't do this!
  • Swallowing your live culture capsules with a hot or acidic drink: Not recommended
  • Taking your capsule/sachet with or in a cold, non-acidic drink/meal, then consuming hot drink/hot food/acidic drink straight afterwards: Yes - this is fine!
  • Taking your live culture with a cold drink, waiting 15 minutes until you have a hot drink: Not necessary
  • Storing probiotics that have been mixed with food or liquids: Not recommended
    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?

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 - head over to the Probiotics Learning Lab and read ‘When should I NOT take probiotics?

If you are taking antibiotics, then certain probiotics are best taken separately.
It’s also necessary to avoid taking anti-fungal medicines or supplements alongside our Saccharomyces boulardii as they may damage this probiotic yeast.

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