When is the best time to take probiotics?

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

An important factor in a high quality probiotic is its ability to survive through gastric acidity. If a probiotic has not been tested to survive gastric acidity and biliary salts then it may not reach the intestines which is where it needs to settle in order to exert its beneficial effects on the body. The strains in the OptiBac Probiotics range were developed to survive gastric acidity above (ie. more neutral than) pH 3. In-vitro trials on our probiotic 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 probiotics with your breakfast; this is when the probiotics will have the best survival rate through the body's gastric acidity.

There are a couple of exceptions:

Bifidobacteria & fibre (For maintaining regularity) 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 probiotics?

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 Probiotics & 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 probiotics.

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • Mixing the probiotic powder with hot or acidic food/drinks - Don't do this!
  • Swallowing your probiotic capsules with a hot or acidic drink: Not recommended
  • Taking your probiotic 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 probiotic 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 probiotics 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 probiotics may begin to degrade in the light and moisture.

Can I take the probiotics with medication?

Probiotics should not interfere with other medicines or herbal / natural remedies, so it’s generally fine to take our probiotics alongside any other supplements or medications, but there are one or two exceptions - see ‘When should I NOT take probiotics?’
If you are taking antibiotics, then certain probiotics are best taken separately. Read our FAQ about antibiotics: 'Can I take probiotics with antibiotics?' It’s also necessary to avoid taking anti-fungal medicines or supplements alongside our Saccharomyces boulardii as they may damage this probiotic yeast.

Photo credit: Maciej Miller; model: Hannah from sales