“It’s important to ensure you’re taking a quality product, and also considering the type of strains it includes,” agrees Asche. “There are billions of strains of probiotics, and specific strains have been shown to have an impact on certain health conditions.”
How to Take Probiotics
Incorporating probiotics into your diet is fairly easy. Asche says probiotics are already found in foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, and tempeh. Another option is through supplements. As mentioned previously, it’s important that you pick probiotics that have been backed up by studies and made by known brands. “Look for a reputable manufacturer, one who also ideally has third-party testing on their products, and contains a variety of probiotic species or strains, as well as a high colony-forming unit (CFU) count (the number of microbes that are viable),” says Asche. “I personally use and always recommend Klaire Labs (SFI Health) Ther-biotic, which contains 12 probiotic species and 25 billion CFU.”
If you’re looking to take a probiotic supplement, both experts agree that you should take it with food rather than on an empty stomach. Landrum explains that food helps reduce the amount of stomach acid that may destroy some of the probiotics you’re taking in. “This ensures that the probiotics capsule makes it past the stomach before opening,” she says. Asche says that most products you’ll find today are developed in a way that the probiotics can reach the intestines to avoid being affected by the acidic environment in your stomach. While there are probiotics that come in powder form, she says that the live bacteria will die when exposed to heat, so be sure to avoid mixing it in with hot liquids.
As for taking probiotics when you’re on other medications, such as antibiotics, the experts say that it should be safe to do so. “Specific strains, like Clostridium butyricum, have even been shown in clinical trials to improve antibiotic-associated GI symptoms when taken concurrently with antibiotics,” says Landrum.
“Antibiotics kill off both bad and good bacteria in your gut, so it’s usually a good idea to incorporate probiotics after a bout of antibiotics,” adds Asche. But always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions.
The Best Time to Take Probiotics
When should you take your probiotics? The answer to that is it depends. Asche says that the best time of day to take probiotics is whenever it’s best for you. “This is really more of a personal preference than anything,” she says. “Like any supplement, wherever you’re actually going to remember to take it daily [is when you should take it]. Find what works for you and don’t stress too much about taking [it] at a specific time of day.”