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When Is the Best Time to Take Probiotics


If you’ve ever heard anyone talking about “good bacteria,” there’s a chance that they were talking about probiotics.

Probiotics are live microorganisms found in foods and drinks like yogurt, miso, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, and more. They’re also widely available in supplement form.

People take probiotics through supplements or their diet because probiotics have a long list of potential health benefits for your body. These include supporting gut health and a healthy microbiome, helping your body maintain a normal community of microorganisms, and regulating the absorption of nutrients that may support the body’s essential systems, including a normal immune response.

But it’s not enough to increase your yogurt intake or to start a probiotic supplement. As it turns out, when you take your probiotic can significantly influence its effectiveness. But when is the best time to take probiotics? Keep reading to find out!

When is the Best Time to Take Probiotics?

There are different probiotics strains, so it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about which strain might be most beneficial for you. Regardless of what strain you find works best for you, one thing doesn’t change, and that is timing matters.

When you take your probiotic matters because they don’t stick around in your stomach for very long. One bowel movement and they could be gone. Probiotics are most effective in the body when it is actually in your body. So it would stand to reason that the longer a probiotic stays in your body, the better.

That’s why the best time to take probiotics is at night, right before you go to bed. As Patricia Raymond, MD, a board-certified gastroenterology and internal medicine doctor, explains, that’s because “the gut is pretty inactive at night. If you think about it, you usually don’t wake up in the middle of the night to poop. So that means that the probiotics will stay in your gut during the 8 (give or take a few hours) hours you’re in dreamland. That gives the probiotic a lot of time to stay put, divide, and even potentially become more integrated into your gut.”

Now that you know when is the best time to take probiotics, the next thing you might be wondering about is what probiotic supplements should you consider? There is a lot to choose from, but we’ve tried to take some of the guesswork out of this and suggest considering HLC High Potency by Pharmax and PureProbiotic from Pure Encapsulations.

HLC High Potency – Pharmax

Human lactic commensals (HLC) are probiotic strains that are supported by research and clinical studies. Pharmax’s HLC High Potency formula contains proprietary, non-pathogenic human-sourced microflora bacterial strains; Pharmax utilizes these strains because they have strong epithelial adherence and naturally high tolerance to stomach acid. Along with 10 billion viable cells of HLC, HLC High Potency also contains:

  • Lactobacillus acidophilus (CUL-60).
  • Lactobacillus acidophilus (CUL-21).
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum (CUL-20).
  • Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis (CUL-34).
  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) 100 mg.

The result is that these easy-to-take liquid drops help support a healthy, balanced digestive flora.

Pure Probiotic – Pure Encapsulations

Not only is this multi-strain probiotic formula an easy way to help support a healthy gut and immune health, but the Pure Probiotic formulation from Pure Encapsulations is allergen-free. So if you have food allergies, you can feel confident that while each capsule of Pure Probiotic will be less likely to interfere with your normal gut health. This formula also contains a blend of beneficial probiotic microorganisms, including a total of 5 billion CFU per capsule of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Bifidobacterium breve. These strains may help aid gastrointestinal health and immune cell function.

When do you take your probiotics? Do you think you will start taking them at night now?

Supplemental Nutrition

SupplementalNutritionJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

In a perfect world, everyone would have access to foods that comprise a healthy balanced diet. In general, individuals who are proactive regarding preventive health and healthy aging focus on whole foods and optimal nutrition, as well as make informed choices about vitamin and mineral supplementation. As people become more knowledgeable about health and wellness, many turn to nutritional supplements, not only to address deficiencies, but to support specific nutrient requirements at all stages of life. Those who regard supplementation as an investment in long term health, ideally choose supplements that target their individual needs, and are aware that an all-inclusive healthy lifestyle embraces diet, regular exercise, restful sleep and other aspects as well.

When diet alone is not sufficient to meet an individual’s nutritional needs, supplementation becomes integral to wellbeing. Specifically those with malabsorption issues, allergies or food intolerances, dietary restrictions or certain autoimmune conditions may require supplements to correct nutrient deficiencies. As well, supplementation is beneficial for those with specific hormonal imbalances or those who are pregnant, bedridden, or recovering from an illness. If one is overly stressed, fatigued, traveling, training, avoiding sun exposure, or not sleeping well, this is also good time to supplement. Of particular interest is cognitive health and mood support, key foundations for optimal wellness and healthy aging. It would appear that the most popular supplements are positioned around need states.

A recent survey of those who regularly take dietary supplements found that vitamin D was the most widely used supplement, followed by omega-3 fish oil, CoQ10, probiotics and multivitamins. Rounding out the most popular supplements are B-Complex vitamins, magnesium, curcumin, vitamin C, calcium, melatonin, protein powders, digestive enzymes, fiber, milk thistle and resveratrol, as well as bone, joint and vision support formulas. Per the 2017 CRN Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements, 79% of women are supplement users, while 73% of men regularly use supplements. The survey concluded that women tend to be more proactive about preventive health and are more likely to incorporate supplements into an established health and wellness regime.

Five supplements highly recommended by nutritionists:

Fish oil – Essential for healthy heart and brain function, as well as a healthy inflammatory response, omega-3 fatty acids are not synthesized by the body and must be obtained through diet or supplementation. Choose a formula with a high concentration of EPA and DHA, as well as purity and sustainability certifications.

Probiotics – Scientific evidence shows that gut health directly affects immune health. A daily probiotic can help ensure proper gastrointestinal function, as well as hormone balance. There are many quality brands from which to choose, including multi-strain and shelf stable formulas perfect for traveling.

Vitamin D – Rising rates of vitamin D deficiency can be attributed to inadequate sun exposure, especially during winter months and the prolific use of sunscreens. Necessary for bone, neuromuscular and immune health, as well as overall healthy function, vitamin D is one of 24 nutrients essential for survival.

Magnesium – Magnesium maintains normal muscle and nerve function, as well as healthy sleep. This extremely important nutrient is a cofactor in hundreds of enzymatic reactions, including metabolism, protein and fatty acid synthesis, bone health, steady heartbeat and energy production.

Protein powders – While protein may be largely obtained through diet, athletes, weekend warriors and seniors can benefit from protein supplementation. Ideal for muscle gain and weight loss, sufficient protein boosts metabolism and can reduce appetite. Both plant and animal based protein powders supply amino acids, highly effective for stimulating muscle growth, retaining muscle mass and improving strength.

Like many things in life, when it comes to supplements, quality and trust matters. Professional Supplement Center offers many science-based effective products without added fillers and unnecessary or artificial ingredients.

OmegAvail Hi-PoOmegAvail™ Hi-Po by Designs for Health®: Sourced from Alaskan pollock, this high potency fish oil provides 1500 mg of triglyceride-bound  EPA and DHA molecularly distilled omega-3 fatty acids per serving. The formula includes lipase to ensure maximum absorption and prevention of aftertaste. Distillation and filtering ensures purity and the removal of heavy metals, PCBs and other contaminants. Gluten free, Non-GMO, natural lemon flavoring.

Probiotic...Probiotic Professional 100 by Professional Supplement Center®: Probiotic Professional 100 provides 100 billion CFU of four researched strains of beneficial bacteria in acid-resistant capsules to ensure more targeted release. Free of wheat, gluten, soy, animal and dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Non-GMO shelf stable formulation.

Vitamin D3 5,000 IUVitamin D3 5000 by Pure Encapsulations®: Each hypoallergenic capsule provides 5000 mg of highly absorbable vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol in support of musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, neurocognitive, cellular and immune health. Gluten free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Magnesium BalanceMagnesium Balance by Professional Supplement Center®: This highly absorbable magnesium blend supplies patented chelated magnesium for enhanced absorption. Magnesium supports bone and cardiovascular health, energy production and neuromuscular function. Free of wheat, gluten, soy, animal and dairy products, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Non-GMO formulation.

Whey Cool Protein...Whey Cool Protein™ Natural Vanilla Flavor by Designs for Health®: This proprietary non-denatured whey protein concentrate is sourced from milk from grass-fed cows that graze on pesticide and chemical free pastures. Low temperature drying and filtration preserves the full range of important protein components including lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, serum albumin, active peptides and growth factors. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.

Organic Plant...Organic Plant Protein Smooth Chocolate by Garden of Life: This certified organic plant protein blend provides 15 grams of energy-giving protein per serving. The formula includes soluble and insoluble fiber as well as essential fatty acids, probiotics and enzymes. Gluten, soy, dairy, tree nut, fillers and artificial ingredient free, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

Can the Elderly Take Whey Protein? https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-elderly-whey-protein-8318.html
What Does Magnesium Do for Your Body? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-does-magnesium-do
What are the health benefits of vitamin D? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php
13 Benefits of Taking Fish Oil. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/13-benefits-of-fish-oil
10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Whey Protein. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-whey-protein
8 Health Benefits of Probiotics. https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1&q=probiotic+supplement+benefits

How Can Probiotics Benefit You?

ProbioticsJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks

Probiotics, wonderful and beneficial microbiota that inhabit every normal, healthy bowel, aid nutrient absorption, proper digestion and elimination, while supporting immune function and keeping harmful gut-dwelling pathogens in check. That’s a lot to ask of these tiny helpful bacteria, even when there are more than 100 trillion microflora representing 500 different species living in our digestive system, battling invading destructive bacteria and working to keep us healthy 24 hours a day, every day. According to Harvard Medical School Health Publications, “Clinical studies have established that probiotic therapy can help treat gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.”

Your digestive and immune health is directly influenced by your diet and lifestyle choices. If your overall health is good, your beneficial bacteria are thriving and well balanced. It doesn’t take much, however, to upset the delicate balance between beneficial and deleterious organisms. Along with certain medications, medical conditions and environmental factors, poor lifestyle choices such as, consuming a nutrient and fiber deficient diet, skimping on sleep, neglecting to exercise, ignoring chronic stress, failing to maintain a healthy weight, smoking, and high alcohol consumption, can all negatively influence the health of your gut.  

But fear not, reinforcements are on the way! In addition to a healthy lifestyle and possibly a newly found respect for your gut health, regularly consuming pre- and probiotic-rich foods along with high quality probiotic supplements tilts the bacteria in favor of the good guys, allowing them to effectively inhibit the growth and colonization of unfriendly strains and aiding the immune system in zapping the powerful and opportunistic bad guys. Why is gut health so important? Because, according to John R. Taylor, N.D., author of the book, The Wonder of Probiotics, “Everything that happens in your gut significantly impacts every cell, tissue and organ system in your body.”

A healthy gut filters out not only harmful pathogens, but also other damaging substances such as toxins, parasites, chemicals and waste products, preventing their absorption into the bloodstream, while at the same time absorbing and distributing essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals and water. Some refer to the gut as the “second brain,” as science shows that chemical and electrical signals continuously pass between the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal system. While many of us recognize the importance of our brain functions, we are pretty hard on our digestive systems, consuming whatever we want, whenever we want, without giving much thought to what happens afterward and how those decisions affect our overall wellness.

When we have insufficient beneficial microflora our health suffers, as damaging substances gain the upper hand. If the gut becomes damaged and inflamed, toxins can enter the bloodstream and health may begin to decline. A poorly functioning gut can result in nutrient deficiencies and incomplete elimination, even when your diet is relatively healthy. Many medical conditions are associated with dysbiosis, essentially an imbalance between good and bad bacteria. There’s good reason why treatment of chronic conditions, inflammation and autoimmune disorders often begins with healing the gut. If you are like most people, your diet could likely be improved, you occasionally come down with a cold or gastrointestinal upset, you have stresses related to work, home or school and you don’t have much choice about the air quality in your neighborhood. Think of probiotics as a health insurance policy. Regular intake of probiotics helps to ward off infections or other health problems and provides a foundation for wellness.

While we now know that there are hundreds of species of beneficial bacteria, you may not have known that they provide different health benefits. Who knew that there are actually more than 50 species of the well known Lactobacillus sp and that 30 species of Bifidobacteria have been identified. Scientists, using advanced technology, can now select specific strains of microorganisms to provide precise benefits. When selecting a probiotic, it may help to know that CFU, or colony forming unit, seen on bottle labels describes the density of viable bacteria. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of the more commonly known species:

Video Common Species of Probiotics

Lactobacillus acidophilus – Found naturally in both the large and small intestine, the mouth and the vagina, this highly protective species is capable of producing natural antibiotics that can inhibit the growth of pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli.

Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1- This extensively researched friendly strain is resistant to heat and the harsh environment of the GI tract, which makes it better able to destroy harmful bacteria and maintain a healthy gut balance. This strain is also antibiotic resistant, making it a good choice to take while undergoing a course of antibiotics.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG – This strain has the superior ability to prevent and treat gastrointestinal disorders, especially diarrhea in both children and adults. Additionally, it’s stomach acid and bile resistant, ensuring its ability to colonize the intestinal tract.

Bifidobacteria bifidum – The Bifidobacteria species represents about 90% of the friendly bacteria found in the colon. Found in both the large and small intestine and the mouth, this species is especially effective against pathogenic activity. Plus, B. bifidum produces B vitamins and helps to metabolize carbohydrates.

Bifidobacteria lactis – The species has the ability to lower body pH and excels at destroying pathogens because it produces hydrogen peroxide, an antibacterial agent. B. lactis is resistant to stomach acids and bile, allowing for travel to the colon where it helps protect against inflammation and toxins.

Bifidobacterium longum – This species excels at preventing gastrointestinal problems by crowding out harmful bacteria in the gut. Present in both the vagina and breast milk, this species is one of the first to colonize an infant’s GI system, providing a well needed immune system boost.    

Saccharomyces boulardii – Largely used to treat diarrhea associated with antibiotic use and as a maintenance probiotic for those with Crohn’s disease, this species establishes itself quickly and helps to eliminate harmful yeast species. This species is often recommended for use while traveling as it is effective against bacterial diarrhea.

Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) – As a natural sugar, FOS provides food that probiotics need in order to thrive. This beneficial prebiotic has the ability to reach the large intestine, where it promotes the growth and activity of the beneficial bifobacterium species. Prebiotic foods, such as beans, garlic, onions and whole grains, contain soluble fiber, which help to lower cholesterol levels, stabilize blood sugar, improve insulin response and relieve constipation.

Fermented foods, such as unflavored yogurt, sauerkraut or tempeh, all help to support beneficial bacteria. Raw foods, including fruits, veggies and sprouts, support probiotic health by providing the fiber that probiotics need to thrive. Avoiding refined sugars, which feed and support disease causing bacteria, will also help to stimulate the growth and production of beneficial bacteria. Taking a high quality multi-strain probiotic daily provides a broad range of protection against harmful pathogens and helps to build and maintain a strong foundation for overall good health. The health of our microbiome should not be taken for granted, but rather restored, nurtured, and supported. It’s not magic, it’s just smart.

Professional Supplement Center offers many quality probiotic formulas. Here are just a few:

Ther-Biotic Complete (HEAT SENSITIVE PRODUCT)Ther-Biotic® Complete by Klaire Labs – Scientifically formulated with a full spectrum of synergistic and complementary species, this product provides comprehensive support for gastrointestinal function and a healthy microflora balance. Ther-Biotic® is designed for those who require significantly higher amounts of multispecies probiotics. One capsule daily supplies 25+ billion CFUs of 12 certified probiotic species. Gluten, soy and yeast free, vegetarian formula. Also available: Ther-Biotic® Children’s Chewable.

Ultimate FloraMax 50 BillionUltimate FloraMax 50 Billion by Advanced Naturals – Designed for critical care needs, this formula provides 50 billion live beneficial microorganisms per capsule. Formulated to promote healthy intestinal function and support colon and immune health, this blend contains high levels of 10 probiotic strains, plus FOS. Gluten free, vegetarian capsule. Also available: Ultimate FloraBaby and Ultimate Flora Kids.

PRObiotic 225PRObiotic 225 by Ortho Molecular – This maximum potency blend delivers 225 billion CFU of live microorganisms for targeted support of optimal gastrointestinal health and immune system function. Conveniently dosed in single serve stick packs that mix easily with food or cold liquids. Perfect for travel — Scientifically formulated to require no refrigeration. Gluten and yeast free.

Probiotic 50B (soy & dairy free) (HEAT SENSITIVE PRODUCT)Probiotic 50 B by Pure Encapsulations – One capsule provides 50 billion CFU of a blend of 3 strains of Lactobacilli and 2 strains of Bifidobacteria to promote digestive health and inflammatory balance and support a healthy immune response. Hypoallergenic, gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Probiotic Supreme (HEAT SENSITIVE PRODUCT)Probiotic Supreme by Designs for Health – An advanced patented delivery system ensures delivery of the highest number of live organisms to the intestinal tract. One caplet provides 15 billion CFUs of a proprietary probiotic blend.   Gluten, soy and yeast free, Non-GMO vegetarian formula.


John R. Taylor, N.D., and Deborah Mitchell. The Wonder of Probiotics. St. Martin’s Press, 2007
Probiotics in humans – evidence based review. http://www.ts6probiotic.com/downloads/Probiotic%20in%20Humans%20Evidence%20Based%20Review.pdf
Health benefits of taking probiotics. http://www.health.harvard.edu/vitamins-and-supplements/health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
Bifidobacterium longum. http://web.mst.edu/~microbio/BIO221_2010/B_longum.html
Surprising Benefits of Probiotics. http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/surprising-benefits-probiotics#10