The Best Time To Take Probiotics, According To Science

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can help improve digestion and boost gut health. They work by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria in the stomach and restoring the natural balance of healthy bacteria in the gut microbiome (via Healthline). Probiotics can also help support a healthy immune system and may even benefit your skin and mental health.

While probiotics often come in the form of supplements, they can also be found in a variety of naturally cultured and fermented foods and beverages, including kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut, which are all known to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and promote weight loss. Probiotic supplements, on the other hand, usually come in the form of tablets, capsules, and powders. Although some strains of probiotics, like lactobacillus, are resistant to stomach acid and can survive the hostile environment of the stomach, other strains are more vulnerable and less resistant, which can make it difficult for them to survive and colonize your gut.

Take your probiotics before eating a meal

That's why it's better to take them when your stomach acid levels are low, which is usually when your stomach is still empty and not in the process of digesting food. Taking your probiotics at the right time can ensure that you reap all the benefits that they offer. "Research shows that the best time to take probiotics is just before a meal or as you begin your meal," Lisa Richards, a nutritionist and creator of the Candida diet, told Well+Good.

"This is the time when your stomach environment is at its least acidic, because your body has not yet begun to produce stomach acid in large quantities to digest your food. Taking your probiotics at this time will make their passage to your gut a little easier, and ensure you get the most from those beneficial bacteria." However, this may vary depending on the type of probiotic you take. If you're taking probiotic supplements that are coated or in the form of delayed-release capsules, the timing is less important because they are more likely to be resistant to stomach acid and survive longer in the gut.