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Are you taking your probiotics correctly?

Probiotics are great for your gut health as they can re-populate and re-balance your gut flora. Each year £0.75bn in the UK is spent on probiotics. Is this really helping us or is some of the money spent going to waste? Here is how to make sure you get the best out of your probiotics.

Make sure there is enough bacteria

Generally, look for multiple strains, around 8 billion is a good quantity. Bacteria to look out for include bifidobacterium and lactobacillus as the two main strains.

There are differentiated products which tailor to your needs. Different digestive issues warrant different probiotic strains. Therefore, for optimal benefits, try to seek out a probiotic that is tailored to the specific health outcomes you are trying to achieve.

Check the contents

It is recommended to choose a probiotic that is free of dairy and other animal proteins, gluten, soy, and yeast to ensure you are taking a clean product. These ingredients can trigger allergies and you may experience minor side effects like bloating, nausea or gas. Many probiotics contain lactose, which can irritate the gut, especially in adults.

Try a different brand

Take them in the morning

It is best to take them first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to give the live bacteria a chance to make it to your gut without being destroyed.

Must take them regularly

Depending on how sensitive you are, many people feel a difference after a few days. More fundamental effects of the probiotics such as improvements to mood, weight loss or a reduction in inflammation of your gut barrier might set in after 4-8 weeks. So be consistent, take them every morning and see where it gets to in 2 months. If it is not helping by then try a different brand.

Don’t take with coffee or tea

This lessens the chance of the bacteria getting to your stomach unharmed. Heat can kill bacteria. Whilst there have been no studies on this particularly coffee should generally not be taken with any supplements as it lessens the effects.

If taking with antibiotics

Take at the opposite time as possible (e.g. you must take antibiotics every 4 hours, then take probiotics in between this), because antibiotics kill the good and the bad bacteria in the microbiome. This is also why important to repopulate in between doses otherwise yeast infections such as candida can present.

Not storing correctly

Different probiotics have different storage requirements and these are listed on the bottle. Also, once the expiry date is passed, there’s unlikely to be any live bacteria left in the product, and should be thrown out. It's not a great indication if the bottle doesn’t indicate expiry date, better to choose a different brand


If you have a compromised immune system and experiencing symptoms such as headaches, bloating or excess gas, it’s almost definitely not the correct probiotic to be taking, so stop, stat.

Match the supplements with prebiotic and probiotic foods

To help with the absorption of the probiotics and to populate your gut quickly.

How to know if they are working?

1. More regular trips to the bathroom

2. Better digestion

3. Increased energy

4. Better mood

5. Improved immunity

6. Lower anxiety and better response to stress

7. Fewer sugar cravings

8. Weight loss

That’s why you will often hear people say they took probiotics and they didn’t notice a difference. There is no one size fits all probiotic. So pay attention to these tips and pick a good brand.

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