When’s the Best Time to Consume Probiotics?
Yet, you may wonder whether you should take them at a particular time.
This article tells you whether there's a best time to take probiotics.
What Are Probiotics Used For?
Kimchi is one fermented food that contains some of the live microorganisms in probiotics.
Probiotics can keep your gut healthy by preventing the growth of harmful organisms, reinforcing the gut barrier and restoring bacteria after disturbances from illness or medications like antibiotics (1, 2, 3, 4).
While they may also support a healthy immune system and oral, skin and mental health, research on these benefits is currently limited (1).
Some of the live microorganisms in probiotic supplements also occur in foods that are naturally cultured or fermented, including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. These foods are linked to lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight (5).
Probiotics are live microorganisms that boost your gut health. Fermented foods contain some strains of these microorganisms, but if you don't eat foods like yogurt, kefir or fermented vegetables, probiotic supplements may be beneficial.
Does Timing Matter?
Some probiotic manufacturers recommend taking the supplement on an empty stomach, while others advise taking it with food.
Though it's difficult to measure bacteria viability in humans, some research suggests that Saccharomyces boulardii microorganisms survive in equal numbers with or without a meal (6).
However, consistency is probably more important than whether you take your probiotic with or without food.
Meal Composition May Help
The microorganisms used in probiotics are tested to ensure that they can survive various conditions in your stomach and intestines (1).
Nevertheless, taking probiotics with specific foods may optimize their effects.
In one study, survival rates of the microorganisms in probiotics improved when the supplement was taken alongside oatmeal or low-fat milk, compared with when it was taken with only water or apple juice (6).
This research suggests that a small amount of fat may improve bacterial survival in your digestive tract (6).
Lactobacillus probiotics might also survive better alongside sugar or carbs, as they rely upon glucose when in an acidic environment (8).
Though research indicates that more bacteria survive if you take probiotics before a meal, consistency is probably more important than specific timing when it comes to reaping the greatest benefits for your gut.
You can take probiotics in various forms, including capsules, lozenges, beads, powders and drops. You can also find probiotics in several foods and drinks, including some yogurts, fermented milks, chocolates and flavored beverages (1).
Furthermore, Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Enterococci are more resistant to stomach acid than other types of bacteria (10).
In fact, most strains of Lactobacillus come from the human intestinal tract, so they're inherently resistant to stomach acid (8).
Research shows that 100 million to 1 billion probiotic microorganisms must reach your intestine for you to experience health benefits (10).
Given that probiotic cells can die throughout their shelf life, make sure you purchase a reputable product that guarantees at least 1 billion live cultures — often listed as colony-forming units (CFUs) — on its label (9).
To maintain quality, you should use your probiotic before the expiration date and store it according to the instructions on the label. Some can be kept at room temperature while others must be refrigerated.
Choose the Right One for Your Health Condition
If you have a particular health condition, you may want to consider a specific strain of probiotic or consult a medical professional to find one that's best for you.
Experts agree that Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains benefit most people (3).
Meanwhile, probiotics that contain Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Saccharomyces boulardii seem to improve symptoms in some people with constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and several types of diarrhea (2, 3, 4).
For a probiotic to work, its live microorganisms must reach your large intestine and colonize it. Look for a supplement that guarantees at least 1 billion live cultures on the label and ask your healthcare provider whether a particular strain is best for you.
Side Effects and Interactions
Probiotics usually don't cause major side effects in healthy individuals.
However, you may experience minor symptoms, such as gas and bloating. These often improve with time, but taking your probiotic at night may reduce daytime symptoms.
If you take a probiotic to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea, you may wonder whether the antibiotic will kill the bacteria in your probiotic. However, strains designed to help prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea won't be affected (4, 6).
Keep in mind that it's safe to take probiotics and antibiotics at the same time (1).
If you take other medications or supplements, it's best to discuss potential interactions with your healthcare provider. That's because probiotics may increase their effectiveness (12).
Probiotics may cause minor side effects, such as gas and bloating. Talk to a medical professional if you take other medications, as probiotics may amplify their effects.
The Bottom Line
Probiotics contain live microorganisms that can enhance your gut health.
While research indicates that some strains may survive better if taken before a meal, the timing of your probiotic is less important than consistency.
Thus, you should take probiotics at the same time each day.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
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Try Meditation<p>According to the <a href="https://www.nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/nhis/2017" target="_blank">2017 National Health Interview Survey</a>, published by the National Institutes of Health, meditation is on the rise, and for good reason.</p><p>Researchers <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29616846/" target="_blank">found</a> that mind-body relaxation practices can regulate inflammation, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms" target="_blank">circadian rhythms</a>, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/glucose" target="_blank">glucose</a> metabolism, as well as lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension" target="_blank">blood pressure</a>.</p><p>"Any form of exercise can be turned into a meditation of some type, either by the surroundings you are walking in, like a park or trail, or by blocking out the outside world with music on your headphones," Rue says.</p><p>You can also play a podcast or download an app like <a href="https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app" target="_blank">Headspace</a> that has a library of guided meditations to practice while you walk.</p>
Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
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Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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