When to Take Probiotics: 10 Times When It Really Helps

when to take probiotics

When to take probiotics is a good question that goes beyond a simple: anytime is a good time for probiotics.

It’s true that taking a quality probiotic supplement is an excellent way to keep your body healthy. The microorganisms known as “good” bacteria live in the intestinal tract, and they maintain a balanced environment there – one that is critical for your overall health.

You do get probiotics in some of the foods you eat. Among them are kimchee, sauerkraut, kefir and yogurt. But taking a supplement will ensure that your body gets all the good bacteria it needs to keep the gut flora in balance.

Most supplements that feature multiple strains of probiotics include Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in the mix. These are very helpful bacteria for the body. They help nearly all aspects of health in which probiotics have an effect.

When to Take Probiotics?

Probiotics can help your overall health, by keeping more good bacteria than bad in your digestive tract. But there are certain times when they are even more beneficial.

If you’re experiencing any of the below, probiotics will definitely benefit you even more than the average person.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS, a disorder of the gastrointestinal tract, can cause many noxious symptoms, including abdominal pain, gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea. Good bacteria can reduce those symptoms.

In a recent placebo-controlled, double-blind trial, a multiple strain supplement of probiotics resulted in a significant improvement in typical IBS symptoms over a three month period. The most commonly used multi-strain probiotics for IBS include bifida bacteria.

Yeast Infections & Candida

Probiotics work quite well in treating and preventing yeast infections and overgrowth of Candida yeast. These medical issues can occur inside or outside your body, including the vagina, skin flaps and the mouth.

Yeast infection symptoms include white spots or white tongue, or vaginal odor, pus and discharge. You may experience diarrhea, as well. If you are experiencing these symptoms, contact your physician about using probiotics to kill the bad bacteria.

The strains of probiotics that work best for Candida and yeast infections include Lactobacillus acidophilus, Saccharomyces boulardii, Lactobacillus plantarum and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

Diarrhea from antibiotics and other drugs that affect the gut

Probiotics help in the prevention and treatment following a course of antibiotics or other medications. You probably have noticed after taking antibiotics that you sometimes developed diarrhea. Research shows that taking probiotics is helpful in treating the condition.

The most often used probiotics for diarrhea from medications include several strains of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria.

Skin Conditions

Acne is a very common skin condition that probiotics can influence. It doesn’t seem like the skin would be closely linked to the gut, but it is. The “gut-skin axis” closely links the gut and the skin. Gut inflammation may cause skin inflammation, which manifests itself as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and acne. It is the ability to reduce inflammation that allows probiotics to aid in the healing of skin problems.

Some of the probiotics most commonly used for skin conditions include Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus thermophiles.


Although more evidence needs to be gathered, a 2009 study suggests that the flora in the intestines has significant effects on the key factors of type 2 diabetes, including body weight, insulin resistance and inflammation. Maintaining a good balance of bacteria in the gut is an important part of diabetes prevention.

Probiotics have shown an ability to reduce serum cholesterol, and this improves insulin resistance. Research suggests that taking probiotic supplements can lower insulin resistance onset, reducing the incidence of hypertensive conditions related closely to diabetes.
Some of the probiotic strains used in preventing diabetes include Bifidobacterium spp, L. lactis, L. acidophilus and L. casei.

Travelers’ Diarrhea and Illness

A probiotic supplement is the first thing you should pack when you’re getting ready for a trip, especially if it is overseas or to a developing nation.

When you are in less developed countries, you are at risk from many more microbes than your body is used to encountering, and research shows that probiotics can prevent illness, or lessen or alleviate the symptoms.

Since travel can frequently include air travel, eating out, lack of sleep and change of time zones, it’s not surprising that these stressors lead to travelers’ diarrhea and other ailments that occur when your immune system is not functioning at its best. One of the worst problems is traveler’s diarrhea, which is sometimes called Montezuma’s revenge. This is a quick way to ruin your vacation!

The best probiotics for travel most commonly used for traveler’s diarrhea and related symptoms include Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Saccharomyces boulardii.

Overcome Anxiety and Depression

No one wants to take antidepressants, but for many, it keeps them functioning on a daily basis. The world today is full of stress. In a 2011 study, B. longum and L. helveticus were effective in the reduction of depression and anxiety symptoms in patients diagnosed with clinical depression.

Diverticulosis & Diverticulitis

It has been discovered that probiotics are better than drugs for diverticular disease. Patients can benefit from probiotic supplements to fight diverticulosis and diverticulitis.

A 2006 study compared the standard medication for treatment (mesalazine), a placebo and a probiotic (L. casei) in a placebo-controlled, double-blind study of over 200 patients. The researchers found that L. casei was just as effective as the standard medication, and the two combined worked even better.

Chemotherapy Side Effects

Many cancer patients being treated with chemotherapy develop chemo-associated diarrhea. Men who are undergoing chemotherapy for prostate or other cancers can benefit from probiotics for this type of diarrhea.

A study in the British Journal of Cancer discovered that patients treated using chemotherapy who were administered L. rhamnosus GG had fewer stomach problems and their diarrhea was not as severe, as compared to those who did not receive the probiotic.

Weakened Immune System

Various strains of probiotics have shown the ability to boost the immune function and assist in the prevention of common infections, like the flu and the common cold.

In a 2006 systemic review, authors found that among adults and children with respiratory tract infections, the use of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains allowed fewer days missed from work or school, and fewer days with a fever.

When is the Best Time to Take Probiotics?

It’s a common misconception that you should take your probiotic supplement before your first meal of the day.

When probiotic bacteria survival was studied, it remained more useful within a half hour before a meal, during a meal or with a fat-content beverage. Consuming a healthy meal along with your supplement gives the good bacteria an optimal environment in which to work and multiply.

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