From ashwagandha and the keto diet to jade rollers and nootropics, there have been a number of purported “holy grails” that have entered the spotlight over the years. While some of them don’t have much truth in their claim to fame (weight loss tea, anyone?), there are a few healthcare diamonds in the rough that just might be worth the hype.
Take probiotics, for example. These revolutionary supplements began their journey over a century ago when they were first discovered by Nobel Prize winner Elie Metchnikoff of the Pasteur Institute in Paris.
Now, more than 100 years later, probiotics are having a moment, with the global probiotics market projected to reach a whopping $73.9 billion by 2030.
Needless to say, probiotics aren’t just some fad like fidget spinners and twerking; these beneficial bacteria for a healthy gut are here to stay!
Thinking about adding probiotics to your daily supplement line-up? Read this article first to get up to speed on how and when to take them for max benefits.
Probiotics 101: Everything You Need To Know
According to the experts at the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, probiotics are live microorganisms jam-packed with major digestive health benefits.
Think of probiotics as “friendly” bacteria found in food, drinks, and supplements that are nearly the same as the itty-bitty microorganisms that already live in the body. When taking probiotics, many people report positive improvements in their overall health, but probiotics are most noteworthy for their support to the digestive tract.
That said, probiotics are part of a much bigger picture concerning bacteria and your body — your microbiome.
What Is a Microbiome?
Defined scientifically as the collective genomes of the microbes (which include bacteria, fungi, viruses, and yeast) that live inside each of us, the microbiome is essential for human development, immunity, and nutrition. It has about 3.3 million genes — a pretty stark contrast to the 23,000 genes that make up the human genome — with the largest population of microbes residing in your gut.
While most of the microbes in the body are symbiotic, meaning that both the microbes and their host (you) benefit from the relationship, some are pathogenic — AKA, they promote disease.
In healthy individuals, there’s a delicate balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria. But if there’s a pretty substantial disturbance that throws a monkey wrench in this equilibrium, the system can become unbalanced, which can lead to a whole slew of icky issues, such as:
- Poor nutrient absorption
- Weakened immune system
- Poor mental health
- Increased food cravings
- More inflammation
- An unhealthy heart
What Are the Benefits of Taking Probiotics?
The main job of probiotic strains — aka good bacteria — is to keep the bad bacteria in check to maintain a healthy balance in the body. Think of it as keeping your body neutral. Friendly gut bugs work to fight off the bad gut bugs and restore balance, ultimately making you feel better. (Thanks, gut bugs!)
Probiotics keep you healthy by supporting your overall immune function and controlling inflammation. Some of the other benefits of probiotics include:
Benefit #1: They’re Good for Your Gut
Arguably the best benefit of taking probiotics is the supplement’s incredible impact on gut health. These little gut-lovin’ critters restore order and harmony in the delicate gut ecosystem.
And when the gut flora is balanced and happy, so is the rest of the body.
This is because your enteric nervous system (ENS) — a web of neurons found in the wall of your gastrointestinal system — relies on the same exact type of neurons and neurotransmitters that are found in the central nervous system (CNS); hence why many medical experts commonly refer to the gut as the “second brain.”
Simply put, a good probiotic — like Gut Feelings Probiotics — can be a great strategy to elevate your gut microbiome.*
Benefit #2: They Combat Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
If you love UTIs, raise your hand. Oh, no one? Yeah, we thought so.
From pain or burning when urinating to the constant urge to pee, urinary tract infections are not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately for us ladies, though, UTIs are extremely common, with up to 60 percent of all women experiencing at least one in their lifetime. And some unfortunate souls get them chronically, meaning they deal with these horrible infections on the reg.
According to research, friendly bacteria — especially lactobacilli — just might be what women need to keep pesky UTIs at bay. To support vaginal health, we suggest taking our shelf-stable probiotic, Good Girl Probiotics.
This powerful supplement is made with eight strains (most probiotics only contain one) of good bacteria to maintain urinary tract health while balancing vaginal pH and bacteria.* Simply take two capsules a day and rest easy, knowing your vaginal flora is in good hands!
Benefit #3: They Bolster Immunity
Achoo! Getting sick is no fun. If you’re someone who tends to get sick at the drop of a hat, you may want to consider adding probiotics to your supplement line-up. Why?
Because numerous studies show that these “good” guys just might be able to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria. Probiotics are also proven to strengthen the immune system by enriching and replenishing friendly bacteria.
Benefit #4: They Support Skin Health
Believe it or not, probiotics don’t just work wonders inside your body — they can actually affect the outside as well. Yup, it’s true; you have microbes living on the skin that covers you from head to toe.
Researchers discovered that, whether taken orally or applied topically, probiotics have the potential to soothe skin concerns like acne.
So, for extra gut-skin connection support, we recommend taking Clear Skin Probiotics — a clinically tested probiotic supplement to clear acne.*
This female-friendly formula is made with Bifidobacterium longum BB536® — a clinically tested strain of bacteria that supports clear skin — and Chaste Berry Tree, which improved acne in 70% of participants in clinical trials. We know, *mind blown*
Benefit #5: They Enhance Digestion
Gas, bloating, and constipation, oh my! If you need a little help in the digestion department, you may want to consider a probiotic supplement.
The microbes that reside in your lower intestinal tract are responsible for helping you digest food — and probiotics can help keep everything running smoothly. This is especially good news if you’re one of the many people in the United States who struggle with inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s. With a good probiotic supplement, you may be able to reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, including:
- Acid reflux
Benefit #6: They Can Positively Influence Emotional Health
According to a number of studies, probiotics seem to reduce the body’s stress response and positively influence cognitive function.
As with many things in life, the mechanisms are pretty complex, but researchers say friendly gut bacteria are capable of making mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
Oh! And remember how a little earlier we mentioned a connection between your enteric nervous system and central nervous system? Well, because of this direct link via a pathway called the vagus nerve, your little gut bugs play a big part in regulating your mood.
That said, this can be a double-edged sword because if your gut microbiome isn’t balanced — something called dysbiosis — opportunist microbes can take advantage and proliferate, resulting in inflammation and poor mental health.
Much more research is needed to confirm the influence that probiotics have on emotional health, but experts believe the gut-brain axis (GBA) may be the missing link in our understanding of mental illness and its causes.
In other words, the future of probiotics to support emotional health is looking bright!
How Should I Take Probiotics: Does Time of Day Matter?
After reading all of those incredible benefits, we’re sure you’re just chomping at the bit to get your hands on a great probiotic supplement, but before you do, let’s go over a few tips and tricks on how to take probiotics so that they actually work.
First of all, does timing matter? Yes, 100 percent.
That said, it’s important to keep in mind that supplements (like probiotics) aren’t regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meaning formulas can vary from brand to brand. In other words, each probiotic supplement may come with a different set of directions on timing and dosing, so be sure to read the label to ensure you’re taking it per the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.
When Is the Best Time To Take Probiotics?
More often than not, the best time to take a probiotic supplement is right before a meal when the environment in your stomach is at its least acidic. This will help ensure higher survival rates of healthy bacteria as they travel through the acidic environment in your stomach to your gut, where they can colonize and work their healing magic.
When shopping for probiotics, opt for a capsule or encasement that offers protection from stomach acids. If you take a supplement that fizzles out in stomach acid before ever reaching your GI tract, it may not be effective — and that would defeat the whole purpose of taking them.
To ensure probiotic bacteria survival, we recommend taking a high-quality, high-potency probiotic supplement, like Gut Feelings Probiotics — a prebiotic, probiotic, and postbiotic formula that supports complete gut health and immunity.*
Simply take one capsule a day on an empty stomach to balance, optimize and support a calm digestive system. Easy-peasy!
Any More Tips?
In addition to taking your probiotic before mealtime, these tips may boost the efficiency of your supplement:
- Figure out what works for you and stick with it! Probiotics work best when taken consistently. So make a habit of taking your probiotic at the same time every day.
- Store your probiotics properly. Heat, light, and humidity can all affect probiotics — and not in a good way! Keep your supplement in a cool, dark, and dry place. Also, be sure to check the label for storing recommendations because some strains of bacteria require refrigeration.
- Purchase from an honest and reputable brand. To ensure quality and safety, opt for a probiotic supplement that comes from a trusted company (Oh, hello there!)
So, what is the best time to take probiotics, you ask?
The answer: It depends.
First and foremost, consistency is key. To reap the most benefits of your probiotics, it’s best to take your supplement daily. You can choose any time to take probiotics — as long as it’s on an empty stomach or before a meal.
Your stomach contains a lot of acid, which is super great for digestion; not so great for probiotics. But to get to the gut where these little friendly bugs can do their thing, they have to travel through the acidic waters of the stomach — hence why it’s best to take them when acid levels are low.
To lend a helping hand to the friendly bacteria that are about to embark on a perilous journey to your GI tract, opt for an enteric-coated probiotic. Not sure where to find a great quality probiotic? Check out our Probiotics Kit — a powerful trio of probiotic supplements for all your parts!
Whether you’re looking to support your gut, skin, and vaginal health or your digestive system and overall immunity, our Probiotics Kit has you covered.
At Love Wellness, we create female-driven supplements with you in mind. Using only the best of the best ingredients to ensure efficiency, we don’t want you to just feel good — we want you to feel great!
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Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Management in Women | PMC
Enteric Nervous System – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics
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The International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics consensus statement on the scope and appropriate use of the term probiotic | Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology