When to Take Probiotics: Timing Matters for Gut Health

When is the best timing to consume Probiotics?

Probiotic supplements have gained popularity for their potential to enhance gut health. One common question that arises is, "When is the best time to take probiotics?" Let's explore the considerations and expert insights into optimizing the timing for probiotic consumption.

  • Considering Mealtime:

    Given that probiotics are related to digestion, it's natural to think about mealtime. However, not all probiotic brands follow the same guidelines. According to Mastaneh Sharafi Ph.D., R.D., and VP of Scientific Affairs at Ritual, it's crucial to adhere to the product label directions. Some recommend taking probiotics on an empty stomach, while others suggest consumption with food.

    Hilary Keiser, translational science nutritionist at Viome, emphasizes that the best time is when you remember to take them. Most clinical studies on probiotics do not specify a particular time of day and still demonstrate positive benefits.

  • Survival and Effectiveness:

    A study published in Beneficial Microbes discovered that Saccharomyces boulardii, a probiotic microorganism, survives equally well with or without a meal. However, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium showed better survival when taken 20 to 30 minutes before a meal. Another study found positive changes in the gut microbiome regardless of whether probiotics were taken with food.

  • Morning Preference

    Stephanie Nelson, M.S., R.D., suggests that research indicates probiotic supplements are most effective when taken 20 to 30 minutes before a meal. Morning might be the preferred option, considering the digestive system's resting period during the night, allowing probiotics to encounter less resistance reaching the intestines.

  • Before Bed or Anytime:

    While consistency is key, experts agree that any time of day works for taking probiotics. If preferred, taking them before bed is a viable option.

  • Avoiding Antibiotic Interference:

    One important consideration is not taking probiotics concurrently with antibiotics. Antibiotics can diminish probiotic effectiveness, so it's advisable to space them a few hours apart.


In summary, the choice of when to take probiotics may depend on individual preferences and brand recommendations. Whether it's before, during, or after meals, establishing a consistent routine is essential for maximizing the benefits of these gut-friendly supplements.

Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice, especially when combining probiotics with antibiotics or if you have specific health conditions.

Remember, dietary supplements are intended to complement the diet and should be approached with caution, especially during pregnancy, nursing, or when considering them for children. If in doubt, seek guidance from a healthcare provider.

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