Should I take probiotics on an empty stomach or with food?

This topic has been debated endlessly, with various probiotic packaging completely contradicting each other. There is no specific study that looks into whether we should take probiotics with or without food, so if you’re not sure, follow the instructions on the packet or from your practitioner.

In the meantime, here are some thoughts.

The pH of the stomach is quite acidic (between 0.8 and 2) when our stomach is empty, which quickly kills probiotics. After 60 minutes in a pH of 1.5 in simulated gastric juices, all freeze-dried probiotics die unless they have some form of protection applied to their capsule. Food buffers stomach acid, and in fact, after food, gastric pH is between 4 and 7.

Food also contains ‘food’ for the probiotics, which can provide an energy source for bacteria on their way through. Typically, fermented foods are laden with probiotic bacteria and in this sense, probiotic bacteria would never normally be taken by themselves.

Many bacteria also secrete enzymes that aid in the digestion of food.

We reckon taking your probiotics with food is the best way to take them!

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