If you’ve been taught to view bacteria as a bad thing, you’re only half right. There are both good and bad bacteria in your body. Good bacteria naturally exists in cultured or fermented food and offer benefits for your digestive system. Good bacteria help crowd out unwanted organisms to allow more good bacteria to be present in your gut1. Most of this happens in the gastrointestinal system and can lead to occasional digestive issues. Additionally, your gastrointestinal system’s health plays a large role in the health of your immune system, so you’ll want to get more good bacteria into your body2.
These good bacteria are known as probiotics, and they help keep your digestive system healthy and functioning well. Supplements can be the most convenient way to ingest the probiotics you need to balance your gut bacteria.3 Maximize your probiotic use and get the most benefits by following these recommendations.4
Learn More: What are Probiotics?
When to Take Probiotics
Because your intestinal lining sloughs off every day, and probiotics work by attaching transiently to your intestinal lining, many probiotic supplements should be taken daily. The time of day doesn’t matter, but choose a time that fits your schedule and is easy to remember. Whatever time you choose, stick to it consistently.
How to Take Probiotics
Food helps neutralize stomach acid that can be damaging to probiotics, so always take probiotic supplements with a meal. Wash them down with a cold or room-temperature beverage, and but don’t take probiotics with your morning cup of coffee. Heat can kill bacteria, rendering the probiotic less functional.
How to Properly Store Probiotics
Probiotics used to have to be refrigerated, but most manufacturers have developed supplements that are stable at room temperature. Read the label first, but most probiotic supplements need to be stored in a cool, dry place, with no refrigeration required.
How to Give Probiotics More Power
Help give your probiotics strength by maintaining a healthy diet. Since a poor diet likely led to your digestive issues to begin with, changing it even a little could be beneficial. You may not be able to cut out all greasy foods, but eat more fruits and vegetables. These, and other foods rich in fiber, help probiotics flourish.
Bad bacteria aren’t the only things that affect your digestive system — stress can too. Help yourself, and your probiotics, by getting rid of some stress. Learn relaxation techniques, join a yoga class, get more exercise or spend more time on a hobby. Focus on your overall well-being, and you may find that your stomach is tied up in knots less often, both figuratively and physically.
How to Choose the Right Probiotic
The right probiotic is as effective as possible in getting rid of some of your digestive concerns. Nature Made® offers three different probiotic formulations, each formulated with probiotics strains that have been clinically studied and each gentle enough for everyday use.
For more comprehensive coverage, choose Nature Made® Advanced Dual Action Digestive Probiotics†. Instead of multiple strains that may or may not help with your digestive issues, this formula contains just two bacteria strains to help you support healthy gut flora†. One strain targets the small intestine and the other targets the large intestine, helping to support both your digestive balance and regularity†. Lactobacillus plantarum works in the small intestine to naturally help relieve occasional gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.† Bifidobacterium lactis works in the large intestine to naturally help relieve occasional constipation and irregularity.†
Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any probiotics to ensure that they don’t affect any prescription drugs you may also be taking. Also, check that the prescription drug and probiotic combination doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of the probiotics. Once you’ve done this and maintain your probiotic regimen on a consistent daily basis, you could start seeing — or feeling — results in approximately two weeks.
1From the Nature Made® Website, Section: “How Probiotics Work” http://probiotics.naturemade.com/how-probiotics-work.html#K2HyfO70Kiex2Tzp.97
2Vighi, G., Marcucci, F., Sensi, L., Di Cara, G., & Frati, F. (2008, September 15). Allergy and the gastrointestinal system [Scholarly project]. In US National Library of Medicine. Retrieved August 10, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/
3Magee, E. (2009, January 21). Probiotics Supplements Benefits, Types, and Safety. Retrieved August 10, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/answers-to-your-questions-about-probiotics?page=2#1
4From the Nature Made® Website, Section: “5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Probiotics,”, http://probiotics.naturemade.com/how-probiotics-work.html#BARRUSakECP7I7FR.97