As the connection between a robust microbiome and radiant health attracts increasing attention in scientific research and the media, more and more people are choosing to supplement with probiotics. If you’re thinking about trying probiotic supplements but you’re not sure what to expect, the answers to these commonly asked questions should put you in the know—and set your mind at ease.
So, what should you expect when you first start taking probiotics?
Since each body is unique, there really isn’t a single answer to this question. Some people may experience exciting noticeable changes almost immediately—such as a boost in energy, a sunnier outlook, a glowing complexion, or just a more comfortable tummy. Others might actually feel a bit worse at first, but this soon passes.
If you’re like the vast majority of folks, you probably won’t feel much of anything changing at the very beginning—but you’ll begin to experience positive changes that come gradually over time as your microbiome becomes stronger and more diverse.
Will Things Get Worse Before They Get Better?
When you begin taking probiotics, you’re introducing a whole host of beneficial microbes that should quickly begin to multiply in your digestive tract. These friendly flora work hard to crowd out the types of bacteria and yeast you don’t want in your body. That’s great news—however, as part of their swan song, the mass of dying troublesome strains can sometimes release toxins faster than your body can flush them out. As your immune system rallies to clean up the mess and detoxify (a process known as the Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction), you may experience some temporary discomforts including bloating, gas, minor aches, changes in the frequency and texture of bowel movements, and even skin breakouts.1
To complicate matters, as your new microbial friends begin to colonize and gain a foothold in your gut, they can produce a number of different chemical reactions. While these are all beneficial to your long-term health, your body may need some time to adjust—which can also produce temporary minor digestive discomforts, aches, and skin flare ups.
As unpleasant as this may all seem at the moment, symptoms resulting from the Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction and microbially induced chemical changes are actually signs that your probiotics are working just as they should. So hang in there! As your body acclimates to its microbial improvements, any discomfort you’re feeling should be history within a matter of weeks (or sooner!), and you’ll be well on your way to your healthiest days ever.
To speed the detoxification process along as much as possible, it’s helpful to drink lots of water throughout the day. If you’re still finding the adjustment to probiotics too intense, you might want to consider cutting back on the amount of probiotics you’re taking, and ramping up to your desired dose gradually.
When Will I Feel a Difference?
If you’re not feeling any different right after starting on probiotics, you’re not alone. For many folks it takes some time to see results. Don’t worry, not feeling a change right away doesn’t necessarily mean that your probiotics aren’t doing anything for you.
The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re not seeing results is relax, and know that you are on the right path. Probiotics are similar to vitamins in that they build up in the body over time, and it can take anywhere from two weeks to multiple months before the benefits of a healthy gut make themselves apparent.
Also, make sure that you’ve selected a high quality, time-released probiotic that uses BIO-tract® technology to deliver up to 15 times more live organisms to your gut than other types of capsules, which often allow the vast majority of friendly gut bugs to die before they ever reach your GI tract.
Once you’re certain you’re taking a probiotic that safely transports the maximum numbers of friendly gut bugs to where they belong, you can trust that those helpful microbes are enhancing your wellness in countless ways including:
• Helping you absorb more of the nutrients you eat
• Improving your microbial ratio of good guys to troublemakers
• Strengthening your gut wall
• Supporting a strong immune system, healthy metabolism, and cardiovascular wellness
As your foundations of health receive this hearty boost, you can expect all kinds of positive changes, but major improvements don’t usually happen overnight. In the meantime, know that you’re doing something wonderful for your body—which means wonderful changes are on their way.
Can I Take More Than One Probiotic at a Time?
Yes! It’s absolutely safe to take more than one probiotic supplement daily, and it can be very beneficial to take a few complementary formulas at the same time.
For example, you might want to include a basic daily formula such as PRO-15 or PRO-15 Advanced Strength along with a specialized formula like Better Body (to support healthy weight), PRO-Moms (for nursing mothers), PRO-Compete (for athletes’ microbial needs), or PRO-Bifido (for healthy aging support). And because a balanced oral microbiome turns out to be critical for overall wellness, you may also want to add a delicious chewable oral probiotic such as PRO-Dental.
To help your body adjust smoothly to all the microbial renovation, we recommend introducing only one probiotic formula at a time and then waiting at least a week before adding another one to the mix.
Am I Taking My Probiotics at the Right Time of Day?
With the patented BIO-tract® process, there really isn’t a bad time of the day to take probiotics. Because the delivery is time-released, you can even take your probiotics on an empty stomach without worrying about digestive upset.
No matter what time of day or night you take your probiotic, a steady stream of friendly flora will be gently released into your digestive tract over the next 8 to 10 hours. So no matter when you take your probiotics, it’s the right time!
That said, you’ll supercharge your results when you take your probiotic first thing in the morning on an empty stomach—about 15 minutes or so before breakfast. This timing allows the first burst of probiotics released to avoid competing with a big meal in order to find their way down to your gut, and makes it easier for them to get established.
One important exception when it comes to how to take probiotics: If you’re currently on antibiotics, timing becomes more of an issue. It can take up to a year for your microbiome to rebound after a course of antibiotics, so it’s especially important to protect your microbial health with probiotic fortification at this time—and to do whatever you can to get the most from the probiotics you take!2,3 To encourage the probiotics you bring on board to survive, be sure to wait at least two hours after taking your antibiotic medication before ingesting a probiotic supplement.
Am I Doing It Right?
Don’t worry—it’s highly unlikely that you could be doing anything wrong! Taking probiotics isn’t complicated, so it’s pretty hard to mess things up. With a time-released formula from Hyperbiotics, you can supplement when it’s convenient for you, and it’s easy to tailor a mix of complementary formulas to suit your one-of-a-kind body and lifestyle. There’s no need to store your probiotics in the fridge, and you can even cut them in half without diminishing their effectiveness.
If you’re taking other supplements or medications already, adding probiotics shouldn’t pose an issue. To be safe though, always check in with your doctor first to make sure it’s okay to take probiotics with your particular prescription.
One of the only ways you could actually go wrong when you take probiotics is by starving out the little guys before they get the chance to do your body any good. Just like all living organisms, probiotics need to eat in order to survive—and the only way they get access to nourishment is through what you ingest.
The prebiotic fiber found in whole plant foods such as apples, nuts, asparagus, bananas, and broccoli provides complete nutrition for your beneficial microbes, so enjoying a fiber-rich diet with lots of whole plant foods is one of the best things you can do to keep your microbial good guys going strong. It’s also important to avoid processed foods, pesticides, GMOs, refined sugars, and artificial additives—since all of these can be damaging to your friendly flora.
The bottom line is that probiotics are a safe, convenient, and simple way to take your health to a whole new level. If you still have questions as you embark on your microbial journey, we invite you to visit our Customer Support Center any time day or night for caring and friendly information and guidance.
1. Belum, G. R., Belum, V. R., Chaitanya Arudra, S. K., & Reddy, B. (2013). The Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction: Revisited. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 11(4), 231-237. doi:10.1016/j.tmaid.2013.04.001
2. Ouwehand, A. C., Forssten, S., Hibberd, A. A., Lyra, A., & Stahl, B. (2016). Probiotic approach to prevent antibiotic resistance. Annals of Medicine, 48(4), 246-255.
3. Zaura, E., Brandt, B. W., Mattos, M. J., Buijs, M. J., Caspers, M. P., Rashid, M., . . . Crielaard, W. (2015). Same Exposure but Two Radically Different Responses to Antibiotics: Resilience of the Salivary Microbiome versus Long-Term Microbial Shifts in Feces. MBio, 6(6). doi:10.1128/mbio.01693-15
Roberta Pescow is a writer at Hyperbiotics and proud mom of two amazing and unique young men. Natural wellness is a subject she’s passionate about, so she loves sharing information that helps others discover all the ways probiotics support glowing health and well-being. To learn more about how a healthy microbiome can enrich your life, subscribe to our newsletter.