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Should I take probiotics with food?

Probiotics should always be taken with food

If live bacteria supplements are not taken alongside food, 90-95% of the bacteria will die in the stomach acid.

This is because, when the stomach is empty, it is typically very acidic (1.8-2.6 pH) and this will kill the friendly probiotic bacteria.

Surviving the stomach acid

When we eat, acid is produced to digest the food, but this acid is neutralised by the food and consequently the pH of the stomach rises to 3.5-4.2. At this pH, the probiotic bacteria are able to survive and pass through the stomach to the intestines, where they are required to support a balanced microflora.
Probiotics survive the stomach acid - ProVen Probiotics

Enteric coating

Some probiotic supplements are enteric coated (have an extra layer around the capsule), which stops the capsule from being broken down by the stomach acid and protects the contents of the capsule when passing through the stomach.

At ProVen Probiotics, we have the ability to enteric coat, but we choose not to as the enteric coating then has to dissolve in the small intestine, the capsule has to be broken down and the bacteria inside the capsule must be released and activated to start colonising the small intestine in preparation for the many functions they perform here.

As the small intestine doesn’t have the pummelling action or the acidity of the stomach and the transit time through the small intestine is only 2-4 hours, it is unlikely that the enteric coating will be broken down in time for the probiotics to have an effect in the small intestine.

They will then pass into the large intestine, but the numbers of bacteria required to have an effect here is much larger – between 100 and 2,000 billion per supplement – as there are massive amounts of bacteria present.

Always alongside food

Instead of being enteric coated therefore, our ProVen Probiotics are available in a variety of formats that are designed to travel through the stomach with food and to disintegrate as they do so, ready for use in the intestines – the powders and chewable tablets disintegrate immediately and the capsules disintegrate within 30 minutes.

When taken alongside food, the probiotic bacteria travel with the food through the stomach acid to the small intestine – hence the recommendation that our products are always taken with food.

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