Taking Probiotics with Food

22 Jul

By Tim Skwiat, MEd, CSCS, Pn1

Question: It is frequently recommended that probiotics be taken on an empty stomach. If we take them right before we eat, won’t many of them die by being in the stomach with the food?

Answer: There are a few reasons why it’s recommended to take Pro-X10 with food. First of all, foods typically contain fermentable substrates that can help nourish probiotic organisms as they transit through the GI tract. In addition, many probiotics actually secrete certain enzymes that aid in the digestion of foods. What’s more, the original delivery mode of probiotics was via fermented foods.

In addition, Pro-X10 contains the kiwifruit extract Actazin, which is rich in an enzyme called actinidin that helps support the breakdown and digestion of proteins, including gluten. As a matter of fact, recent research suggests that the actinidin enzyme can enhance the digestion and breakdown of gluten by over 300%. (This further augments the compatibility between Pro-X10 and AbsorbMax, which forms quite the dynamic duo when it comes to digestive health.)

Believe it or not, the fasting pH of the stomach is actually lower (i.e., more acidic) than when a meal is administered. Generally speaking, in the fasted state, the gastric pH (i.e., stomach) is between 0.8 – 2, which on the acidic side. Gastric pH following food intake typically ranges from 4 – 7, which is exponentially less acidic.

Despite popular belief, this is yet another reason to take your probiotics with food. That is, it is a common misconception that the pH of the stomach is less acidic when it is empty; hence, the rationale for taking probiotics on an empty stomach. However, this is a false misconception, which ultimately leads to a greater die-off of the living organisms. Here are some additional references on the topic:

Should probiotics be taken with food or on an empty stomach? (Article)

Should probiotics be taken on an empty or full stomach? (Video)

Of course, all probiotics are not created equally. The probiotics in Pro-X10 are protected by microencapsulation technology that wraps these volatile microorganisms in a lipid layer, which protects them from the harsh environment of the stomach. What’s more, two of the non-microencapsulated strains (e.g., Saccharomyces boulardii and Bacillus subtilis) thrive in an acidic environment. As matter of fact, research investigating this very technology has found that it is 5 times more effective at delivering probiotics to the gut than traditional probiotics.

Clearly, taking probiotics with food, even a relatively small amount, seems like the ideal option. With that in mind, taking your Pro-X10 up to 15 minutes before a meal, during a meal, or up to 30 minutes after a meal would be considered an ideal time frame for administration.

Of course, if you understand the value of probiotics and the significance of gut health and the far-reaching implications of the gut microbiome, then you likely also know how important digestive enzymes are to digestive system function and overall health. Whereas probiotics provide the foundation for GI health, digestive enzymes are the “keys” that unlock food’s potential.

They are charged with the responsibility of breaking down the foods we eat into their constituent nutrients. That is, while we eat foods, the body needs the macro and micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc., that are contained within foods. In the absence of adequate digestive enzymes, food goes undigested. This means missing out on important nutrients, but perhaps more importantly means chronic inflammation, difficulty losing weight, gas, bloating, and more.

With that in mind, the addition of AbsorbMax, a full-spectrum digestive enzyme supplement, may be helpful in optimizing digestive system function and health—and all areas of physiology that it affects. AbsorbMax contains an array of proteases, lipases, and amylases, which serve to fully break down proteins, fats, carbohydrates, respectively.

Even more, AbsorbMax contains specific digestive enzymes that may help with the breakdown of soluble and insoluble fibers found in vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods:

  • Alpha-Galactosidase
  • Beta-Glucanase
  • Cellulase
  • Hemicellulase
  • Pectin

These enzymes assist with the breakdown of difficult-to-digest plant-based fibers, also known as non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs), which contain a variety of resistant starches, glycogen, and related polysaccharides. Food preparation, chewing, a healthy population of gut microbes, and you guessed it, supplementation all assist in proper assimilation. It’s when these fibers go completely undigested that the carbohydrates are left to ferment and create undesirable symptoms like gas and other digestive discomfort.

These same digestive enzymes may also help release other nutrients (e.g., polyphenols) that may otherwise remain “trapped” in cell walls. AbsorbMax also contains the phytase enzyme, which helps inactivate phytic acid, often known as an anti-nutrient because of its affinity to bind to minerals (e.g., zinc, iron, etc.) and reduce their absorption.

As Dr. M. Mamadou says, probiotics and digestive enzymes are two partners that are neither to be confused nor separated.


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