Probiotics are beneficial bacteria naturally found in the human digestive system. There are many different types of probiotics, but we’re going to focus on how many probiotics you should take to improve your gut health and stay healthy overall. The answer depends on what kind of benefits you want, who you’re taking it with and why you’re taking it in the first place.
Probiotics are helpful bacteria that typically live in your intestines. These good bacteria produce substances that keep you healthy and fight disease. You can get probiotics from yogurt, sourdough bread, or sauerkraut.
A high-quality probiotic supplement may also be a good option for some people. But many of the best supplements contain only 1 billion CFUs (colony forming units) per serving. That’s not enough to get the full benefits of the product. To ensure that a probiotic is effective, it should contain at least 10 billion CFUs per serving.
It is recommended to take probiotics daily to keep your gut health in check. You might not need a supplement if you eat plenty of high-fiber, plant-based foods. However, for most people, taking a probiotic supplement at least once daily is necessary for good gut health.
If you are on a determined diet or taking certain medications, it’s essential to ensure that your probiotics match your health needs. For example, a high-quality keto probiotic is ideal if you’re going on a ketogenic diet.
You should take probiotics on an empty belly first thing in the morning for maximum benefit. The healthy bacteria in probiotics will reach your gut faster if you take them at least half an hour before eating. Healthful bacteria already residing in your digestive tract can help you even more if you take a probiotic supplement.
Too many probiotics won’t harm you if you have an excellent immune system. However, too much can lead to problems for those with compromised immune systems or for those who take medication and supplements. This is because healthy gut bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus produce lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, inhibiting the growth of other pathogens (like Candida) in the gut.
According to the NIH, the typical probiotic supplement contains anything from 1 billion to 10 billion CFU. Most probiotics on the marketplace contain this many CFU, while you may come across products boasting up to 50 billion CFU. Unfortunately, there is no scientific information on how much probiotics someone should take at a time, so it’s challenging to determine what too much means.
There are no known specific reactions to taking probiotics in excess. If the wrong strain of bacteria were accidentally consumed, it would probably cause stomach upset. Even though taking too many probiotics won’t kill you, it can make you uncomfortable by causing gas, bloating, and an upset stomach.
Consuming any over-the-counter medication without consulting a physician first is not recommended. As with anything else, consult your doctor before you start a new regimen and take care when storing your supplements, so they stay fresh and potent.