Probiotics are a popular way for health-conscious individuals to keep their gut health in tip-top condition. By taking one or two probiotic supplements a day, you can improve digestion, heart health, and reduce the symptoms of some food intolerances.
With benefits like these, it’s easy to see how probiotics are on track to become a 78 billion dollar industry by 2026. There are now hundreds of different types of probiotics on sale in the U.S and which one you should take depends on your symptoms and gut health goals.
But unfortunately, more of us taking probiotics doesn’t mean more of us are feeling the benefits. Probiotics mistakes are common, meaning that even those of us who take probiotics religiously might not be getting the best out of them.
Check out the 3 most common probiotics mistakes below, so that you can get the most from taking yours.
1. Forgetting to Read the Instructions
It might sound simple but with hundreds of variants available, you can’t guarantee that all supplements are taken in the same way. Ignoring the instructions on the pack not only limits the effectiveness of your probiotic but it can even be dangerous, so always read the pack and guidance leaflet before starting a new probiotic.
All probiotics need to be taken differently. We recommend paying explicit attention to the following four areas if you switch supplements or introduce a new one:
Storing your probiotics correctly is extremely important. As probiotics contain living bacteria, they can be sensitive to temperature changes and light. Usually, probiotics are stored in the fridge but some brands are best in dry, dark places, such as inside a pantry or store cupboard.
The time you take your probiotic is also very important. Particularly if the efficacy of your supplement is affected by eating. The instructions will advise whether to take the supplement first thing in the morning, before a meal, or after one. Make sure you read them to make the most out of your treatment.
As probiotic supplements contain live, gut-friendly bacteria, they usually have an expiry date. After this date, medical professionals advise against taking them and instead recommend disposing of the remaining packs in a safe way. This is because taking probiotics after they’ve expired could actually do more harm to your gut than good!
On a final note, remember that any other medication you take, including antibiotics, can limit the effectiveness of your probiotics. Lots of medicines kill off your gut bacteria as well, so if you’re sick consider doubling your probiotic intake to get an extra boost!
If you’re taking additional medications, have a chat with your doctor about the probiotics you want to take and they can help to identify if they’re right for you. Your doctor will also be able to recommend the appropriate dosage for your personal circumstances.
2. Not Following a Gut Health Diet Plan
Probiotics are rarely the only change that needs to happen to your diet to get the results that you want. After all, it’s no good introducing good bacteria, if you’re going to upset your gut’s delicate balance by eating junk food all the time!
That’s why it’s always best to support your probiotic supplements with complementary changes to your lifestyle. A great way to do this is to follow a diet designed for better gut health. Check out this diet plan from The Gut Health Doctor, if you need a starting point.
You may also want to consider increasing your fiber intake and introducing naturally probiotic foods alongside your supplements.
A high fiber diet helps good bacteria to flourish by providing them with the energy they need to support healthy digestion. But increase your fiber take slowly to avoid overwhelming your gut and experiencing side effects. Naturally, probiotic foods, like kefir and kombucha have similar benefits, so add some to your shopping cart the next time you are at the store to test them out!
3. Believing Probiotics Are a Quick Fix
Nowadays, we want everything instantly, whether it’s our amazon order or our probiotics to kick in. When people read about the benefits of taking probiotics, they sometimes fall into the trap of believing the bacteria will get to work on the spot.
Unfortunately, despite all the benefits of probiotics, this isn’t the case. Most gut bacterias need time to reach the digestive tract and have an impact on your health, so hang in there if you’re feeling impatient!
The good news is that once your probiotic gets to work, the results will last for a long time so you’ll only need to play the waiting game once, particularly if you continue to take them in the long term.
You may see quicker results if you also make changes to other factors that can inflame your gut. Stress and lack of exercise, for example, are known triggers. Try to incorporate regular exercise into your weekly routine (even walking counts) and try to reduce sources of stress where possible.
Most Probiotics Mistakes Are Avoidable With the Right Information
If you’ve taken a course of probiotics and haven’t noticed much of a difference to your gut health, it’s easy to blame the supplement. But more often than not, you’ll have made one of the common probiotics mistakes we’ve explored above.
For great results, always read the instructions and avoid viewing the supplements as a quick fix. You should also try to use the probiotic in conjunction with other lifestyle changes, like following a gut health diet and reducing stress levels.
If you want to learn more about probiotics, our blog is full of helpful information that will help you to choose the best probiotics! Check it out and start working towards a healthier you!