Health Probiotics By Nina T / August 9, 2017 Share Tweet Pin Share We know that it is important to eat right and exercise, but are you taking care of your gut as well? A healthy gut is vital to a functioning body, ensuring that our body has a good digestive system. An unhealthy gut can lead to diarrhoea, mood swings and even bad skin!Did you know that 60%-80% of the immune system is located in the gut? One way of keeping a healthy digestive system, and by extension a healthy immune system, is through the use of probiotics. With various different types out there, I’ll be going over the best way to take probiotics so you can get the most out of this addition to your daily routine. Probiotics Explained You may have heard the term “probiotics” before, but do you really know what they are and what they do? Probiotics are actually good bacteria that live in your digestive system. They're naturally found in your body and can be found in some foods like yogurts and pickles. However, sometimes we need a boost, like when taking antibiotics, because they take away the good bacteria as well as the bad. How Do I Take Them? The best way to take probiotics starts with choosing a supplement. Always buy through a reputable company. Your local health store will have the best brands on offer and someone on hand to speak to about what's best for your needs. Be sure to read the label, as not all manufactures are the same. Sometimes they are even a bit confusing, but that is why I’m here to help! How much you should take completely depends on your situation. Probiotics are measured by colony-forming units (CFU’s) and how much is in a capsule completely depends on the brand. If you're healthy and wanting to maintain a healthy gut, then one billion CFU’s daily is sufficient. If you have been on a course of antibiotics, 10-15 billion CFU’s can help you get back on track. When experiencing a gut issue such as diarrhoea, then somewhere in the middle (about 6-8 billion CFU’s) is recommended. You never want to take more than recommended, because that can lead to excess gas, pain and bloating.If you're vegetarian or vegan you should also be careful when it comes to selecting a probiotic, as some capsules can have milk proteins or gelatine in them. Always check the label! With Or Without Food? It's always recommended that you take probiotics on a full stomach. But why? The high acidity of our stomachs can potentially destroy some of the good bacteria, and it’s best to take them alongside or after a meal for maximum effect. Which meal you take them with is completely up to you, as long as they're taken with food in the stomach and that food contains some fat! You should also take the probiotic capsule with a glass of water, avoiding acidic and hot drinks. The high temperatures and acid could kill off the bacteria, so avoid that coffee and even juice for a few minutes!Because probiotics contain live organisms, it's important to store them correctly and pay attention to expiration dates. Exposure to high temperatures and humidity can affect the potency of the probiotic. Therefore, it's recommended to store them in the refrigerator with the lid tightly closed. If using a powder, be sure to use a dry spoon to scoop out what you need, and if taking capsules, just tip them into the lid, take what you need and tip the rest back in the bottle. This is because moisture on the spoon or your hands can also affect the stored probiotics! Try to keep the capsules in their original packaging and not to handle them too often. Don’t use a daily pill reminder box. How Long Do They Last? Traveling? That’s ok! Probiotics are usually fine out of the refrigerator for one to two weeks. A general rule to follow is that if you feel comfortable with the room temperature then your probiotics should still stay at their maximum potency.