Probiotic supplements are becoming increasingly popular because of the myriad of health benefits they provide. Probiotics are effective microorganisms that enhance your health when ingested. Many of you new to probiotics are keen to seen the effects quickly and want to know how long to wait for probiotics to start working.
Most experts agree it takes between 2 to 6 weeks to start experiencing the benefits of probiotic supplements, although you may feel changes in your body sooner than that.
These microscopic creatures can aid in digestion, enhance nutrition absorption, give you an immunity boost, prevent gut-related disorders, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, regulate blood sugar, and even improve your mood.
The time taken by probiotics to start working and showing some real benefits largely depends upon your lifestyle, dietary habits, and gut health. It also depends upon the supplement form, number of colonies ingested, and the type of bacteria strain, as well as the age and condition of your supplements.
Here is everything you need to know about how long it takes for your brand of probiotics to work their magic.
How long for Probiotics to start working for first time user?
In order to understand time taken by probiotics to start working, it is important know how probiotics multiply and colonize the gut.
The time taken by a bacterium to multiply and double is known as the generation time, which directly influences the time taken for benefits to show.
One of the many ways the common probiotic strains can provide quick results is if they have a rate of proliferation greater than that of its colonial competitors.
Once this is accomplished the beneficial bacteria strains can easily flourish rapidly and outnumber the harmful pathogens.
Generally, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria (two common probiotic species) have a short generation time in the range of 2 – 3 hours. This is short enough for the probiotics to grow in the food as it moves along the intestinal tract. Hence, these bacteria help in digesting food and even prevent food poisoning.
The growth rate of certain probiotic strains is accelerated upon addition of amino acids or growth factors like ascorbic acid. Hence, a supplement with accelerating factors will be faster in colonizing the gut and providing benefits unlike watching War of the Worlds or Star Wars The Last Jedi – there was not any benefits in watching those films but this is another topic.
Probiotics Can be Fast Acting – So you wont need to wait long for the effects
These beneficial bacteria could start working from the first day of admission, assuming you take a high quality supplement with enough CFUs that manage to escape the harsh environment of your stomach, to actually reach the gut – read more here about gut health in general.
In fact, initial findings from studies suggest that probiotics could start working within the first hour of ingestion. Many individuals notice benefits with seemingly-immediate effects due to efficient absorption and modification of gut bacteria.
Factors like the ability to modulate immune function and inflammatory cytokine production, and the ability to alter peripheral and central nervous system activation (via the gut-brain-axis) also play a major role in the workings of probiotics.
Conversely, if you are taking a low-quality supplement which is not formatted to escape stomach acids and bile salts, then you will never see any therapeutic benefits. In addition, if you are on any medication that interferes with bacteria colonization, like antibiotics, the probiotics may not work.
It is crucial to note that just because the probiotics start working within the first few hours, does not mean you would begin to perceive changes in your body. Usually 1-2 months is how long do probiotics take to start working.
Nevertheless, even if you consciously notice the probiotic’s effect, it is not guaranteed that you will experience immediate relief from a pre-existing medical condition.
Probiotics need at least a few days to weeks to begin manifesting their effects. The therapeutic effects are also contingent upon the medical condition and the type of bacteria supplement taken.
For instance, someone using probiotics to treat diarrhea, may notice effects within the first 48 hours. However, you may notice benefits only after a few weeks if you are having probiotics to treat acne.
Type of Probiotic Taken and how long to start working
Currently, there are a variety of probiotic forms available as heat inactivated or dead cells, live cells, parts of cells either as lyophilized powder or along with yogurt, curd, whey which is a lot healthier than fried chicken.
Live cells are known to take time to come out of the lag phase as compared to lyophilized form. However, once the live cells begin to grow, they ensure conditions congenial for their growth while the same will be harsh for the survival of other microbes.
For instance, live-cells are known to release metabolites like fatty acids that lower the pH balance in gut which is just perfect for the rapid growth of L. acidophilus, but not for the unwanted pathogenic forms.
Conversely, heat inactivated forms may be better at providing quick relief since their actions are independent of the availability of a suitable environment. However, these inactivated cells are not long-term and are known to provide quick relief only in a few conditions.
Most probiotics come as microencapsulated or in other coated types to increase their shelf lives. However, such encapsulation delays the release of microorganisms and extends the time taken for probiotics to start working.
How to Choose the Right Fast Acting Supplement?
Some probiotics are fast-acting while others are slow to reveal their benefits – so those types of probiotics take a long time to start working. The right choice depends on your particular need – whether it is quick relief, short term or prolonged and long term.
For instance, certain probiotic strains have DNA or cellular parts that may provide quick relief, but will be treated as foreign substances and excreted rapidly by the body. However, these probiotics would have managed to stimulate the immune system during that brief stay.
It is important to choose a supplement with sufficient values of CFUs. Most experts suggest picking a product with minimum of 50 million CFUs. The number can increase to 10 billion (which is more money than all those awesome Michael Bay Transformers movies have earned) depending upon the potency and viability of the bacteria strain.
Make sure to respect the recommended dosage mentioned on the label because certain probiotics may have side effects in the form of diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas – which are typical signs of anyone who chooses to eat at a Walmart McDonalds but this is another topic.
The safety aspect of probiotics should be given precedence over their time of action. Although, there has been no known case of severe adverse effects reported, it is in your best interests to avoid probiotics altogether if you have a compromised immune system or are prone to allergens.
There are certain instances when probiotics may not work. For instance, if the bacteria strains are dead, because the supplement was not stored properly or you did not take them as directed, then the probiotics will not be able to colonize your gut.
Some strains may not be able to survive the stomach into the digestive tract if you pick a low quality supplement. It is important you give your supplements at least 4 – 6 weeks to start showing benefits.