The Best Time to Take Probiotics and Prebiotics

In a Nutshell: The best time for probiotics is 1-2 hours after a meal or 30 minutes before, preferably between lunch and dinner. As for prebiotics, taking them with meals is ideal to enhance efficiency and avoid digestive discomfort.


  • Probiotics should be taken 1-2 hours after a meal or 30 minutes before eating to enhance their survivability.
  • The best time to take probiotics is in the afternoon, between lunch and dinner.
  • Prebiotics should be consumed with food to ensure a slower passage through the gut and avoid discomfort.

When to Take Probiotics and Prebiotics

When it comes to gut health, Thomas DeLauer, a renowned nutrition coach for professional athletes, emphasizes that timing is as crucial as the choice of probiotics and prebiotics themselves. 

In a detailed explanation, DeLauer sheds light on when precisely these supplements should be taken for optimal benefits.

Probiotics: The Timing Trick for Living Organisms

DeLauer starts with probiotics, the living organisms essential for a healthy gut. “You don’t just pop them and hope for the best,” he asserts, underlining the importance of proper timing. 

The key is to take probiotics either an hour to two hours after a meal or 30 minutes before eating. He cites a study from the journal ‘Beneficial Microbes to back this up, explaining that taking probiotics close to meal times significantly reduces their survivability. 

A full stomach’s harsh, acidic environment can be detrimental to these delicate microbes. “We’re trying to colonize and plant those bacteria,” DeLauer explains, hence the need for careful timing to avoid their destruction in the stomach.

Prebiotics: Sustaining Your Gut Flora

Moving on to prebiotics, essentially fueling probiotics, DeLauer points out a different approach. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics should be taken with food. 

This is because prebiotics, which are forms of dietary fiber, are designed to be processed along with food, ensuring a slower passage through the gut and, therefore, a more efficient feeding of the gut bacteria. 

DeLauer warns about the discomfort of taking prebiotics on an empty stomach, such as bloating and gas, due to rapid movement through the digestive system.

The Importance of Fiber Diversity

A crucial aspect that DeLauer highlights is the diversity of fiber in our diet. He explains how different types of fiber (short-chain and long-chain fibers) cater to various bacteria in the gut. 

Using an analogy, DeLauer compares the gut ecosystem to a forest, where an imbalance in one species (like squirrels) can disrupt the entire system. 

A diverse fiber intake ensures a balanced growth of different gut bacteria, which is crucial for overall gut health.

Best Time to Take Probiotics & Prebiotics

Probiotics: The best time to take them is in the afternoon, ideally between lunch and dinner, when the stomach isn’t completely full.

Prebiotics: DeLauer recommends a staggered intake throughout the day – less in the morning, a moderate amount at lunch, and the most at dinner. This aligns with the body’s circadian rhythms and helps in better digestion and sleep.

Integrating Fiber into Your Diet

For those struggling to incorporate various fibers into their diet, DeLauer suggests trying products like Ollipop soda.

It contains a mix of beneficial fibers, making it easier to achieve the necessary diversity. DeLauer shares his favorite flavor, cherry vanilla, highlighting its taste and health benefits.

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