The human body is packed with trillions of tiny little organisms (microbes or bugs, if you will) that make up its microbiome. Some are good, some are bad, and they’re all supposed to be there. It’s what scientists call gut health and it is essential to your well-being. Ideally, there is always a healthy mix of both good and bad bacteria in your body. When you are sick, there is more bad bacteria than good, and the result is a system that is out of balance. By increasing the amount of good bacteria in your body, your system returns to the state of balance necessary for good health.
One of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy microbiome is to eat a diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and limits sugar and processed foods. You can also eat probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, fermented pickles, kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, and sourdough bread. Another option would be to take probiotic supplements.
Probiotics are a combination of beneficial live bacteria and yeasts that naturally live inside the body. They support both gastrointestinal and immune function. Approximately 70-80% of immune cells are associated with gut mucosa. This allows probiotics the ability to communicate with and affect the immune system. Probiotics can also impact the digestive system, enzyme functions (including nutrient absorption), hormones that contribute to overall metabolism, appetite, and bowel movements.
Probiotic supplements are often combined with prebiotics, which feed the good bacteria and keep it healthy. A supplement that contains both probiotics and prebiotics is called a synbiotic. There are plenty of healthy choices available to you, including Care/of’s probiotic blend – dubbed “The Harmonious Gut” – and our prebiotic plus, a.k.a. The De-Bloater.
There is no evidence to support the theory that the effectiveness of either probiotics or vitamins diminishes when taken in tandem. The most important thing to remember when taking probiotics, whether with vitamins or not, is to take them on an empty stomach at least 30 minutes before eating or at least two hours after a meal. This is when stomach acid levels are lowest and least likely to impact the effectiveness of a probiotic.
When taking vitamins, it is recommended to take water-solubles like B or C on an empty stomach, while taking fat-solubles like A, D, E, and K with food. If you follow this recommendation, it might just be convenient to take B or C with probiotics on an empty stomach. As with any supplementation, it is a good idea to seek the advice of your healthcare provider if you have any questions.
There is no positive or negative impact on taking an iron supplement and probiotics together. In fact, some probiotic strains (Lactobacillus plantarum Lp299v) have been associated with increased absorption of iron. Since there are a number of strains of probiotics, it is a good idea to check with your physician to be certain you are taking the best probiotic for your needs. Probiotics should be taken 30 minutes before eating or two hours afterwards. It is recommended to take iron in between meals with vitamin C to help with absorption. Care/of’s Iron: The Blood Booster has been formulated with vitamin C to enhance absorption. Either way, iron can be taken with probiotics.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is responsible for more than 300 reactions in the body. It helps maintain healthy bones, supports muscle function and recovery, and promotes sleep. It has also been shown to play an important role in the gut brain axis. It can be taken together with probiotics. This review of current literature points out the beneficial effects of bacteria on mineral bioavailability in supporting both the human gut microbiome and overall health, though it does call for more research to be done.
There were some internet rumblings to this effect nearly ten years ago, but they turned out to have about as much veracity as the existence of Big Foot. In fact, this study demonstrated that supplementation with a probiotic/vitamin C combination may be beneficial in the management and prevention of some respiratory issues. They both promote immune health and can be taken together without concern of effectiveness.
Antibiotics have been shown to severely disrupt the human gut microbiome, as well as the absorption of minerals. They should be taken away from supplements. When given a prescription for an antibiotic, it is appropriate to ask your healthcare provider for input on how and when to take supplements and other medications in your protocol.
There has been some research on the positive impacts of taking probiotics with omega-3 fatty acids, but more scientific research is required to substantiate this hypothesis.
There are numerous strains of probiotics, each of which could potentially respond in a different way to any human gut microbiome. Given that, and the number of medications in existence, it’s nearly impossible to answer this question without all the facts. Whenever taking medication, it is important to seek guidance from your physician or healthcare provider on the issue of supplementation.
Gut health begins with a healthy lifestyle. The human microbiome known as your body benefits most from a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, and lacking in sugar and processed foods. But if it becomes necessary to add probiotic supplements, consult your physician, registered dietician, or other healthcare provider to determine your best course of action. There are many strains of probiotics, many companies offering their version of them, and at least one web site extolling the benefits of each product. Not all probiotic products on the market are created equal. Do your homework. Ask your doctor.