- For best results take 1 capsule daily, preferably with breakfast.
- If desired, or professionally directed, can be increased to 2 capsules a day.
- Can be used on an ongoing basis.
- Suitable from 4 years onwards. For those unable to swallow capsules, the capsule can be opened and the contents mixed into cool food or drinks.
- Do not exceed recommended daily dosage.
- For best results, do not remove desiccant sachet from the glass jar and close lid firmly after each use.
- Store in a cool, dry place below 25°C and out of direct sunlight. For maximum potency, can be refrigerated after opening.
All questions answered by probiotic experts Dr Kate Stephens PhD (Food and Microbial Sciences) BSc(Hons) Medical Microbiology and Kerry Beeson BSc (Nut. Med.) Nutritional Therapist.
Is it OK to take friendly bacteria every day?
Yes, it is safe and generally advisable to take your friendly bacteria supplement daily. These bacteria colonise in the gut for a few weeks but research1,2,3 suggests that the friendly bacteria strains will disappear without regular supplementation, so for this reason you might wish to take them regularly.
Should you take live cultures on a full or empty stomach?
The concern is that bacteria are delicate by nature, and that they may not survive stomach acid. Taking live cultures at a certain time of day (when stomach acidity is closer to neutral) could help ensure the highest survival rates of the good bacteria. Confusingly though, different healthcare professionals and live cultures manufacturers have different guidelines about when is best to take these supplements! So, let us try to clarify a few things.
First, let us look at the logic behind taking live cultures on an empty stomach, advocated by some. Well, because acid is stimulated by consumption of food, it is thought that taking live cultures on an empty stomach (mainly first thing in the morning) is ideal because there is less residual acid in the stomach. However, it is also important to note that there is a lag time (up to 30 minutes) between when food is eaten and when acid is released into the stomach
With a few exceptions, it’s best to take your friendly bacteria supplements with a breakfast, as the food helps to buffer the effects of stomach acid; it may also help to facilitate the passage of the friendly bacteria through the stomach, and ensure that they are well mixed with the stomach contents as they pass into the small intestines.
How long should you take friendly bacteria for?
This depends on why you are taking them: some people like to take specific strains at certain times, for example during pregnancy, when travelling abroad, or during the winter flu season. However, if you prefer general daily supplementation, then take your supplements every day. There is no current research to suggest the body becomes dependent on good bacteria, so long-term supplementation is also fine.
How do I choose the best friendly bacteria for adults?
With so many brands to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the friendly bacteria supplement that’s right for you. We recommend looking for good bacteria which is guaranteed to reach the gut alive, contains well-researched strains, is shelf stable and does not need refrigerating. It is always good to choose a product with great customer reviews, but most importantly it should contain strains researched especially for your needs.
What strength of live cultures should I take?
When it comes to friendly bacteria, ‘more’ is not always ‘better’. It is more important to consider the quality of the good bacteria strains, and the number of gold standard clinical trials they have been featured in. It is also very important to ensure that this research is relevant for your individual needs. High-quality supplements containing well-researched strains4,5 should contain the same number of billions used in clinical trials.
1. Mimura, T. et al. (2004). 'Once daily high dose probiotic therapy (VSL#3) for maintaining remission in recurrent or refractory pouchitis'. Gut, 53(1): 108-114
2. Morelli L et al., (2004). 'Utilisation of the intestinal tract as a delivery system for urogenital probiotics'. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology; 38(6): 107-110
3. Jacobsen et al., (1999). 'Screening of probiotic activities of 47 strains of Lactobacillus spp. by in vitro techniques and evaluation of the colonisation ability of 5 selected strains in humans'. Applied and Environmental Microbiology; 65 (11): 4949-4956
4. Sanders ME, Klaenhammer TR. (2001) Invited review. The scientific basis of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM functionality as a probiotic. J Dairy Sci. 84(2):319-331. doi:10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(01)74481-5
5. Gray Dip CNM, C. (2022). Which Probiotics are for IBS? | Probiotics Learning Lab. Retrieved 16 May 2022, from https://www.optibacprobiotics.com/uk/learning-lab/in-depth/gut-health/which-probiotics-are-best-for-ibs
Live cultures are not recommended for those with serious medical conditions e.g. those who are severely immunosuppressed, have pancreatitis, are in the ICU, have melaena, have a central venous catheter, short bowel syndrome, or patients with open wounds following major surgery; unless under a doctor's care. Keep out of reach of children.
This is a food supplement and is not intended to prevent, treat or diagnose any medical conditions. Probiotic supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you are taking any medications or have a serious medical condition, consult a doctor before use. Optibac supplements will not cause dependency and may be used on an ongoing basis.