Probiotics are a popular supplement or culture found in existing foods. While they’ve been around for thousands of years, present in many of the foods that we know and love, the synthesized probiotic is a relatively new thing.
When something is so new, people often don’t know how to approach using it, when it expires, or even if it expires. We’re going to explore the idea of probiotics in this article, giving you some insight into what they are and how they work.
Mainly, we’ll address the question, “do probiotics go bad?” First, though, we’ll talk a little bit about probiotics in general.
What are Probiotics?
The term “probiotics” refers generally to the category of foods and supplements that contain bacteria and yeasts which can be good for our digestive health. In other words, these products contain living organisms that enter our bodies and contribute to a healthy gut biome.
When we think of a gut biome, it’s important to remember that probiotics aren’t the only living things we eat. Foods like yogurt, kombucha, many soups, and more, all contain living, healthy bacteria.
So, it’s not like you’re introducing a foreign bug to come in and drastically change the state of your stomach. Probiotic bacteria can be found in nearly any food that has been fermented, and fermentation is extremely common in the Western diet.
The only difference when you’re thinking about probiotic supplements is that the healthy bacteria has been removed and possibly combined with other ingredients, only to be put in a pill or capsule form.
Another important benefit of probiotics is the effect they have on the mouth and sinus tissues. Appropriate use of supplements can lead to clean gums, teeth, and ears!
How do They Work?
Without getting too specific, probiotics offset bad bacteria and introduce a culture of good bacteria. There is still significant research being done to find out exactly how probiotics work, but our knowledge can tell us a few things.
First, there are a number of agonizing stomach conditions that can be improved by the use of probiotics. Things like Irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and some infectious viruses can be combatted through an improved gut biome.
Further, we know that the bacteria in our stomachs affect the nerves that control and operate our guts. So, when that bacteria is conducive to a healthy gut, we can digest and release foods more effectively.
Do Probiotics Go Bad?
You’re probably thinking, “what happens when those things go bad?!”
It’s easy to conjure up wild ideas about what happens when you leave bacteria alone for too long, only to put it into your body. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry too much about your probiotic supplements going bad.
We should mention that you certainly don’t want to ingest any kind of “probiotic” food after it has reached its expiration. Eating year-old yogurt could have some serious consequences for your health.
That said, probiotic supplements don’t pose health risks after they have reached their expiration date. You can still safely consume them. The reality is that much of the bacteria will simply be dead when that time comes.
In fact, a lot of the bacteria in your supplements will die as time moves on, but that doesn’t mean you can’t consume the pills. You might just notice that the supplements have less of an effect as time goes on.
The bacteria need to be living for any of the positive effects of probiotics to exist. If they’re dead, they’ll simply pass through you like any other food.
Storing Probiotics Effectively
If you’re storing your supplements in areas that aren’t conducive to the life of the bacteria, you probably won’t experience much of an effect from the pills.
So, make sure that you read the storage instructions carefully. Poor storage choices can cause a great deal of the bacteria to die before you even take on a supplement.
You can significantly stretch out the life of your product by storing it someplace where the bacteria will be in good health.
How to Use Probiotics
With so many probiotic foods and products available, it can be easy to imagine that you just ingest probiotics of some kind and expect to see results.
While simply ingesting regular probiotics can definitely improve the state of your gut biome, the specific effects might not be what you were after when you started.
In other words, you have to be intentional if you want to experience a specific result. People who are having trouble with IBS, for example, might want to take different probiotics than someone who just wants to be more regular in the bathroom.
You should compare probiotics, looking at their effects and what you should reasonably expect to happen when you take them.
Once You Make a Choice
Once you have the desired probiotic, it’s important that you take some caution in approaching how you take them.
Remember, these are living bacteria that will be thrown into your body. Your level of acidity, the time-release of a capsule, and more can all have an effect. Your first step should be to read the instructions on the bottle, of course.
Next, consider taking the supplement after you eat. We tend to be more acidic when we’re on an empty stomach, and an acidic environment could seriously cut out a large number of bacteria in the supplement.
We are typically less acidic after a meal, and this might be the best time to ingest the supplement and experience the maximum effect. You can also call your manufacturer to see if the capsules are time-released.
If so, plan your intake accordingly to avoid the bacteria being released at a time when your stomach is particularly acidic.
Want to Learn More?
So, do probiotics go bad? The answer is no, but they get less effective. They’re also less effective if you aren’t informed on how to take them, which is why it’s so important to stay up on how to choose and use medical supplements.
If you’re trying to keep up-to-date on how to stay healthy, explore our site for the information you need.