Probiotics aren’t anything new. We’ve all heard of taking probiotics. Whether we consume them in food or in supplement form, probiotics keep our gut and digestive system healthy. For me, I remember my mother desperately trying to feed me yogurt against my will. She’d convince me it was full of “good stuff” that they would “help my tummy”. Of course, I now know that by “good stuff” she meant probiotics.
The benefits of probiotics are numerous: from a boosted mood to a healthier immune system. But recently, probiotics are being touted as a scientifically proven way to help improve our skin health.
How? It’s complicated. But, put simply: Research has shown that an unhealthy gut system can lead to anxiety, stress or depression. In turn, this “stress” leads to breakouts and flare-ups such as eczema, rosacea, and acne — all of which create inflammation, the driving factor of skin ageing. Hence, the importance of keeping probiotics aka the “friendly” bacteria in your diet.
As someone who’s been curious to try probiotics, the use of probiotics often comes up when talking about food. That said, it can be a complicated area to understand. Questions that often come up when discussing taking them include “What exactly are they?” “What do they do?” and “When it best to take them,” With this all in mind, I deferred to Sarah Greenfield, an RD and nutritionist for a little probiotic 101.
Ahead, find everything you need to know about probiotics, including the best ways to take them (psst: food isn’t the only way!), how they can improve your skin, our favorite products, and more.
What Are Probiotics?
“When we think of bacteria, we often think about germs, sickness and disease. But the truth is your body is the natural home to trillions of microorganisms that are essential to your health and wellbeing,” states Greenfield. “Probiotics are the live bacteria and yeasts that live in your body and keep your gut healthy.”
What Do They Do?
“Probiotics are friendly bacteria that patrol your intestines and keep your digestive system running smoothly by helping digest food, destroying harmful pathogens and producing vitamins,” explains Greenfield.
When Do I Take Them?
“The best way to take probiotics is 20 minutes after you eat. This helps ensure that your stomach acid is lower and gives them a better chance of survival. However, getting them into your daily routine is more important than remembering to take them after a meal,” advises Greenfield. “You can take them in the morning or at night before bedtime and still get great results. Just remembering to take them is half the battle!”