Probiotics are a special kind of supplement. Instead of chemicals, probiotics contain LIVE bacteria, which is good and bad news. The good news is that these bacteria can help you fix your vaginal health and gut health — if they make it there.
And the bad news is that if they don’t make it to your vagina or gut — then they’re completely useless. The LIVE bacteria in your probiotic may not make it to your vagina and gut for one simple reason: they may be killed off before they make it past your stomach. What kills them? Your stomach acid… and what you eat.
First, the stomach acid. Some brands coat their probiotic pills with enteric coatings, which should protect the LIVE bacteria from your stomach acid. And the coating does work. It protects the bacteria against your stomach acid alright. But it does nothing about what you eat. And yes, what you eat can completely neutralize your probiotic supplement.
So in today’s article, we’ll show you how some ladies silence their probiotics and sabotage their vaginal wellness. Does that mean you have to stop eating your favorite meals to get any benefit from your probiotics?
Of course not. The solution to this problem is so simple it will surprise you. But that’s not all. We’ll also give you some quick tips you can use to supercharge every probiotic dose you take… and achieve the results you want even faster.
Let’s get started.
The big enemy — antibiotics💊
Before we get to the little known culprits… let’s address this big enemy for first time readers. You probably already know that antibiotics kill both the good and bad bacteria in your microbiome. That’s how they’re designed to work.
Antibiotics also attack the LIVE bacteria in your probiotic too. Most probiotics are coated with tough enteric shells that protect your LIVE bacteria from your stomach acid. But that shell can’t do anything against antibiotics. If you take your antibiotic medication with your probiotics… the antibiotics will still attack and turn the LIVE bacteria off!
That’s why you do not want to take your probiotics with any antibiotic. Does that mean that you should choose between your probiotics and your life-saving medications? No.
Instead, Use this simple strategy to get out of this situation:
Strategy: Doctors and health researchers suggest that you should wait at least a few hours after taking antibiotics to take your probiotics.
That way, the antibiotics will be absorbed and carried away from the stomach before you take your probiotics.
Even better: Researchers from the College of Medicine, University of Science, Arts and Technology, BWI suggest taking your probiotic 2‐6 hours after the antibiotic dose throughout the course of antibiotic treatment for best results.
Result: The antibiotics won’t have the chance to directly interfere with and kill the beneficial bacteria. Your probiotics will go on to your microbiome and start rebuilding your flora.
Bonus tip: Practice antibiotic Stewardship!
If you ever need to take an antibiotic prescription… ask your doctor if it’s possible to get a narrow-spectrum antibiotic instead of the common broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics (like metronidazole) are well-known for causing yeast infections. While the narrow-spectrum antibiotics (like nitrofurantoin, prescribed for bladder infections) generally don’t cause yeast infections.
So if your doctor prescribes a broad-spectrum antibiotic, make sure you really need it. And take preventive action (like taking a probiotic) to make sure it doesn't give you a vaginal infection.
Other Foods that Undermine Your Probiotics and Strategies to Counteract Them
Alcohol – As much as we love our Friday night wines and holiday spirits, excessive alcohol is proven to disrupt the good bacteria in your probiotic. How? It creates an environment that’s conducive for harmful bacteria to thrive. Alcohol also leaves you dehydrated, which is bad news for your vaginal microbiome.
Strategy: Moderation is key here. Enjoy your favorite drinks, but be mindful of your intake. For best results, take your probiotics a few hours apart from your alcoholic beverage. And always stay hydrated.
Sugary Foods and Drinks: That sweet taste may not be so sweet for your probiotics. High sugar content provides food for the harmful bacteria and yeast in our microbiome, giving your probiotic an uphill battle.
Strategy: If you can’t completely eliminate sugar, gradually reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet. If you're craving something sweet, reach for whole fruits instead of processed snacks. If you want a healthy replacement for soft drinks, try water infused with slices of fruits like lemon or cucumber the next time you’re craving something sweet.
Processed Foods/Artificial Sweeteners/Fats: It’s proven that these not only affect our overall health, they also cause imbalances in the different microbiomes in our bodies, including your vaginal microbiome. They often contain additives and preservatives that can interfere and sometimes turn off the beneficial bacteria we take in probiotics.
Strategy: choose fresh, homemade meals whenever possible to eliminate all potential interactions between these foods/drinks and your probiotics. If you're cooking, choose healthier cooking methods like grilling, broiling, roasting, steaming or sautéing instead of deep frying. This is especially important if you’re trying to get your microbiome back on track. However, if you're in a pinch, look for minimally processed options with recognizable ingredients.
Remember, probiotics ALWAYS come in contact with the foods we eat… because they all pass through our digestive system.
And these strategies are here to help you reduce all interactions between the foods and drinks that reduce the potency of your probiotics.
Also if you’re on a diet, or have special health conditions that’s already limiting your food options… it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor or a dietitian for personalized advice.
How to supercharge each probiotic dose you take
Most probiotic strains (like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium) are naturally sourced from dairy products. So if you can add more dairy to your diet, that’d be a great idea.
In fact, it’s proven that milk provides additional protective effects during your probiotic's passage through your digestive system.
However, if you're lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy, take your probiotics with non-dairy beverage or water.
Here are other options you could consider:
- Non-dairy milk alternatives: Almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, and other non-dairy milk alternatives are generally safe to consume with probiotics, especially if they are unsweetened.
- Yogurt or kefir: These fermented dairy products are the natural sources of probiotics themselves. Taking your probiotic supplement with these beverages could potentially enhance their benefits.
- Fruit juices: Certain fruit juices, such as apple, orange, or cranberry juice, can be consumed with probiotics. However, do not use unsweetened juice since their high sugar content feeds the harmful bacteria in your flora.
Water: If you're unsure about other beverages or you want to play it safe, you can always use plain water. But don’t use chlorinated water because it harms probiotics. Use water with very low chlorine content. Experts prefer filtered or bottled water to be a good choice.
Important: also make sure that the water is at room temperature or cool, rather than hot. Heat kills the beneficial bacteria in probiotics.
As a general rule… avoid taking your probiotics with hot drinks like tea or coffee. Why? Because heat always kills the LIVE bacteria.
We need to understand how our diet (and other things we eat) affect probiotics. It is crucial. That may be the reason why probiotics are working for others, but not for us.
Once you create that healthy environment for your beneficial bacteria to thrive, your vaginal health will quickly get back to normal.
Do you need a science-backed probiotic formula that's proven to
- Turn on your natural cleaning mechanism (by adding more Lactobacillus to your vaginal flora)...
- Maintain your pH at the optimal level... and
- Help you banish vaginal odor, yeast infections and BV for good?
Then you should consider trying Divine Vagine probiotic by FlowerPower: