Common Questions About Probiotics, Answered

The human gut is home to trillions of bacteria–the good, the bad, and the somewhere-in-between bacteria. People take probiotics to try and balance the gut microbiome by supporting the growth and activity of the good beneficial bacteria. Still, with trillions of living organisms, it’s no wonder we get tons of questions on the what, why, and how of probiotics. Here are just a few of our most common questions, answered.

I've been taking my probiotic for 30 days, but I don’t feel anything yet. How do I know it's working?

In general, most people experience digestive improvements within the first month of taking probiotics. This may manifest as enhanced regularity in bowel movements, reduced gas and bloating, and an overall improved sense of well-being. However, some people may experience mild digestive changes including stomach upset. This means that the strains are settling in and is usually temporary. 

We strongly encourage people to give it at least 90 days, as that is the time it can take to see changes in the microbiome. However, results vary based on each person’s gut and medical history. Consistent daily intake of probiotics is crucial for optimal results.

When and how should I take my probiotics?

First of all, it’s important to know that you should not only take probiotics when you feel off-balance, such as during high-stress periods, post-antibiotic treatment, or when you're fatigued. Probiotics must be taken consistently to get the benefits. We recommend taking your probiotic consistently every day, along with a diet rich in probiotic foods. This proactive approach aims to maintain the health of your gut bacteria, preventing potential issues, and supporting long-term overall health. To maximize the effectiveness of your probiotic, we suggest taking them 30 minutes before or with meals or beverages containing fiber. While the specific time of day is less crucial, ensuring that you take your probiotic every day is key. 

How long should I take probiotics?

To get the best results from your probiotics, it’s recommended to consistently take them on a daily basis. That is, the positive effects of probiotics last while you continue to take them and for a brief duration after discontinuation, so once you stop taking the probiotics, you will no longer feel its benefits. There seem to be no issues associated with long-term use; in fact, the benefits tend to be more pronounced with extended usage over several months. If you have a medical condition, please speak with your healthcare provider. 

Do I need probiotics if I eat well and eat foods like yogurt?

Great question (and one that we get asked a lot!) Although yogurt is often considered a healthy snack, it may not fully compare to a comprehensive probiotic in terms of bacterial content. This is because many yogurts undergo heat treatment (pasteurization) for an extended shelf life, inadvertently eliminating live cultures. Moreover, while most yogurts typically contain only three strains of probiotics, numerous supplements provide a more diverse range. 
Several foods naturally contain probiotics, but it's crucial to ensure that these probiotics are alive when consumed to derive benefits. The food production process often eliminates living bacteria. If a product is found on a shelf without refrigeration, it might lack live and active probiotics. Opt for foods with minimal artificial sweeteners, sugars, and other synthetic flavorings. Here's a list of some foods to incorporate into your diet for a healthier microbiome: yogurt (be cautious of high sugar content), sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, miso, kombucha, buttermilk, natto, pickles, and aged cheeses like gouda, mozzarella, cheddar, and cottage cheese. Additionally, consider adding bananas for their 'pre-biotic' benefits, supporting the nourishment of your beneficial bacteria.

Can I have too much Akkermansia? How would I know?

Akkermansia muciniphila is a bacterium that naturally resides in the human gut and is associated with various health benefits, including maintaining the integrity of the gut lining and influencing metabolism. 

Higher levels of Akkermansia are usually associated with better health. There isn't a clearly defined upper limit for Akkermansia levels, and it's not clear whether having "too much" Akkermansia is a concern. Like many aspects of the microbiome, balance and diversity are generally considered important for overall gut health.

If you have concerns about your gut microbiota, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare provider, such as a registered dietitian or gastroenterologist. They can provide personalized advice based on your health status, medical history, and any specific concerns you may have. 

What’s the best way to take Akkermansia to make sure I’m getting the most benefits?

If you’re just starting out with taking Akkermansia and are experiencing GI issues, you can start with taking one capsule every other day for the first few weeks, building up to one capsule every day.

It’s also important to eat a diet rich in fiber and polyphenols to support the Akkermansia (and other beneficial bacteria) in your gut. This helps Akkermansia thrive.

I’m taking Akkermansia but recent GI testing shows my levels are very low. Why isn’t the Akkermansia absorbed into my gut microbiome?

True, taking Akkermansia will re-introduce this keystone strain into the gut. However, this effort is futile without prebiotics, which feed the bacteria and ensure that they flourish. Pendulum Akkermansia is formulated with chicory inulin which acts as a prebiotic for the Akkermansia. We also recommend eating a diet rich in fiber to feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut so they can thrive.

Why is there chicory inulin in some of your probiotics?

Chicory inulin is included in some probiotics as a prebiotic fiber. Prebiotics are substances that promote the growth and activity of beneficial microorganisms, such as probiotics, in the gut. In the case of chicory inulin, it serves as a prebiotic because it is a type of soluble fiber that resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the colon mostly intact.

Once in the colon, chicory inulin becomes a food source for beneficial bacteria, including various strains of probiotics. This helps stimulate the growth and activity of these beneficial microorganisms, enhancing the overall balance of the gut microbiota. By providing a nourishing environment for probiotics, chicory inulin can support their colonization and function in the gut, contributing to improved digestive health and overall well-being.

Including prebiotics like chicory inulin in probiotic supplements is a strategy to optimize the effectiveness of probiotics by creating a favorable environment for their growth and activity in the digestive system.

So there you have it–some of our most common questions, answered! For even more info, please check out our help section, or reach out to our Customer Care team for even more answers. When it comes to your health, we’ve got your back (and your gut!).


Content is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Statements and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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