How Long Does It Take for Probiotics to Work?

  Reviewed
 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

SuperHumans are the toughest, fittest, healthiest and happiest human beings on this planet. My mission is to help you realize your superhuman potential and learn how to live a long, happy and healthy life.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’m a content organizer, fact-checker and super mom who ensures content is medically-reviewed, highly accurate, and engaging. My passion is organizing information and ensuring the facts are presented in a manner that is interesting and easy to understand.

how long does it take for probiotics to work

Probiotics have become the latest bandwagon that everyone seems to be jumping upon. With impressive health benefits such as improved digestive health, immune function, and mood, they have become the most popular form of supplement among all age groups.

However, probiotics aren’t any wonder medicine. They’re simply living microorganisms that help support a healthy gut microbiome. Therefore, the expectation of taking them and experiencing some magical results in no time is futile. Then “how long does it take for probiotics to work?”

Let’s find out together…

How Do Probiotics Work?

In order to know how long probiotics actually take to work, we first need to understand how probiotics work.

You might have heard earlier that your gut contains millions of bacteria. Well, that’s absolutely true. Other than that there are also millions of yeast and fungi living in your gut, both good and bad, called the gut microbiome.

Good microorganisms help the digestive process, regulate bowel movement and support the immune system. For our bodies to be healthy and function optimally, this ecosystem of good and bad bacteria living in our gut shouldn’t be disrupted.

Having more harmful bacteria than good can wreak havoc inside the body, in turn disrupting the normal functioning of the body. With the overgrowth of these bad bacteria, you might start experiencing digestive issues such as bloating, gas, constipation, and other health-related issues.

The condition in which there are more harmful bacteria in the body than good is called “dysbiosis.”

Probiotics are good bacteria that are taken in the form of food (especially fermented foods and drinks) or in the form of supplements to help rebalance and strengthen the gut microbiome. This improves all the issues associated with dysbiosis (the imbalance between good and bad bacteria). 

Why Your Probiotic May or May Not Work?

The thing with probiotics is that they may or may not work for everyone. Health, age, gene makeup, diet, and the bacteria already existing in your body are all factors upon which it depends on how effective probiotics will be.

woman in sportswear drinking water

A few common reasons why your probiotics might not work are mentioned below:

Small Dosage: If you’re taking a small dosage, meaning too few CFUs, then there’s a high possibility that you might not notice any significant result.

Wrong Strain: Not all probiotic strains work for every symptom, so it’s important to find a probiotic supplement with the right strain. Also, it’s required for you to make sure you choose the right product with a clinically studied and proven strain.

Wrong Consumption: If your probiotic isn’t working, then there’s also a high possibility that you’re taking it the wrong way. It’s important that you follow the directions on the label of the product on how to take it (timing, with food, or empty stomach).

Storage Issues: Probiotics are live cultures, so proper storage of the product is very crucial to its effectiveness. Heat, light, or humidity might negatively affect the supplement quality sometimes. Many probiotics also require refrigeration.

Poor Quality: Probiotics have to go through a long journey before finally reaching your intestine and offering the stated health benefits. Starting from manufacturing, and storage, to sometimes shipment, and finally fighting with your stomach acid, it’s a lot to take. Especially when probiotics are fragile supplements with live culture inside.

Signs That Your Probiotics Are Effective

When you first start taking probiotics, then it might be difficult for you to figure out whether they’re actually working at all for you or not. Therefore, here are a few common signs that can help you make out a difference:

Better Digestion

Poor digestion is the most common symptom of poor gut health. An imbalance of gut bacteria causes a lot of gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea, etc.

If the probiotic supplement you’re taking is working, then you’ll be able to tell the difference as all of these issues start to be resolved. Regular poop is one obvious sign that your probiotics are effectively restoring healthy gut bacteria levels.

Better Immunity

An imbalanced gut microbiome not only gives an invitation to an array of digestive issues but other health-related issues as well. The reason is that 70% of immune cells are in the gut of our body. This is why people with an imbalanced gut bacterium fall ill frequently.

happy women on a sunflower field

If the probiotics are doing their job well, then the immune system would also start to repair and work effectively. This means you’ll fall ill less often than before, along with eventually improving digestive issues.

Better Mood

It’s pretty much obvious that with persisting overall health and digestive issues, no one can feel uplifted.

However, the relationship between our mood and poor gut health isn’t only this. Research shows that our gut is particularly involved in producing hormones that are linked with mood and sleep. Thus, an unhealthy gut would lead to sleep disturbances and mood changes. On the other hand, if probiotics are working, then you might start experiencing fewer mood swings and healthier sleeping patterns.

Vaginal Health

A healthy gut is also associated with good vaginal health and fewer yeast infections. Yeast infections are caused due to excess yeast bacteria in the vagina. If the probiotic works, then the vaginal bacteria levels tip back to equilibrium, which means fewer yeast infections.

Clear Skin

A healthy gut also means fewer occurrences of skin issues such as acne, eczema, inflammation, and rosacea. This is because probiotics also support healthy skin microbiomes, and a healthy skin microbiome means fewer skin problems.

How To Tell if a Probiotic Is Effective for You

If you’re taking your probiotic supplement regularly, but are still curious to know whether or not it’s working, then you can monitor its effectiveness using this method. Keep a written record of your symptoms. This will help you figure out your progress.

List Your Symptoms

If you’re taking probiotics for any digestive or overall health-related issues such as constipation, bloating, fatigue, joint pain, or depression, jot them down. Make a written record of the frequency and severity of any such symptoms.

After 3-4 Weeks on the Probiotic Protocol, Reevaluate Symptoms

Post 3-4 weeks on your probiotic protocol reevaluate symptoms by comparing them with the frequency and severity when you started. If you see any signs of improvement, keep on with the probiotic protocol.

smiling woman holding pills and glass of water on her hands

Note that any expectation of getting all your issues completely resolved in this span is futile. The purpose is to clearly notice any improvement.

Keep an Eye Out for When You’ve Reached Your Peak Improvement

When you reach your peak or plateau, note that down. Now keep this up for the next four weeks. This will help your body integrate and lock in this good health. 

Try to Gradually Determine the Lowest Effective Dose

After the constant four weeks, cut your dose of probiotics in half. Later, reevaluate after another 3-4 weeks’ time. If everything goes well with cutting off your dose, then you can wean off your probiotics completely, as you may not want to rely on them forever. 

If your symptoms reappear, then you can get back on the probiotics and try quitting again after a few months. However, probiotics are considered safe even when used for a long period of time. Therefore, you can even decide to consistently be on them if you feel better.

What Should You Do if Probiotics Don’t Work?

In the case of taking a quality probiotic supplement and monitoring your progress, if it still turns out that your symptoms aren’t improving at all, then you don’t really require trying another product. You might require antibacterial treatments as some people have stubborn disbalance in their intestinal bacteria. Selecting any antibiotics or herbs might help in such cases.

The good news for you here is that probiotics lay a strong foundation for antibacterial treatments. This means that your probiotic treatment can make the other gut therapies that you opt for more effective. Often, healthcare physicians even start with probiotics before considering other treatments.

What Are the Effects of Taking Too Many Probiotics?

Given that your gut microbiome already consists of billions of bacteria, probiotics wouldn’t do any harm. Generally, taking probiotics is considered safe, even for a long period of time and in large doses.

It’s less likely for healthy people to overdose on prebiotics. However, if so, then the most common sign or side effect is digestive discomfort. This is because if the good bacteria in your body are in excess of what your body requires, then they’ll simply be thrown out of the body via bowel movement. 

different supplements on a person's palm

It’s a myth that there can be some serious risks associated with taking too many probiotics. Here are some other myths about probiotics you should be aware of. But you can still occasionally experience side effects such as gas, nausea, bloating, or diarrhea with too many probiotics.

Having said that, probiotics are still not for everyone out there. People with weak immune systems and some serious health issues are often advised to avoid probiotics. They can cause some side effects, including infection in such individuals. Thus, in such cases, it is always recommended to seek permission from your doctor before taking any supplement. 

How Often Should You Take Probiotics?

To be frank, there’s no fixed probiotics dosage for adults as research on the topic is still in advanced stages. Generally, one dose of probiotics a day is considered effective. You can either take your daily dose of probiotics in the form of a supplement or get it from food sources.

In the case of taking food rich in probiotics, you can plan one meal or snack to reach your daily dosage. Once you get used to your probiotic routine, you’ll get a clue on when should probiotics be taken during the day to best support your body and digestive health.

On the other hand, if you’re taking supplements, then one or two doses per day are enough. It’s also important to note that research shows that one size doesn’t fit all here. Depending upon your symptoms, gut health, probiotic strains, and CFUs, the dose might vary for different individuals. 

Questions You Would Most Likely Want To Ask Us About Probiotics

How Long Does It Take To See the Effects of Probiotics?

When we talk about the effectiveness of probiotics, there are different factors, such as the product formula, microbe strains, and your health condition, that come into play. Based upon all such factors, an individual’s symptoms may take a few weeks to a few months to improve.

In general, for most people, it takes somewhere between 2 and 3 weeks before they start noticing some visible results. If you’re taking a high-quality supplement with multispecies and multi-strains then you may also see results with minor issues within the initial 1-2 weeks.

Although, with more complicated issues such as reduction in inflammation, weight loss, or improvement in mood, it might even take 4-8 weeks to be evident.

How Do You Know if Probiotics Are Working?

If you are feeling improvement in your existing symptoms, then it’s a tell-tale sign that your probiotics are working.

pink alarm clock

Here are the most common signs probiotics are working:

  • Clearer skin
  • Stable mood
  • Improved sleep
  • Better digestion
  • Increased energy
  • Improved immunity
  • Fewer yeast infections
  • Reduced bloating and gas
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Increased cognitive function
  • Reduction in abdominal discomfort and pain

How Long Does It Take For Probiotics To Heal Your Gut?

As we have mentioned earlier, there’s no fixed timeline for probiotics to work as everyone is unique with unique body composition and different needs. In order for some small issues to be resolved, it might take a couple of days or months for some serious health-related concerns.

Taking an individual’s gut health as well as the quantity and quality of the supplement into consideration, the time limit can extensively vary. However, when we are talking about healing the gut, probiotics can’t bring an instant effect on anyone. It takes time to build healthy bacteria and flush out excessive harmful bacteria from the body and maintain equilibrium.

Thus, it may take 1-2 months up to 6 months with regular intake of probiotics supported by other healthy habits. Furthermore, to maintain a healthy microbiome, one would need to adopt this healthy lifestyle. Also, it’s important to consider that in some cases, the probiotic may not work at all.

What Happens to Your Body When You Start Taking Probiotics?

When you first start taking probiotics, there’s a high possibility that you may experience some minor digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhea, or gas. It’s because of the changes happening in the gut microbiota of your body.

There’s no need to worry as these adverse effects don’t last for long. They clear up mostly within a few days or weeks as your body gets adjusted to probiotics. As a starting point, you should take a low dosage and gradually increase the dose as your body gets time to adjust. 

Note that if your symptoms persist for a longer period of time, do reach out to your healthcare provider for advice.

Conclusion

If you ever wondered “do probiotics work right away” then we are sure by now you know the answer!

Probiotics naturally improve your gut health by improving your gut microbiome, which is a time-consuming process. But there are several digestives as well as overall health benefits associated with a healthy gut. Thus, it makes complete sense to give probiotics a try if you haven’t yet. Moreover, probiotics are especially beneficial for women over 50.

Here’s a list of the 10 best probiotics for over 50 women for you to check out.

All said and done, you can also look forward to our product Optima Healthy Gut Solution, designed especially to achieve optimal gut health and offer some other amazing health benefits.

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