Can Probiotics Survive Stomach Acid?
Many people have asked themselves: Do probiotics survive stomach acid? The answer to this question is not necessarily yes, but it can certainly depend on the species of bacteria and the amount you’re consuming.
You may wonder if spending money on probiotics is a good investment for gut health or if it is a waste of money on a product that cannot survive long enough to reach the gut alive. Read on to find out the real story.
The recent worries over the survivability of probiotics in the stomach were based on one small study in the UK in 2014. The study tested 8 probiotic products and discovered only one survived gut acidity to enter the intestines. Eight products in today’s market is a minuscule sampling of all the products out there in the market.
What the test seems to indicate is that only certain probiotic strains are able to survive the acidic conditions of the stomach while others may not.
How To Tell The Good From Bad
PH testing during the development phase of probiotics by the manufacturer should reveal which bacteria strains can survive the harsh acidity of the stomach. Proper testing beforehand should reveal which strains will fare in the stomach, and then on exposure to the bile acids in the upper portion of the GI tract.
However, the exact stomach pH changes constantly, dependent on the time and whether you have food in your stomach. This is why some probiotics manufacturers recommend taking probiotics with breakfast each day, as stomach acid is at its weakest in the mornings. Your breakfast also further dilutes the food in your stomach.
Taking your probiotic supplements in the morning then gives the probiotics the best chance of survival and the ability to do its job.
Probiotic Capsule Coatings
Enteric coating is a special coating for medicine capsules that helps probiotics survive the rough trip through the stomach. Enteric coating is intended to remain intact in the stomach but to dissolve in the small intestine, and provides another option for ensuring probiotics survive to reach the gut alive. The enteric coating may not be necessary if the probiotic strains are robust enough to survive the trip through the stomach.
Does It Work For You?
Ultimately, the final arbiter of the effectiveness of a probiotic is you. Look for a highly rated product and test it yourself to see if the product works for you. Probiotics are a safe supplement and relatively inexpensive so doing your own mini-trials can help you find the perfect one for your needs.