Do Probiotics Survive In The Stomach?

"Do probiotics survive in the stomach?" We get asked this question a lot.

As nourishing as probiotics can be for our body, their journey to the intestines can be rough - especially as they pass through the stomach. In fact, some studies show that 99% of non micro-shield (or free cell) probiotics can die off in the first 30 minutes of exposure to a low pH environment. This may have you questioning the benefits of probiotic supplementation.

The short answer? Probiotics are definitely worth it - though to ensure they’re surviving in the stomach and getting through to your gut, there are a few things you’ll need to remember when consuming them (hint: it's the reason we use micro-shield technology).

So, do probiotics survive in the stomach? In this article, we’ve covered everything you need to know about how stomach acid impacts the efficacy of your probiotic and what you should look for to counter this - take a look!



What Are Probiotics?

First things first - what are probiotics, exactly? Probiotics are live strains of bacteria that are consumed to support and nourish gut health. They’re often consumed through probiotic drinks, food, or supplements to rebalance gut bacteria, ease intestinal discomfort, treat diarrhoea, and support general wellbeing.

That being said, the benefits of probiotics extend far beyond gut health. Probiotics have also been said to support heart health, immunity, mental health, and more.

Though before a probiotic can offer these benefits, the bacteria will have to survive the journey through the stomach and reach your gut alive.


Do probiotics survive in the stomach?

So, do probiotics survive in the stomach? It all depends on the robustness, and protection of the probiotic you take.

Due to its low pH nature, stomach acid can kill probiotics and reduce their efficacy in the gut. As powerful as probiotics can be for our health and wellbeing, non micro-shield probiotics are often no match for stomach acid.

Live bacteria strains, such as lactobacillus casei, when not inside a micro-shield, can be very fragile in acidic (or low pH) environments such as the human stomach. This means that very few bacteria will actually survive the journey to the gut, creating little to no effect.

That being said, this doesn’t mean that you should lose faith in your probiotics. There are ways you can combat the effect that stomach acid has on your probiotic, whether it’s by taking your supplements at specific times or choosing a more effective probiotic.


How To Make Probiotics Work Better 

Want to learn how to make your probiotics work better? Below, we’ve listed 4 ways you can help your probiotics navigate through your stomach acid in one piece. Check it out! 


1. Targeted Release

When it comes to choosing a probiotic that is designed specifically to survive in the acidic stomach environment, look for one with a targeted release feature like PERKii.

So, what does ‘targeted release’ mean? Targeted release means that the good bacteria is protected against acidic, low pH environments inside a natural micro-shield. As the ‘targeted release’ probiotic travels through the stomach, this micro-shield actively resists stomach acids, and releases the probiotic when it reaches the gut.

This means more bacteria survive in the stomach and reach the intestines, making your probiotic much more effective, whether you take them with a meal, or on an empty stomach.


Probiotics travelling through the stomach


2. Take Them Regularly

This may sound simple, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to take their probiotics regularly. After all, you can’t expect to enjoy the full scope of your daily probiotics if you aren’t taking them every day.

Take lactobacillus casei for example. Independent studies have shown this particular strain may have beneficial effects in the gastrointestinal and immune areas when consumed daily over a period of 4-6 weeks, at a recommended daily intake of 1 billion colony forming units.

If you’re struggling to remember to take your probiotics, try setting a reminder on your phone - this is one of the easiest ways you can make your probiotics work better for you.


Lady with one hand up

3. Don’t Eat Beforehand

This is an important one if the probiotic you take isn’t micro-shielded, or you are looking to fully maximise probiotic absorption.

Taking your probiotics with food will cause it to sit in your stomach acid for longer, therefore, if the probiotic is unprotected, the low pH environment will kill off this good bacteria and reduce the amount that reaches your intestines.

To ensure that your probiotic moves through your gut as quickly as possible, try to consume your probiotics in between meals.


 4. Take Them On An Empty Stomach

The best time to take a probiotic is 30-minutes before a meal, on an empty stomach. Since you’re not digesting any food, the bacteria will be able to pass through your stomach much faster - allowing it to reach the gut with minimal damage. For better results, try taking your probiotic before eating breakfast or just before going to bed.


PERKii Probiotic Drinks

PERKii Probiotic Drinks

If you’re looking for an Australian probiotic brand that is equipped to resist stomach acid, we’d suggest getting your hands on PERKii's probiotic drinks.

What we love about these specific probiotics is their signature targeted release feature. The probiotic strain is coated with a micro-shield, designed to transport the bacteria through the stomach acid for a targeted release in the gut. The benefit with this technology is you can take it any time of day!

With the help of this micro-shield, these probiotics are 10,000 times more likely to survive in the stomach compared to a non-micro shield probiotic.Head to the online store now to browse our probiotic drinks range! 

*The information in this article is provided as advice only and is designed for those with no healthcare issues. Before adjusting your diet, speak with your healthcare professional. 

March 20, 2024