L. Reuteri NCIMB 30242 has several unique benefits like supporting optimal cholesterol and vitamin D levels, but how you take it can make a big difference. This step-by-step science-based guide will help you get the most out of supplementation so that you can feel at your best.
Understand the Main Factors
Probiotics act in the colon, so they have a long way to go from the moment you pop a pill.
Many factors can affect if probiotics will make it to your colon or degrade beforehand. These include factors related to:
A. Probiotic strain and formulation
Probiotics are wired to survive in your colon (pH 6 to 7), so they usually don’t do well in an acidic environment.
Our probiotic has been clinically researched for resisting stomach acid and comes in delayed-release capsules, so you don’t have to worry about this part.
Scientists developed L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 to be more tolerant to the hostile environment of the gastrointestinal tract. Our strain can increase its own survival by detoxing bile acids (being bile salt hydrolase (BSH) active). Microencapsulation ensures that freed bile acids get cleared from the body with no negative effects (Del Piano et al., 2011; Begley et al., 2006; Jones et al., 2004; Kurdi et al., 2000).
B. Your gut and its contents
This factor depends on whether you take probiotics on an empty stomach or with meals, and what you’re eating in general. The good news is that you can control factors related to your gut to get optimal benefits.
Image taken from Han et al., 2021
1. Recommended Dosage & Timing
The dosage of Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 used in clinical trials was 2.9×10⁹ CFU per capsule, twice daily (Jones et al., 2012).
Our L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 contains 3.5×10⁹ CFU per capsule. This is 21% more than the clinically researched dosage, which ensures you get the right amount of probiotics just in case some live bacteria are lost before they reach your colon.
We recommend taking two capsules per day to achieve optimal results.
2. Take Shortly Before or with Light Meals
Getting past the wrong advice
Gastrointestinal transit is how long it takes for probiotics to reach your colon from the moment you ingest them. This can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours (Han et al., 2021).
The typical advice is to take probiotics on an empty stomach because food slows down their transit—that’s what most companies and blog posts will tell you. And it’s wrong!
Here’s why: food helps probiotics survive by neutralizing stomach acid. Exposure to more concentrated stomach acid (low stomach pH) can kill probiotics before they even make it to the intestine. It’s a bigger factor than transit time (Tompkins et al., 2011; Del Piano et al., 2011).
Don’t take on an empty stomach or after meals
Recent studies on non-enteric coated probiotics showed that (Tompkins et al., 2011):
- Most live bacteria survive when probiotic capsules were given with a light meal (cooked oatmeal with milk) or 30 minutes before
- Probiotics given 30 minutes after the meal did not survive in high numbers
- Survival in milk with 1% fat and oatmeal-milk gruel was better than apple juice or spring water
- The protein content of the meal was not as important
Also, since Lactobacillus probiotics need glucose in an acidic environment like the stomach, they seem to survive better when taken alongside carbs (Corcoran et al., 2005).
Our probiotic is more likely to survive an empty stomach than other commercially available strains and formulations. However, taking it on an empty stomach isn’t ideal.
We recommend taking L. Reuteri NCIMB 30242 shortly before or with a high-carb light meal (containing >1% fat) to boost survivability and bypass the harmful effects of stomach acid.
Skip heavy meals
It can take a long time to digest heavy meals. Heavy food strongly increases stomach acid, bile acids, and digestive enzymes. Four to five hours can pass before the contents of heavy meals reach the colon, so even delayed-release capsules may free the probiotic too early.
For the best results, don’t take our probiotic capsules with or several hours after heavy meals.
3. Get Enough Prebiotic Fiber
Prebiotic fiber boosts the benefits of probiotics, makes live bacteria more tolerant to stomach acid, and supports the growth of a diverse gut microbiome in the colon (Markowiak & Śliżewska, 2017).
Consider FOS prebiotics
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are a type of fiber that exists in about 36,000 plants. It has been researched for enhancing the benefits of probiotics in the large intestine (Mao et al., 2018).
Since the concentration of FOS in plants is too low to have prebiotic effects, you need to supplement to get results (Davani-Davari et al., 2019).
Microbiome Plus+ prebiotic tablets contain 600 mg of concentrated short-chain fructooligosaccharides (scFOS). We recommend taking our fiber supplement at the same time as the probiotic.
Increase prebiotic foods
- Fruits (bananas, apples, mangos)
- Vegetables (asparagus, chicory, leafy greens, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, onion)
- Grains (oats, barley, and rye)
- Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, chia, flaxseeds, hazelnuts, hemp seeds)
- Legumes and plant protein (soybean, peas, and beans)
- Seaweeds and microalgae
Resistant starch is similar to prebiotic fiber and is another great addition to a diet that boosts probiotic effectiveness and microbiome diversity (Singh et al., 2019).
Here are some examples of light meals packed with prebiotics:
- Oats with chia seeds, bananas, and blueberries (in coconut, almond, or regular milk)
- Salad with baby spinach, arugula, almonds, apples, cranberries, and dried seaweed
We recommend taking L. Reuteri NCIMB 30242 up to half an hour before light, prebiotic-rich meals.
4. Up Other Beneficial Foods
Healthy fats to overcome colonization resistance
After all these efforts to help probiotics reach your colon, there’s one last question: how can you get the probiotic to stay there?
Colonization resistance is when bacteria indigenous to your colon reject the new probiotic strain. It’s a big and common problem, and if it happens, the supplemented probiotic is removed with the stool without achieving its benefits (Yao et al., 2020; Zmora et al., 2018).
Preliminary studies suggest that the following dietary compounds may help:
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Wild-caught fish is rich in omega-3 PUFAs. Plant-based sources of PUFAs include walnut, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds. These beneficial fats also have anti-inflammatory and heart-protective properties that work in synergy with our probiotic.
It’s best to take L. Reuteri NCIMB 30242 about half an hour up to several hours before a meal with moderate amounts of these healthy fats.
Medicinal foods to boost microbial diversity
Consider adding the following dietary compounds to your diet or supplement regime to help boost the benefits of our probiotic:
- Olive oil
- Medicinal mushrooms
Olive oil is a nutritious fat that promotes intestinal health and increases the diversity of the gut microbiome. Extra virgin olive oil is an especially good choice for people with high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and heart disease (Marcelino et al., 2019).
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in the spice turmeric. Aside from being one of the best-researched natural anti-inflammatories, curcumin helps restore gut microbiome balance. Curcumin boosts the growth of beneficial probiotics while reducing the number of pathogenic gut bacteria. Plus, it helps strengthen the gut barrier, which might be helpful for people with leaky gut (Scazzocchio et al., 2020; Di Meo et al., 2019).
You can get curcumin from food or take supplements.
Lastly, edible medicinal mushrooms help balance and enrich the gut microbiome. Mushrooms act as prebiotics and are rich in immune-boosting active compounds. Some sources include Lion’s mane, reishi, shiitake, maitake, turkey tail, and others (Jayachandran et al., 2017; Diling et al., 2017).
5. Avoid Microbiome Disruptors
- Trans fats (margarine, deep-fried foods, non-dairy coffee creamer)
- Processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Too much red meat
- Sugars in excess
- Alcohol in excess
In a nutshell, these foods reduce the effectiveness of probiotic supplementation, cause gut dysbiosis, and negatively affect your heart, immune, and overall health.
Some drugs and environmental toxins can also act as microbiome disruptors, including antibiotics, hormones, cigarettes, and many chemicals (dioxins, pesticides, pyrethroids, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), flame retardants, plasticizers) (Ramirez et al., 2020; Aguilera et al., 2020).
If you’re worried about drug interactions and side effects, be sure to discuss your concerns with your care provider.
6. Track Your Results
How long does it take for L. Reuteri NCIMB 30242 to work?
The time it will take for you to experience the health benefits of supplementation is individual.
The Unique Benefits of L. Reuteri NCIMB 30242
Read more about the unique benefits of our probiotic:
- Summary of all clinical studies
- Support for heart health & cholesterol
- Unique benefits for cholesterol hyperabsorbers
- Boosting & synergizing with vitamin D
- Immune benefits
Ana Aleksic, MSc Pharm
Ana is an integrative pharmacist and scientist with many years of medical writing, clinical research, and health advising experience. She loves communicating science and empowering people to achieve their optimal health. Ana has edited 800+ and written 150+ posts, some of which reached over 1 million people. Her specialties are natural remedies, women’s health, and mental health. She is also a birth doula and a strong advocate of bridging scientific knowledge with holistic medicine.