How Fast Do Probiotics Work?

Hmm, how fast do probiotics work?

The answer is not exactly blowin’ in the wind, but then it’s not a PowerPoint slide either. In other words, there is no hard and fast rule.

First off, probiotics are not drugs. In the case of pharmaceuticals, doctors can pinpoint a time when the pills will kick in to alleviate pain or halt a fever. Many years of experience and billions of dollars in research deliver this information.

But probiotics are not so precise--yet.

In his excellent book, The Probiotics Revolutionimmunologist Gary Huffnagle writes that much depends on the specific issues you’re hoping to address. “Minor bowel problems tend to be alleviated pretty quickly,” he writes. “For example, if you use probiotics to counter antibiotic-associated diarrhea, you might see a difference in a day or two.” And with serious digestive disorders, Huffnagle continues, “you should see improvements within two weeks.” While his mold allergies took several weeks to subside, allergies to food improved more subtly.

Probiotics also prevent health problems.

You won’t know if probiotics protected you from flu or food poisoning, because you won’t have it. But you will notice over time: maybe you went the whole winter without a cold, or your allergies weren’t so severe this spring.

So,eat plenty of prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods and maybe take a supplement. But be patient: colonies aren't built in a day.