What are probiotics?
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that like to live in your body. These guys are the ultimate house guest, in gracious exchange for the accommodation, they do all sorts of clever things.

What are the benefits of probiotics?
There is oodles if research out there on what puts the pro in probiotics. These are some seriously busy little bees. We can start by saying they simply help you to digesting food. On top of this, they do more complicated tasks like:
- improving overall immunity
- managing allergy responses
- helping your genes to express themselves in more positive ways
- play a role in weight management
- May assist blood pressure normalisation
- Are of benefit in anxiety and depression... and much more! Suffice to say, a broad spectrum ‘maintaining optimal health’ would summarise their skill set nicely.

What is the best time of day to take a probiotic?
The short answer is, regularly! The longer answer is.... This depends on the form you are taking it in. For an easy to use powder like PONO the best time is first thing in the morning either 15-20 minutes before you have any food or with your first meal of the day. Extra points if this is one containing a good quality fat in it, recent research has suggested that consuming probiotics with healthy fats ensures that more of them reach their destination of choice (your gut.)

A great example of a probiotic friendly breakfast would be to stir some into your smoothie, have it mixed in a chia pudding or simply sprinkle on top of coconut yogurt. In a hurry, you could take your daily dose in a large glass of water and grab and go some fruit... just please take away from coffee (20 minutes will do it.)

How long should I take a probiotic?
You can take probiotics daily to maintain good health and may choose to increase your dose in times of stress or illness, especially when antibiotics are involved. So feel free to keep adding those friendliest on the daily!

Tell me more about taking probiotics with antibiotics?
The clue is in their names: Anti vs pro. Remove vs repopulate. Taking an antibiotic can be necessary and help you feel MUCH better when you’re unwell because antibiotics are great at killing bad bacteria. Unfortunately the good guys get wiped out as well! So this is the right time to up your probiotic dose and allow that balance to return. A good quality broad spectrum probiotic is a great fit here, something with more than one strain so as to boost that all importance balance (ahem, such as PONO.)

Well, probiotics officially sound awesome. Any downsides?
When you have the balance right for YOUR body, there are no downsides. That said, different strains of bacteria have different strengths and it pays to know how these fit with your reasons for taking a probiotic in the first place (since they’re such epic multitaskers.) The idea is all about balance. PONO is a broad spectrum probiotic, meaning we include a bunch of the body’s favourite heavy hitters to ensure that balance is maintained. So if you experience symptoms such as bloating, gas or flatulence when you start taking a probiotic, may like to drop your dose and begin more gently.  If symptoms continue, check in with your health practitioner to confirm the balance is right for you.

Do probiotics need to be refrigerated?
For such a productive bunch, it’s no surprise that probiotic just want to get down to business and do ALL THE THINGS. Which is why we like to keep them nice and cold till the timing is right. This is because cold air contains less moisture and is not the ideal temperature range for the bacteria to thrive, so they just wait (or ‘lie dormant’) till the weather improves in their world and you add them to something delicious! What patient little friendlies.

There is a downside here though: these babies do not like change - temperature change that is. So once opened, please keep them in the fridge. Not in the freezer, not on the bench and don’t add them to anything warmer than... warm. They won’t appreciate it.

Should everyone use a probiotic?
Because probiotics are so versatile, we think they’re for everybody. Your body NEEDS good bacteria to thrive! You are actually consuming some levels of probiotics just in your diet. Supplementing will help boost these levels and if you check back to all those health promoting things they do, you can see why so many of us love them.

What are prebiotics?
Prebiotics are the food that probiotics love to be nourished with. They help probiotics to grow, thrive and be their best selves for your body. Non-digestible fibre - one of the most common forms of probiotic - is also great for keeping your bowel regular and healthy. Winner winner! You don’t need to take a prebiotic to make your probiotics work, but it definitely helps.

What is the best time of day to take a prebiotic?
Again, as long as this happens regularly we’re happy! Prebiotics exist in your everyday life already, so it makes sense to add them to your diet regularly and often.

Should I take a probiotic and prebiotic at the same time?
You can definitely do this. This is called microbiome therapy and is a great way of providing longer term digestive and immune support.
Jen Cox - AdvDip NAT + WHM.
Jen is the Naturopath at Greene Street Juice. She creates things: mostly content and recipes, though twice now she’s managed to build lovely little boys.