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Ask Dr. Mike: Vitamin D Dosing & Taking Probiotics on an Empty Stomach

Guest : Mike Smith, MD
Summary: Listen in as Dr. Mike provides the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions.
Air Date: 9/2/15
Duration: 10
Host: Mike Smith, MD
Ask Dr. Mike: Vitamin D Dosing & Taking Probiotics on an Empty Stomach
Here you'll find the answers to a wealth of health and wellness questions posed by Healthy Talk fans.

Listen in because what you know helps ensure healthy choices you can live with. Today on Healthy Talk, you wanted to know:

It appears that the average stomach pH while empty is one to three (very acidic). Stomach pH with food is between a four and five. I often take probiotics on an empty stomach. This seems like the opposite of what you should do. If you want to put the probiotic in the least acidic stomach environment, you would think you would want to take them with food. Also, what do you think about taking probiotics with water as a higher pH?

One of the problems is as the live bacteria travels from your stomach to your small intestine, and ultimately in your colon, most of the probiotics won't survive. When you're taking a probiotic pill, you want to get as many as those bacteria in your colon alive. There's a huge debate on how to do that, and on whether you should take the probiotic with food or not.

It may seem like a good idea to take a probiotic with food, but you are decreasing transit time, which means that your probiotic pill will sit in your stomach longer than it should. So, Dr. Mike says it's best to take a probiotic on an empty stomach, since it will move faster through your digestive tract.

I've been a loyal Life Extension member for many years. I live in New York and have a question on whether I should be taking or not taking vitamin D to correspond to the seasons. I take vitamin D, K from October to May, but not in the summer because I get plenty of sun. In the late fall through early spring I would not be getting much vitamin D since New York is so far north. Is it going against nature to be artificially raising my vitamin D level during a period when it normally would not be so high? Should the vitamin D levels be lower or higher?

Dr. Mike says that you want to have consistent vitamin D levels throughout the year, no matter what the season is. Dr. Mike believes a normal range is between 50-70 and wants you at that level constantly. You might want to consider getting your vitamin D level tested at least once a year to see where your level is at, and base your vitamin D dosing on that level.

Dr. Mike also wants to point out that just because during the summer months there is natural sun, you shouldn't stop taking vitamin D. Many people make that mistake and think they only need it during months where it might not be as sunny.

Dr. Mike wants you taking that vitamin D dose every day.

If you have a health question or concern, Dr. Mike encourages you to write him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call in, toll-free, to the LIVE radio show (1.844.305.7800) so he can provide you with support and helpful advice.

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