These are questions I get regularly from my readers regarding natural healing:

  • What do you do if some of your supplements are not compatible with each other?
  • How do you figure out when to take all your different supplements when some of them need to be consumed on an empty stomach?

The trickiest supplements for everyone to schedule are probiotics vs. anti-pathogen agents like wild oregano oil. Here are the shortcut rules to keep in mind for these two substances:

1. Probiotics have to be taken completely on their own – 2 hours away from any antibiotic or anti-pathogen (this includes wild oregano, potentized garlic, olive leaf, etc) and 20 minutes before food, or 2 hours after food.

2. Wild oregano oil is best taken on an empty stomach, but can be combined with any healing type of substance that also requires an empty stomach – like aloe vera, MucosaHeal, slippery elm, marshmallow root etc. It needs to be taken 20 minutes before food, or 2 hours after food.

Note: Immune booster herbs like astragalus and maitake are best on an empty stomach, but away from probiotics. They can be taken together with wild oregano, aloe vera, MucosaHeal, etc. And they don’t NEED to be on an empty stomach, they are just more potent that way.

Here are some tips to help you figure out your supplement schedule:

  • Take the supplements that are absorbed the fastest, first.
  • If a supplement does not specify that it needs to be consumed on an empty stomach, then it’s probably okay to take it together with other substances.
  • If a supplement is recommended to be taken on an empty stomach, is it because the empty stomach is a pre-requisite for adequate absorption? Or, is it because it’s a substance that needs to have a clear surface to apply it’s healing properties? Supplements like slippery elm, aloe vera juice, and marshmallow root fit into the latter category and therefore can easily be taken together – since they’re all trying to accomplish the same thing.

You can also download this daily supplement schedule I developed for people on The IBD Remission Diet, since it gives you a specific break-down of how to work in all the shakes and supplements throughout the day.

Supplements for Colitis

Now that you know the basic guidelines, let’s take a look at an example below so you can see how this plays out in real life. Read on to see correspondence between myself and K, which demonstrates how sometimes you have to experiment to determine the best schedule to achieve maximum potency and effectiveness from your supplements.

K suffers from colitis, so she needs to take the following supplements to repopulate her gut with good bacteria, relieve gas, bloating and diarrhea, eliminate heartburn, and heal the mucosal lining of her intestines:

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Hi Jini,

I Need some help, I’m confused. Perhaps you could share your schedule of how you took or take your supplements. How far apart (time limit) should the following be taken from each other?

1. Natren’s probiotics and Psyllium?
2. Natren’s probiotocs and DGL?
3. Natren’s probiotics and L. Glutamine, NAG &
Slippery Elm( these 3 taken together) ?
4. Natren’s probiotics and George’s Aloe Vera Juice?
5. Psyllium and vitamins & minerals?

The problem I am experiencing is that I take:

1. Natren’s 3 time a day (A.M, NOON & P.M-bedtime)
2. Psyllium twice a day (AM & NOON best if taken before meals??)
3. DGL before or after each meal
4. L. Glutamine, NAG & Slippery Elm 3 times a day on empty stomach
5. Aloe Vera Juice juice before retiring for the night
6. Vitamins & minerals three times a day

My concern is that Natren’s states on their bottle that any herbs (DGL, Slippery Elm, aloe vera juice) should be taken at least 2 hours apart from their probiotics. I can only assume that herbs may kill the good bacteria in Natrens.

I hope that you can see my dilemma. I follow the Minimize Gas & Bloating Diet and it will be one year in Sept. that I am Colitis free. I’ve improved my bones from osteoporosis to osteopena. Your book “Listen to Your Gut” has been a God send. Any input you
can pass along will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Jini for all you do for us.

Warm Wishes,
K.B. Canada

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Dear K.,

Congratulations on your wonderful progress! I think you’ll also see some really good results from Jini’s Wild Oregano Oil Protocol. Also, you can speed up your bone-building even faster if you use nanoparticle-sized minerals – my whole family takes these now and for your condition you would definitely benefit from both the Trace Minerals and the Bone Support. Here are my suggestions in response to your questions:

Keep in mind that our food can contain many natural antibacterials (like garlic, onions, etc.) and Natren has had to set a time limit that applies to a wide variety of substances at all strengths/potencies. For example, if you’re taking Wild Oregano Oil or Olive Leaf, then you definitely cannot consume the probiotics sooner than 2 hours as you’d be wasting your money, however, other supplements (and foods) are far less potent against bacteria. Therefore, you may be okay to implement the following schedule:

Before a meal:
take the Natren Probiotics
wait 20 minutes
then take the NAG, L-Glutamine, Slippery elm and psyllium (in that order – you’re taking the most rapidly absorbed substances first) after the meal take the DGL

Before bed:
take the Natren probiotics
wait 20 minutes
then take the George’s aloe vera juice

OR

You may want to try this schedule:

Before each meal:
take the NAG, L-Glutamine, George’s aloe vera juice, Slippery elm and psyllium (in that order – you’re taking the most rapidly absorbed substances first) after the meal take the DGL (or in this case, you can also take it before the meal, if you prefer, since you’re not consuming the probiotics at this time)

Before bed:
Take 1 – 2 teaspoons of each Natren probiotic (Megadophilus, Bifido Factor, Bulgaricus)

Perhaps you may want to experiment with both schedules and see which one gives you better results. The Natren probiotics may work better for you in multiple doses and may not be affected much by the other supplements, or, they may work better taken on their own in a large dose. A good way is to test both and see which one works best.

The reason people need to experiment with their supplements is because everyone’s body and condition (or pathology) are different. Some people are highly sensitive and responsive to certain supplements and not to others. Some people need aggressive supplementation no matter which herb it is, whilst others are highly sensitive to all supplements.

When you’re dealing with a supplement like high-potency probiotics, for example, some people’s bodies respond most favorably when they’re taken in powder form on an empty stomach. Other bodies prefer controlled-release capsule probiotics taken with food. Again, the only way to find out is to experiment.

You’ll also get a ‘gut feeling’ as to which supplements you should take and when. Our own body wisdom trumps any supplement instruction sheet, so definitely follow your intuition first. If you’re skilled at listening to your gut, or following your intuition, you can ask your body directly when and how it wants the supplement. Either place your hand over your gut, whilst holding the supplement in your other hand, and ask. Or, place the palm of your hand above the supplement and wait for guidance. This is how some medicine women/men receive plant wisdom. They simply hold their hand above the plant and the knowledge flows into them about how to prepare the plant, which parts to use and how to take it.

If you’re not quite at that level of fluency with your body wisdom, then in the meantime, follow the supplement scheduling tips above, combine it with your own intuition, and experiment.

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Hi Jini,

Thank you for the two schedule suggestions, this clears up my confusion. I’m confident that I’ll have better results from my supplements now that I have a clear understanding of how to take them. I tell my husband I have two Bibles, one to save my soul and one to save my gut. Thanks for your wonderful support, God Bless.

Regards, K.
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Make Sure You’re Not Ingesting Harmful Supplements

One last thing to watch out for is that you’re not ingesting drugs (or sometimes even natural supplements) that are damaging or aggravating the body at the same time. If you suspect this is the case, check that your supplements do NOT contain:

      • Betaine HCL
      • MSM (although topical – transdermal – application should be fine)
      • FOS (fructooligosaccharides)
      • Inulin

All of these natural substances are seriously aggravating for people with IBS and IBD. This same caution applies to food allergies. If you are periodically ingesting some food or drink item that creates inflammation (due to allergy or intolerance), then each time you are sabotaging the foundational healing of your body and setting yourself back.

And remember, the top supplements that cause diarrhea in susceptible people are:

      • Magnesium (unless in nanoparticle or transdermal form)
      • Any herb that promotes a “cleansing” action – for this reason you need to be very careful with combination remedies, or Chinese, or Ayurvedic remedies
      • Xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol and any other sugar alcohols
      • Liver support herbs – because the liver is going to cleanse toxins through the bowels. So don’t use if you have severe diarrhea, for mild diarrhea, you may be okay to use these in combination with a stool bulking agent (which is also an intestinal “broom”) like 1 tbsp. sprouted flax and chia powder (available locally and online at various sites; you may have to purchase the two powders separately) along with 1/2 tsp. bentonite clay. NOTE: You cannot use these remedies if you are on an exclusively elemental diet – only if you are combining Absorb Plus with regular foods..

Also, read the list of ‘side-effects’ for any drugs you’re taking (including drugs you’re taking for other problems) and make sure your symptom(s) is not listed as a drug ‘side effect’.

Visit our Listen to Your Gut Shoppe to find out which supplements I recommend and to learn more about them – you don’t need to order from there, just use it as a resource to find out which brands I recommend and why, then you can write them down and have your local health store order them in for you.

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Original post March 2010. Most recently updated November 2019.