It is well known that the air pressure in an aeroplane cabin can have negative effects on the human body.

What is less well known is that this also has a negative effect on your digestion. Therefore, knowing whether air cabin pressure on probiotics makes them less effective or not is essential before you travel.

In this blog, we examine what effects air cabin pressure have on your probiotics and your digestion.

It is important to take precautions when travelling with probiotics. Air cabin pressure can cause the bacteria in your stomach and intestines to die before they reach their destination, which will lead you to feel sick or even worse. To avoid this problem, try taking a probiotic supplement that contains “live” cultures instead of capsules.

Air travel can be tough on your digestive system

The air pressure and recycled air in aeroplanes can be harsh on your gut, leading to problems like constipation, diarrhea, and nausea.

This is because the air pressure in an aeroplane can be up to six times higher than the atmospheric pressure at sea level. This high pressure at 35,000 ft can prevent gas and fluid from passing through the intestines, which can lead to constipation.

The air pressure can also cause problems with probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are found in the gut. They can help to improve digestion and boost the immune system.

However, the high air pressure in an aeroplane can kill probiotics before they reach their target destination in the gut due to the high pressure within the cabin. As a result, you may not get the full benefit of taking a probiotic supplement while travelling. See below for our recommendations.

Does air pressure affect my probiotics?

The jury is still out on whether it’s safe to take probiotics on a plane.

Some people believe that the change in air pressure can cause the probiotics to die, while others maintain that they are safe to take as long as they are kept in their original packaging and refrigerated.

While the verdict is still out on this debate, here are some precautions you can take to ensure your probiotics remain viable upon arrival.

Some of us are aware that air pressure can affect our ears and sinuses, but did you know it can also affect your probiotics? 

Probiotics need to be stored in a refrigerator or freezer unless specifically labelled otherwise.

Always read the label

If the temperature is too high (over 40 degrees) then they will die when exposed to heat for long periods of time. Heat denatures proteins in probiotic bacteria which makes them ineffective and unable to colonize. This means if you leave your probiotics on a shelf near a heater, they could lose their beneficial properties before you take them! A good idea would be to store them next to other frozen food items like ice cream so they don’t get lost on the bottom shelf.

If this sounds like something that has happened to you, then the good news is that if you keep your probiotics in the freezer, they can last indefinitely. So you don’t need to feel like you’ve lost your money for no reason.

Think of it as an added bonus; our bodies are much better at absorbing nutrients from fresh foods than those that have sat on a shelf for weeks or months, so you may even experience better results than before. This is because by the time your probiotics reach your gut, they’re still in their natural state which has likely changed after months of storage.

A second way that air pressure can affect your probiotics is if you travel to another country or continent with different air pressure to where you live. The probiotics you take should adapt to your new air pressure within a few hours, but it may take a few days before they fully adjust. If you plan to be out of the country for more than a couple of weeks then it would be best to transport your probiotics with you as the conditions will likely change during this time, which could harm them.

Air cabin pressure can affect your health and cause nausea, constipation and diarrhea - air cabin pressure on probiotics
Air cabin pressure can affect your health and cause nausea, constipation and diarrhea.

Will air pressure affect your probiotics

Some people are concerned with the effects of uncontrolled decompression on their probiotics, but this isn’t something you need to worry about.

Uncontrolled decompression is caused by the change in pressure when an aircraft rapidly climbs or descends, which can be harmful to humans if not properly prepared for since it can cause ear pain and damage to the eardrums.

Although this isn’t a concern for the passengers, it is something that needs to be taken into consideration before takeoff and landing through pressurizing or depressurizing the cabin as necessary.

This happens very quickly and probiotics aren’t stored in the cabin so they won’t be affected by uncontrolled decompression as it’s called. In fact, air pressure has no effect on the potency of your probiotics whatsoever.

Recommendations for taking probiotics when flying

There are a few things that you can do to help protect your probiotics while travelling

  • Try to avoid flying if you are feeling unwell
  • If you are taking probiotic supplements, take them with you on the plane
  • Take your probiotics an hour or two before flying and during the flight – subject to how long the flight will be
  • Drink plenty of fluids during the flight to help prevent constipation
  • Avoid eating heavy meals during the flight
  • Make sure to eat plenty of fibre-rich foods when you get home to help get your gut back on track.

In conclusion

Probiotics can help! Taking a probiotic supplement before and during your flight can help offset some of the negative effects of air travel on your digestive system.

As you can see, air pressure doesn’t have a negative effect on your probiotics, so long as they’re stored properly and your body is able to adjust within a few hours or days. As always, it’s best to check with a professional before taking any supplements, especially if you’re taking antibiotics or other medications that may interfere with your probiotics.


A quick reminder ..

Probiotics.tips aim to provide the most up to date information, help and advice for YOU to make informed decisions. If you are unsure or uncertain and require more clarity, please reach out to us and we will gladly come back and advise you as best we can.

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