Did You Know?
Acidophilus supplements haven't got any recognition from the FDA for medical purposes. So, talk to your health care provider before using this dietary supplement.
The term 'acidophilus' refers to health boosting strains of bacteria that live in our intestine. Also referred to as 'friendly' bacteria, acidophilus play a crucial role to prevent infections, promote digestion and maintain overall health. The doctor may prescribe acidophilus supplements for digestion problems and to overcome pre-existing infections arising from decrease in the number of 'good' bacteria.
Acidophilus Side Effects
Although intake of acidophilus supplements may help to regain the lost balance of beneficial bacteria, they can cause side effects. It is discussed below:
Common Side Effects
Good bacteria present in our digestive tract release gas during breakdown and digestion of ingested food. Taking acidophilus supplements can cause substantial increase in the population of friendly bacteria, thereby leading to excess production of gases such as methane and hydrogen. Due to build up of gas, one may complain about stomach fullness, bloating and abdominal cramps This may be followed by frequent episodes of flatulence. Acidophilus supplements may also cause bowel upset that usually manifest in the form of diarrhea. However, the side effects may soon vanish as the body adjusts itself to the supplemental dosage.
Worrisome Side Effects
Being allergic to acidophilus makes you susceptible to some severe side effects. Widespread onset of skin problems such as hives and skin rashes after taking acidophilus supplements is indicating an allergic reaction. In some cases, side effects such as breathing problems, sudden swelling of facial area, lips and throat occur immediately after popping the supplement. These side effects can be life-threatening if immediate medical treatment is not given.
Rare Side Effects
This may sound surprising but a person put on acidophilus supplements may experience flu-like symptoms despite taking it in the right dosage. Acidophilus users may feel nauseous and have a fever. However, studies have revealed that only a miniscule percentage of acidophilus users show flu-like symptoms. So, as such this side effect is quite uncommon and may occur in people who are using this supplement for the first time. Disorientation, confusion and slurred speech are some of the rare side effects associated with acidophilus supplements.
Acidophilus and Yogurt
Supplemental dosage may not be necessary if you are including natural sources of acidophilus in your diet. Homemade yogurt is full of friendly bacteria. You may also find different brands selling acidophilus yogurt. One benefit of taking acidophilus from natural sources is that it may reduce the risk of side effects.
Things to Keep In Mind
Though the benefits of acidophilus outweigh the potential side effects, there are a few instances when taking this supplement can be harmful. The following things should be kept in mind before opting for acidophilus usage, in order to avoid serious health issues.
- Infections involving the heart valves have also been reported. Doctors assert that people who have artificial heart valves are likely to suffer from this type of infection.
- Some women have experienced a burning sensation near the vagina when using this medicinal product.
- People allergic to acidophilus should not consume these supplements.
- People with impaired immune system or who have just recovered from a serious illness need to stay away from this product.
- A suppressed immune system due to diseases or treatments like chemotherapy, may not be able to tolerate acidophilus, leading to serious infections.
- Research is also yet to prove the safety of this medicine for pregnant women. So, avoiding this product during pregnancy would be the best option.
Although side effects are not worrisome, one needs to understand that acidophilus bacteria can be troublesome for people with a suppressed immune system. Acidophilus is a friendly bacteria but if its population increases indiscriminately (which is possible in case of compromised immune system) it is detrimental to health. Also,when a part of the intestine is damaged, it may enter the bloodstream and cause serious infection. So, if the side effects are recurring and bothersome, stopping the supplement at the earliest is the need of the hour.
On the whole, unwanted effects from acidophilus supplements are mild but people with existing health problems such as intestinal damage or stomach problems, need to avoid intake of acidophilus tablets or capsules. Also, purchasing these supplements from a reliable source can significantly decrease the risk of side effects.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.