This article will help you understand the properties and uses of probiotic acidophilus, as well as possible side effects related with its usage.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), probiotics are defined as “live microorganisms, which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host”. Simply put, they are certain types of microbes or bacteria that are good for you. They occur naturally in a number of fermented foods, like soy products and yogurt, and are now available in the form of dietary supplements as well. Probiotic Acidophilus is a form of beneficial bacteria, also known as Lactobacillus acidophilus, which occurs naturally in the human body and is typically found in the gut and vagina. This bacteria protects the body from harmful organisms and disease.
When food is digested, one of the byproducts produced by the acidophilus bacteria is lactic acid, which creates an unfriendly environment for other harmful bacteria to survive in. Lactose intolerance is a condition in which certain people are unable to digest milk or milk products because of their inability to produce lactase. In such people, the bacterium in question promotes the production of this enzyme, which enables enhanced tolerance of milk products as compared to normal. In addition, it also provides the following benefits:
- When infections and the use of antibiotics deplete the beneficial bacteria in the body, probiotic acidophilus supplements can help in returning levels to normal.
- It enhances the functioning of the immune system.
- It produces vitamin K, and protects those at risk of deficiency, or those on diets that may provide insufficient amounts of vitamin K.
- It has been seen to be helpful in providing relief to people who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
- Some studies indicate that it can help in reduction of stress levels, though this has yet to be proven by human trials.
- Eating foods containing this organism can help in the natural treatment of diarrhea and other diseases of the digestive tract.
- It protects against urinary tract infections and those caused by vaginal yeast.
- It can also help ease allergic reactions.
As far as dosage is concerned, its effectiveness seems to be maximum when taken on an empty stomach. Supplements are available in liquid form, as well as tablets and capsules, though their recommended dosage differs depending on whether it is a dietary supplement or is being taken for the treatment of a medical condition such as diarrhea. A balanced diet which contains foods like yogurt on a regular basis can provide the necessary supplements needed for healthy digestion. Nowadays, there are probiotic fortified food options available as well.
Part of the reason it is so widely advocated as a supplement, is because its side effects are rarely a serious concern, and the benefits of its usage far outweigh possible issues. If they do show up at all, side effects involve mild gas and bloating problems, or other minor digestive complaints. However, there are certain drugs, like immuno-suppressants (drugs like glucocorticoids and cytostatics that inhibit the activity of the immune system), which may react badly with this particular organism. In addition, these nutritional supplements are not recommended for people with reduced or compromised immunity, or those with pre-existent medical conditions. As with all other forms of drugs and medication, it’s safest therefore, to check with a health care professional before taking any such supplements.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.