Normally, the small intestine of the human body contains a few friendly bacteria which help not only in the overall digestion of food, but also help in protecting the mucus layer of the intestinal tract. One such kind is lactobacillus acidophilus which is found mostly in the intestinal tract and vagina. Because of its antimicrobial contents like acidolin, acidophilin, lactocidin, and bacteriocin, this bacteria is considered beneficial for the human body. Besides, it also produces vitamin K (helps in blood clotting) and lactase (aids in digesting dairy foods). Pertaining to its human friendly attributes, this bacteria is often named as probiotic acidophilus. However, being a bacterium, this too has some side effects.
There are a number of positive effects of this probiotic supplement. It is a great source of comfort for people affected by various digestive disorders like constipation, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, urinary tract infections, and Crohn's disease. Above all, acidophilus is the best means to treat conditions like candida albicans. However, this bacteria comes with its share of cons.
- Many people who are sensitive to lactose may face an abdominal discomfort, by consuming dairy products (like yogurt), which contains probiotic acidophilus.
- In women, excessive consumption of probiotic acidophilus supplements can cause a burning sensation in the vagina.
- Those who are affected by heart problems or cardiovascular ailments, and have artificial heart valves, are advised against taking acidophilus medication, as this bacteria may cause valve infection.
- People who have a compromised immune system (like HIV/ AIDS or cancer) may contract serious blood infection by taking acidophilus capsules and pills.
- Also, acidophilus consumption can lead to severe abdominal discomfort in people with intestinal damage or bowel surgeries. In such cases, it is advised against taking such medications.
The aforementioned side effects of probiotic acidophilus are cases that can occur in severe medical condition. Otherwise, this bacteria does not raise an alarm of concern. Some minor side effects like mild abdominal discomfort, bloating of stomach, building up of gas within are observed, which also pass off soon. In some cases, people may experience diarrhea for a few days. However, it is not an alarming condition as the body fights back by expelling the bad bacteria and replenishing the intestinal tracts with the friendly bacteria acidophilus.
There is not enough scientific study to establish that consumption of acidophilus supplements is safe during pregnancy. Hence, pregnant women are advised to go for any such medication only under strict medical supervision. Also, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate these bacterial supplements or herbs.
That is why it is important to read the product labels carefully and confirm the use of such supplements with a qualified health care provider, in case it has any side effects. One of the main reasons as to why it is not directly approved as a medication by the FDA, is that the strength, purity, and safety of these products vary from supplement to supplement. Although the side effects are not quite significant in a major population, it is better to consult a doctor before consuming it.
The positive effects of probiotic acidophilus, however, are more prominent than the side effects. Furthermore, it has also been proved that this bacteria enhances the immune system by making it more resistant to the various allergic reactions in the body. Besides, many skin allergy treatments use this friendly bacteria, which is also available as pills and capsules.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.