If getting into your jeans suddenly feels like you squeezed 10 extra pounds into a 5-pound bag, your digestive system may be dragging. Taking daily probiotic acidophilus can help you win the battle against bloat, boost your immune system and improve the absorption of nutrients. But not all probiotics yield benefits; some strains are ineffective or, worse, cause harm. Understanding the viability of the product and how it colonizes in your intestines and identifying the particular strain will help you choose the right “friendly bacteria” for your gut.
Choosing the Right Product
Probiotics are friendly bacteria and yeasts that help keep the bad guys, malevolent microbes, in check. But even the good bacteria, grown in different or poor conditions, espouse properties that can harm you. To ensure safety and maximum benefits, choose Lactobacillus acidophilus products that are packaged in glass to prevent oxygen from spoiling the product’s potency. Plastic bottles are porous and can diminish the level of live cells. Choose products that clearly label the level of living cells, called colony-forming units (CFU), and guarantee colonization in the intestines after ingestion.
Beneficial Probiotic Strain, DDS-1 L. Acidophilus
According to the University of Nebraska, cultured strain DDS-1 L. acidophilus for daily use yields digestive benefits, such as the production of enzymes that break down protein and lipases that digest fats. Other benefits of taking a daily acidophilus supplement, such as the DDS-1 L. acidophilus strain, include the production of B vitamins and natural antibiotics to fight disease.
Freeze-Dried Products Are More Stable
Aim for L. acidophilus products for daily use that contain 1 to 2 billion CFU, says S.K. Dash, PhD, of Dynamic Chiropractic. Dash also says that the process of freeze drying acidophilus advances its stability so it will survive stomach acids and colonize in the intestines for best results. A probiotic such as L. acidophilus must survive stomach acids and have the ability to colonize or else it will not yield any health benefits, according to Tuft’s University School of Medicine.
Although L. acidophilus is safe for most people, dietary supplements may interact with medications, so consult with your health care provider before starting a daily probiotic. Taking acidophilus with more than 1 to 2 billion CFU daily can also produce side effects, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. For people taking more than 1 to 2 billion CFU per day, gas, upset stomach and diarrhea can occur.
- Dynamic Chiropractic: How To Select An Acidophilus Supplement; S.K. Dash, PhD
- NYU Langone Medical Center: Acidophilus and Other Probiotics
- American Journal of Gastroenterology: Probiotics and Gastrointestinal Health
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Lactobacillus Acidophilus
- Simplexity Health: Facts and Fallacies About Probiotics
Tina Boyle has been writing since 2000. Trained as a journalist, she has traveled to over 150 US cities. She specializes in travel, culture, pets, business and social networking and regularly publishes in newspapers, magazines and on Web sites. She received a Bachelor of Arts in writing from the College of Santa Fe.