wikiHow to Buy Acidophilus

Two Parts:Understanding How to Buy Acidophilus SupplementsUsing Different Types of Acidophilus Supplements

Acidophilus (Lactobacillus or L. acidophilus) is a probiotic, or “good bacteria” that helps break down food in your colon. Studies show that it can curb the growth of disease-causing pathogens in the digestive tract, manage gastrointestinal conditions, reduce antibiotic-induced diarrhea, aid digestion, and help with other conditions like lung infections or skin issues.[1] Acidophilus is found naturally in yogurt, but it also can be purchased as a supplement at health food stores, pharmacies or online vitamin distributors. But because some manufacturers advertise their products inaccurately, it's important to know what to look for when buying probiotics.[2]

Part 1
Understanding How to Buy Acidophilus Supplements

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    Learn what acidophilus is and what it's used for. This naturally occurring "good bacteria" helps to break down food in your colon and protect against “bad bacteria.” Though you can ingest it through food, you can't get adequate amounts that way. For the best results, you should take a supplement as well to help with various GI issues and other conditions. Though there are many types, Lactobacillus acidophilus is the most commonly used probiotic.[3] It's used to treat many different conditions, including:[4]
    • Traveler’s diarrhea
    • Antibiotic associated diarrhea
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Vaginal infections
    • Research is currently being conducted to see if probiotics are effective in treating lactose intolerance and helping the immune system.[5]
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    Talk to your doctor about using acidophilus. If you're using acidophilus as a general dietary supplement, you should take 1 to 4 billion CFU (colony forming units) per day.[6] The packaging of reliable suppliers will let you know the strength of the probiotic supplements you buy. However, your doctor may prescribe smaller or larger doses if acidophilus is being used to treat a specific condition — yeast infections, for example.[7] When using to treat a specific condition, follow your doctor's recommended dosage rather than general dosage recommendations.
    • Acidophilus can be problematic if you have a pre-existing gastro-intestinal condition, like short bowel syndrome.[8] Discuss your options with your doctor.
    • Be careful about using it with children or infants, as bacteria can get into the blood, causing sepsis. It can also cause diarrhea and dehydration, or raise the child's likelihood of developing lactose intolerance.
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    Be prepared for mild side effects.[9] The lactose intolerant may react to acidophilus because the manufacturing process can leave small amounts of lactose in the final product. However, the most common side effect is bloating and gas, though it usually tapers off with continued use.
    • Be aware that antibiotics can kill off the acidophilus bacteria, rendering it ineffective. Talk to your doctor about your antibiotic use. To be safe, it's best to give yourself at least a 2 hour window before and after taking an antibiotic.
    • In rare cases, it can cause arthritis, arterial blockage, diarrhea, esophageal disease, heart, liver, or skin problems, or vaginal discomfort.
    • Some people are just allergic to the bacteria itself. If you suffer an allergic reaction, avoid all products from the Lactobacillaceae family of bacteria.
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    Buy acidophilus from a reputable supplier. Because probiotics are considered dietary supplements, the FDA does not have to approve these products. They do, however, loosely regulate them. There are standards for the manufacturing of dietary supplements, and the FDA may periodically check the facilities.[10] Still, there's a chance that your dietary supplement is contaminated or does not actually contain what it claims to.[11][12] It's important to buy probiotic supplements from a reputable supplier who guarantees its products.
    • Keep cold supplements cold. Remember that if a supplement is meant to be refrigerated, then it must stay that way. Millions of probiotics die when the supplement is left at room temperature.
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    Look for independent quality guarantees. A reputable manufacturer will allow an independent organization like U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF international or to test their product. These seals of approval do not necessarily guarantee safety or effectiveness. However, they do ensure that the products actually contain what they claims to, and that they're not contaminated.[13]
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    Check the packaging for a CFU count guarantee.[14] Each acidophilus supplement should come with a CFU (Colony Forming Units) count guarantee, which is based on the count at the time of manufacturing. Most acidophilus supplements contain between 1 to 2 billion CFU. Do not purchase products without CFU count guarantees.
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    Ensure the acidophilus is correctly handled. Acidophilus supplements contain live bacteria, so they should be stored and transported in cool conditions. The ideal temperature is below 40 degrees F (4.5 degrees C).[15] This may be hard to verify, but it is important information to consider.
    • If the label doesn't require you to refrigerate the product, you probably don't have a good product on your hands. Real acidophilus supplements need refrigeration.
    • Also check the label for an expiration date. Reputable stores generally pull all expired products from stock.
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    Check the ingredients in the acidophilus supplement. Some supplement manufacturers water down their product by mixing slow-growing acidophilus with other fast-growing bacteria. This increases the CFU count and makes it appear like a more effective product to consumers. Examples of fast-growing bacteria additions include other strains of Lactobacillus and Bacillus coagulants.[16] Although these may have some research behind them, most studies use Lactobacillus acidophilus.
    • For best results, look for an acidophilus supplement that contains only acidophilus.
    • The probiotic may be listed as acidophilus, lactobacillus or l. acidophilus.

Part 2
Using Different Types of Acidophilus Supplements

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    Consider a variety of acidophilus supplements. Acidophilus is naturally produced in the body, and is normally found in the mouth, small intestine, and vagina.[17] However, you can supplement natural probiotic production with a variety of products — you don't have to restrict yourself to a single form! Lactobacillus supplements are available as pills, powders, or enriched foods at most health food stores, pharmacies or online vitamin distributors.[18]
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    Take acidophilus capsules. Capsules are the most popular way to take acidophilus because you can swallow the pills with water. The general recommended dosage is 1 to 2 capsules taken once a day. The capsules usually have a strength of 1 to 2 billion CFU, so you should get 1 to 4 billion CFU per day. [19]
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    Chew acidophilus tablets.[20] Chewable acidophilus tablets are a good alternative for children and adults who have difficulty swallowing pills. Just like the capsules, you need to get 1 to 4 billion CFU per day through 1 to 2 tablets.
    • Some suppliers offer acidophilus tablets that taste like strawberry or other flavors.
    • Don't give these supplements to children under 3 years unless directed to by your doctor.
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    Mix acidophilus powder into your food.[21] Acidophilus powder is available in large bottles through health food stores and online vitamin suppliers. The powder can be mixed with juice or water, or sprinkled over food. It has a slightly sweet and chalky taste. About 1/4 tsp. (1.23 ml) of the powder is equal to 2 capsules or tablets.
    • Be aware that every time you open the container, the powder is exposed to contamination and humidity, which can cause it to deteriorate.
    • As opposed to tablets or capsules, you are in charge of measuring the correct dosage with powders. Measure carefully![22]
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    Drink acidophilus milk.[23] Acidophilus milk is available through health food stores and some grocery stores. The milk has a tangy taste and a slightly thicker consistency than cow's milk. Unlike the advertised CFU strength in tablets, capsules and powders, the amount of the supplement in the milk usually isn't verified. It can be hard to know how much acidophilus you're actually drinking.
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    Ingest acidophilus through foods.[24][25] Yogurt and soy products contain natural forms of acidophilus. When choosing yogurt for its probiotic value, look for yogurt that contains live l. acidophilus cultures and no added sugars. Some fresh fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, also contain acidophilus. However, the amount of probiotics in food sources do not meet the recommended dosages for acidophilus supplements. Therefore, while yogurt, soy products and fresh produce are helpful in increasing probiotic intake, they are not a substitute for an acidophilus supplement.
    • Although food sources are great, a supplement is the only true way to consume enough of this. It is a great idea to do both of these methods!


  • Acidophilus supplements should be taken before a meal or on an empty stomach when stomach acid is at its lowest. The low acid allows the acidophilus to more easily pass through the stomach into the intestine.
  • Purchase acidophilus in glass bottles, rather than plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are porous, which can cause the acidophilus to lose its potency.
  • Keep acidophilus supplements refrigerated at all times. To maintain its quality, acidophilus should be stored at a temperature below 40 degrees F (4.5 degrees C). There may be some formulations that you do not have to refrigerate. Always read and follow product labels.


  • People with weakened immune systems or those with artificial heart valves should consult their doctors before taking acidophilus supplements or any probiotic products.
  • Always consult a doctor before giving infants or children acidophilus supplements.
  • Do not take acidophilus with antibiotics. The antibiotics will kill the good bacteria. Take acidophilus and antibiotics at least 2 hours apart.

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