How to Take Acidophilus Probiotics

Three Methods:Understanding AcidophilusChoosing the Right Kinds of AcidophilusTreating Specific Issues with Acidophilus

Acidophilus, also known as lactobacillus acidophilus or L. acidophilus, is classified as a probiotic. Probiotics are a type of good bacteria found naturally in your body. However, our body does not provide enough probiotics to fight all the bad bacteria in your system.[1] Although your body naturally produces this good bacteria, you can follow a few simple steps to add additional acidophilus to your diet to keep yourself healthier and flush bad bacteria from your system.

Method 1
Understanding Acidophilus

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    Learn about Acidophilus. Acidophilus is a good bacteria that helps to break down food in your colon and protect against bad bacteria. Clinical studies have found that acidophilus suppresses the growth of pathogens such as bad bacteria, or substances that can cause disease, in the digestive tract. Acidophilus is a probiotic that can be used to manage gastrointestinal conditions, reduce antibiotic-induced diarrhea, aid digestion, and help with other conditions such as lung infections or skin issues. In addition to the small intestine, acidophilus naturally occurs in the vaginal area and may also be helpful in controlling bacterial infections and yeast infections. In addition to acidophilus, there are many other probiotics available, some in the Lactobacillus species.
    • However, Lactobacillus acidophilus is the most commonly used probiotic.[2]
    • Other studies are being done to see if probiotics are effective for lactose intolerance, helping the immune system, and other conditions.[3]
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    Be aware of side effects and interactions. There are very few side effects of acidophilus. The most common one is gas. Acidophilus is generally safe to use if used appropriately. Other side effects of taking acidophilus include diarrhea and nausea. These usually go away after the first few days as your body adjusts to the probiotics.[4]
    • Seek immediate medical attention if they last for more than a few days.
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    Ask your doctor or pharmacist about dosage. Dosages of acidophilus can vary depending upon your condition. In addition, some supplements are made with more than 1 strain of lactobacillus that may not be compatible. She will be able to tell you what has been proven to be the most effective supplement for your condition. It is always good to talk to a healthcare professional before taking supplements.
    • Make sure you talk to your doctor before using probiotics if you have a weak immune system, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have previous GI issues.
    • Inquire with your doctor for how best to take acidophilus if you or your children are suffering from ulcerative colitis, rotaviral diarrhea, necrotizing enterocolitis, colic, or lung infections.
    • Do not take acidophilus if you are taking Sulfasalazine for ulcerative colitis. Studies have shown there is an adverse reaction.[5]

Method 2
Choosing the Right Kinds of Acidophilus

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    Buy probiotics from a reputable supplier. When you are looking for the correct probiotics, you need to pay attention to the manufacturer of the product. Purchase probiotic supplements from a reputable supplier that guarantees its products. Suppliers may use independent organizations to test the quality of their products such as U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or Although these seals of approval do not guarantee safety or effectiveness, the organizations do test products to ensure it contains what it claims to and that it is not contaminated.
    • The reason you have to be careful is because, although probiotics are considered dietary supplements, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve these products. They do, however, loosely regulate them. This means that although there are standards set for the manufacturing of dietary supplements and FDA may periodically check the facilities, there is a chance that your dietary supplement does not actually contain what it claims to or is contaminated.[6]
    • Each acidophilus supplement should come with a Colony Forming Units (CFU) 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.[7]
    • If the brand of probiotics you purchase is sold refrigerated, then ensure that your bottle has been and continues to be kept cool.
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    Buy acidophilus with certain ingredients. Look at the ingredients in the acidophilus supplement. Some supplement manufacturers combine slow-growing acidophilus with other fast-growing bacteria to increase the CFU count and make it appear like a more effective product to consumers. You don't want to buy these because the other added bacteria may not be the kind of bacteria you need.
    • For best results, look for an acidophilus supplement that contains only acidophilus. The probiotic may be listed as acidophilus, lactobacillus or l. acidophilus.[8]
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    Decide on a type of supplement. There are many different dosage forms available such as capsules, tablets, and powders. These supplements are used to treat certain conditions such as eczema and ulcerative colitis. Ask your doctor which form is best for your specific condition.
    • If a single-strain of probiotic doesn't seem to be working for you, consider a supplement with multiple strains. Just as one type of antibiotic works better than others for some people, the same is true with probiotics.
    • Tablets and capsules are typically made with freeze dried probiotics. Make sure you store them correctly by checking the container for directions. There are some forms of probiotic supplements that need to be refrigerated.
    • Powders can be prone to contamination because they are frequently exposed to air and a spoon or scoop, rendering them less effective.[9][10]
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    Drink acidophilus milk. In order to get more acidophilus, consider drinking acidophilus milk. It 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.
    • This makes it difficult to know how much acidophilus you are drinking.[11]
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    Eat acidophilus-rich foods. If you aren't interested in trying the milk, 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.
    • Remember that while consuming foods high in probiotics is wonderful, we are unable to get enough of it from food alone. A supplement is always a great idea!
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    Take acidophilus appropriately. In order to make sure your acidophilus is effective, make sure the supplement has not expired and has been stored correctly. Expired supplements or supplements that should have been refrigerated but were not may lose effectiveness. In addition, if you are taking other medications, especially antibiotics, take your probiotic 2 hours before or after taking them.[12]
    • Most of the time, it doesn’t matter when you take the probiotic, just make sure you take it routinely. Sometimes manufacturers may suggest taking it with food or taking it right before breakfast. Use the manufacturer's website or label to find out more information.

Method 3
Treating Specific Issues with Acidophilus

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    Treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). To treat your IBS, take acidophilus probiotic for 6 weeks. Choose a probiotic supplement, such as Proviva or Lacteol Fort, that contains viable lyophilized bacteria species including lactobacillus, bifidobacteria, and streptococcus. This can be taken in a drink or capsule form. When you are buying one, make sure the supplement contains 10 billion CFU of lactobacillus acidophilus. You should take this supplement twice per day.
    • Some people find it beneficial to take digestive enzymes along with probiotics to really heal the gut and provide help with digestion.
    • Acidophilus bacteria colonizes in the large intestine. It can help to repair damage due to IBS and help control diarrhea and constipation.
    • Taking acidophilus can cause additional gas or diarrhea for the first few days of treatment. The diarrhea should go away and your gas should be reduced after your body adjusts. See a doctor if you have diarrhea for more than 2 days and discontinue use of the supplement.[13]
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    Prepare for antibiotic treatment. You can use acidophilus to help prepare your body for the issues it goes through when you take an antibiotic. To counteract the side effects, take an acidophilus supplement containing lactobacillus when going on a course of antibiotics. This is necessary because antibiotics kill both harmful and friendly bacteria. You can recolonize the good bacteria through the use of at least 20 billion CFU per day, which is available in a products such as Culturelle.
    • Take the acidophilus 2 hours before or after you take an antibiotic pill. Antibiotics reduce the effectiveness of the active cultures, so staggering them with other pills will help.[14]
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    Use acidophilus for traveler's diarrhea. Sometimes when you go on trips, you suffer from traveler's diarrhea. To help prevent this, choose an acidophilus brand that does not break down under normal temperatures, as most acidophilus does, and one that doesn't need to be refrigerated. This will make it easier to take with you when traveling.
    • Take 2 billion CFU of a Lactobacillus GG supplement, such as Culturelle, for every day of travel to prevent traveler's diarrhea. Buy capsules that can easily be tucked away in your luggage.[15]
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    Fight a yeast infection. Since the vagina naturally contains acidophilus, you can use a supplement to treat some bacterial based issues that occur in that region. For vaginal yeast infections, acidophilus can be taken orally or with suppositories. Take 1 to 2 tablets of oral medicines such as Gynoflor. These tablets should contain at least 10 million CFUs per tablet and 0.3 mg estriol. Take this dose for 6 days, or according to package instructions.
    • You can also use a vaginal suppository, such as Vivag, that contains 100 million to 1 billion CFUs. Insert it twice daily for 6 days.
    • If you use vaginal suppositories, an increase in discharge most likely will occur.[16]


  • Pay attention to expiration dates on all of your acidophilus products. The active cultures will die and be less effective, if used after the indicated dates.
  • You may need to experiment with different acidophilus supplements before you find the one that works best for your system.
  • Probiotics should not be confused with prebiotics, which are usually sources of soluble fiber that also aid in digestion.

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