Acidophilus, known scientifically as Lactobacillus acidophilus, is a species of "good" or "friendly" bacteria found primarily in the small intestine. This potentially beneficial species of bacteria and others like it are classified as probiotics because they may help your body keep the ratio of good bacteria in balance. As a supplement, acidophilus is the most commonly used probiotic, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, but the amount you should take daily can vary.
The recommended dose of acidophilus depends on the intended use. Work with your doctor if you're taking acidophilus to treat a digestive problem. The most common reasons for taking acidophilus are to maintain intestinal health and to treat or prevent various forms of diarrhea. Some acidophilus preparations require refrigeration to maintain the best quality. You can choose a preparation that does not require refrigeration if you're taking it for traveler's diarrhea and won't have access to a fridge while traveling.
Treating and Preventing Diarrhea
Researchers completed a systematic review of published evidence and found that taking probiotics is effective at treating and preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. The results were published in the May 2012 issue of the "Journal of the American Medical Association." The typical dose of acidophilus for treating and preventing diarrhea is 1 to 2 billion colony-forming units, or CFUs per day, according to the UMMC.
Maintaining Digestive Health
There are several mechanisms by which probiotics help keep your gut healthy, according to a review published in the January 2009 issue of the journal "Current Drug Metabolism." Probiotics help to inhibit the growth of bad bacteria, neutralize toxins, normalize gut mucosa and secrete antimicrobial substances, among other things. The typical dose of acidophilus for maintaining intestinal health is 1 to 15 billion CFUs per day, according to the UMMC.
Acidophilus Supplement Safety
Taking acidophilus may cause gastrointestinal side effects such as gas, upset stomach and diarrhea. If you're currently prescribed antibiotics, the UMMC recommends taking acidophilus two hours before or after to avoid interaction. Ask your doctor before taking acidophilus if you take any medications or have any health problems.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Lactobacillus Acidophilus
- American Cancer Society: Acidophilus
- Journal of the American Medical Association: Probiotics for the Prevention and Treatment of Antibiotic-associated Diarrhea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
- Current Drug Metabolism: The Impact of Probiotic on Gut Health