Acidophilus & Gastritis

Acidophilus capsules
Acidophilus tablets on a blue plate. (Image: BWFolsom/iStock/Getty Images)

Helicobacter pylori, or H. pylori, bacteria are one of the most common causes of gastritis, an erosive inflammation of the stomach lining. H. pylori infection may lead to stomach ulcers, abdominal pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea and vomiting. Along with antibiotics and medications that inhibit your production of stomach acid, your doctor may prescribe acidophilus, a probiotic supplement, to restore the balance of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract and relieve the painful symptoms of gastritis. Consult your health-care provider before trying acidophilus or other probiotic supplements to relieve the symptoms of gastritis.

Significance

By definition, probiotic bacteria have a beneficial effect on their human hosts. Probiotic supplements may help prevent bacterial infections in your gastrointestinal, urinary or genital systems. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a probiotic bacteria that produces lactic acid as a metabolic by-product. Acidophilus acts as a culture in yogurt and other foods that require lactic acid for fermentation. Freeze-dried or liquid acidophilus cultures are also used as dietary supplements to suppress the effects of H. pylori. The lactic acid and other by-products produced by L. acidophilus counteract the effects of harmful bacteria by creating a hostile environment for these microbes.

Benefits

Acidophilus supplements may soothe gastric inflammation and prevent ulcers caused by H. pylori or other harmful bacteria. Because treatment for H. pylori often includes antibiotic therapy, acidophilus supplements may help reduce the gastrointestinal side effects of antibiotics, such as nausea and diarrhea. According to a study published in the June 2002 issue of the “Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand,” the use of acidophilus supplements reduced the density of the H. pylori colonies in the stomachs of study participants with stomach ulcers. Acidophilus also enhanced the effectiveness of the antibiotic medications used to treat H. pylori, R.K. Vilaichone and co-authors note.

Recommendations

Acidophilus may be effective for treating H. pylori stomach infections when you take them in conjunction with antibiotics and other prescription medications. The recommended dose of acidophilus for treating gastritis is 5 to 10 billion colony forming units, or CFUs, each day. Because antibiotic medications may interfere with acidophilus, you should take acidophilus supplements two hours before or two hours after taking your antibiotic.

Precautions

Acidophilus supplements are generally considered safe. However, probiotic supplements may cause mild gastrointestinal side effects, such as gas or bloating. If you have a weakened immune system, probiotic supplements may cause an overgrowth of digestive bacteria. Consult your health-care provider before trying acidophilus or other probiotic supplements to relieve the symptoms of gastritis.

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