What Factors Affect a Sufficient Acidophilus Dose?

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  • Written By: Emma Miller
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2019
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There are a number of factors that affect a sufficient acidophilus dose, and these include the type of disease meant to be treated, concurrent use of other medications, and the person’s age. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of non-harmful bacteria, naturally found in the body. It may be given orally to prevent diarrhea in people taking antibiotics or to promote intestinal health. It may also be used topically in cases of vaginal infection or diaper rash.

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a probiotic that can help maintain or restore the normal bacterial flora in the gastrointestinal tract and vaginal canal. It is usually taken in capsule or powder form, but may be used topically for certain vaginal infections, like bacterial vaginosis. Taken orally it may help prevent or treat traveller’s diarrhea or diarrhea due to antibiotic use in adults and children. It is sometimes taken as part of a treatment plan for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disorders, like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.


Usually given three times a day for gastrointestinal issues, the typical lactobacillus acidophilus dose for adults can range from one to ten billion bacteria, or units, per time. The units may either be live cultures or heat-killed, freeze-dried bacteria, depending on a person’s disease and age. Otherwise healthy adults on antibiotics can safely tolerate an acidophilus dose of up to thirty billion units a day with capsules containing live cultures of bacteria. For children, a heat-killed, freeze-dried form is typically considered safer and supplements should be used with caution in infants. A pediatric acidophilus dose should not exceed a total of five to ten billion units per day.

Taken twice a day, at no more than ten billion units per time, heat-killed lactobacillus acidophilus supplements may provide a degree of symptom relief for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients. Those with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may also benefit from adding probiotic supplementation to their treatment plans, and the typical acidophilus dose should be ten billion heat-killed units daily. Drug interactions do exist. Lactobacillus acidophilus increases the speed at which sulfasalazine, a medication used to treat ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, is metabolized in the body so concurrent use is best avoided. Vaginal suppositories for common infections typically contain no more than one billion units and may be applied twice a day for a week.

Caution is necessary as there have been reports of some acidophilus capsules that are contaminated with bacteria harmful to the gastrointestinal tract. Capsules should be refrigerated. People who are immunosuppressed and those with milk allergies should not take probiotics without consulting a physician. There are some generally mild side effects associated with acidophilus intake. These include flatulence and bloating.


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