Does acidophilus cure or cause constipation? Does taking an acidophilus supplement treat constipation? Does it cause it? Or does it have no effect at all?
There is some fairly old research that showed that taking acidophilus milk helped with constipation. "The preparation (acidophilus milk) showed a clear response in patients suffering from intestinal disorders due to an application of antibiotics and in patients with constipations."1
A much more recent study on found that a mixture of probiotics that contained 29% Lactobacillus acidophilus LA 102 was able to increase the number of stools significantly in people with IBS who were constipated. (IBS causes diarrhea in some people, constipation in others and some people alternate between the two.) This effect was just on the subset of IBS sufferers who were constipated.
The other probiotics in this mixture were Bifidobacterium longum LA 101, Lactobacillus lactis LA 103 and Streptococcus thermophilus LA 104 but I'm not aware of any probiotic supplement that contains exactly this mix.
An increase in probiotics in general often helps cure constipation. Acidophilus - whilst often mentioned in general folklore as a prevention is not the only - or even best - supplement for this.
For many years people referred to any sort of good bacteria as acidophilus so I suspect that is how this accepted viewpoint came about.
Check out Probiotics For Constipation for the supplements that are proven to treat constipation.
There can be many reasons for constipation - medication, lack of fiber, lack of water, and lack of exercise are the most common.
There is no evidence at all that taking acidophilus is a cause of this health draining condition.
Avoiding constipation can be as simple as correcting some of these factors. Increase your fiber. I take Metamucil, an orange flavored fiber drink but you can also buy it in Metamucil Capsules if you prefer capsules over a drink.
Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake will help you to avoid constipation as well. They are full of fiber.
Are you drinking enough water? Water is absorbed by the fiber passing through the bowel - if there isn't enough, you become constipated with hard bullet like stools.
So to sum it up, taking acidophilus will not give you constipation and it might help cure constipation but there are other probiotics that do that better. Check out Probiotics For Constipation for the supplements that are proven to treat constipation.
1. Alm L. Acidophilus milk for therapy in gastrointestinal disorders. Nahrung. 1984;28(6-7):683-4.
Anna Chmielewska and Hania Szajewska. Systematic review of randomised controlled trials: Probiotics for functional constipation. World J Gastroenterol. 2010 January 7; 16(1): 69?75.
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