Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

People who are sensitive to lactose may develop stomach discomfort or other side effects from products that contain L. acidophilus. This is not caused by the bacteria, but by the trace amounts of lactose that they may contain from the manufacturing process.

L. acidophilus supplementation in the first six months of life may increase the risks for allergies to cow's milk in some children.

Studies show that taking up to 1011 live L. acidophilus cells by mouth, twice daily for up to eight weeks, may lack effects on immune changes caused by allergies.

Avoid if allergic or sensitive to Lactobacillus acidophilus, its parts, or members of the Lactobacillaceae family.

Avoid in people who have milk allergies, due to possible milk allergens in L. acidophilus preparations made from dairy products.

Side Effects and Warnings

L. acidophilus is likely safe when used appropriately in the general population of children and adults. L. acidophilus has been well tolerated, with few side effects reported. The most common side effect is gas, which usually decreases with continued use. Though some Lactobacillus strains have been linked to infection, the probiotic use of these strains is generally considered safe. Some research suggests that half of the reported serious cases of infections due to Lactobacillus tend to occur in people with immune problems.

Lactobacillus may also cause arthritis, bloating, blockage of a lung artery, diarrhea, disease of the esophagus, heart inflammation, liver infection, skin reactions, stomach cramping, stomach lining inflammation, stomach rumbling, and vaginal burning and discomfort.

Use cautiously in people who have stomach disorders. High doses (over 109 cells daily) have been linked to mild stomach problems.

Use cautiously in people who have short bowel syndrome. Lactobacillus may cause bacteremia, a condition in which there are bacteria in the blood.

Use cautiously in people who have a high fever.

Use cautiously in people who have fixed orthodontic appliances (i.e., braces), chewing problems, or misaligned teeth, as L. acidophilus may cause tooth decay.

Use cautiously in infants and children. L. acidophilus supplementation in the first six months of life may increase the risks for allergies to cow's milk in some children. Although L. acidophilus has been shown to reduce colic in infants, there is not enough evidence about the safety of long-term L. acidophilus use in this age group. Bacteremia and sepsis, or shock, have been reported after pediatric use of probiotics. There is a report of severe dehydration in a child with diarrhea after treatment with rehydrating solution and Lacteol® by mouth.

Avoid if allergic or sensitive to Lactobacillus acidophilus, its parts, or members of the Lactobacillaceae family.

Avoid in people who have milk allergies, due to possible milk allergens in L. acidophilus preparations made from dairy products.

Avoid in people who have immune problems, as Lactobacillus may cause disease.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Lactobacillus has been used safely during pregnancy (2-4 weeks before childbirth) and breastfeeding (for up to six months).

L. acidophilus vaginal tablets have been studied in pregnant women for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. An L. acidophilus-containing culture (Narine) has been studied in pregnant women for treatment of suppurative inflammatory disease, with side effects lacking. Studies have found that higher Lactobacilli levels in the vagina may be linked to a lower risk of premature childbirth, and L. acidophilus has been studied in pregnant women to prevent premature childbirth.

This evidence-based monograph was prepared by The Natural Standard Research Collaboration

www.naturalstandard.com