Acidophilus is a probiotic that people use for a variety of conditions, including digestive problems, such as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease, as it is a natural, inexpensive way to help reduce and prevent symptoms of these conditions. As always, speak to your doctor before you try any home remedies, especially if your acid reflux is chronic or severe.
Understanding Acid Reflux
Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter muscle at the bottom of the esophagus weakens or doesn’t close tightly enough. This enables a backflow of the contents of the stomach into the esophagus. Food allergies, bacterial overgrowth in the bowels, and food sensitivities can also cause reflux. In addition, gas can press against the sphincter and allow stomach acid to travel back up into the esophagus and throat. Symptoms of reflux can include nausea, belching, coughing, a burning sensation in the chest, regurgitating food and a sore throat.
What Acidophilus Is
Acidophilus is a type of healthy bacteria that lives in the body -- typically, it lives in the intestines. This bacteria helps reduce acid reflux by balancing the acidic levels in your body. It can also help reflux by preventing and reducing the growth of dangerous or harmful bacteria in the intestines and stomach. Acidophilus also provides your body with enzymes that help improve digestion and can help ease acid reflux symptoms.
You can find acidophilus in dairy products such as kefir, yogurt or milk with L. acidophilus added to it. The soy products tempeh and miso are also good sources of acidophilus. You can also find it in tablet or capsule form. Although acidophilus doesn’t have a specific recommended dosage, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that you take between 1 and 15 billion colony-forming units of acidophilus daily.
The FDA hasn't approved acidophilus to treat acid reflux, so speak to your doctor before you substitute acidophilus for over-the-counter or prescription acid reflux medications. You may notice side effects such as gas or bloating for a few days after consuming acidophilus. If you experience inflammation of the face or develop hives, difficulty breathing or develop swelling of the throat, tongue or lips after consuming acidophilus, then seek immediate medical attention, as these could be signs of a serious allergic reaction.