The day I walked into the health food store doubled over in pain about five years ago marks the most profound physical change I've ever experienced aside from my two pregnancies. I didn’t know what to do about this pain in my gut, but I knew it would continue until I found a way to make it go away.
I knew how to eat properly and what to avoid, and did cleanses from time to time, yet I was still suffering. Let me add that I’m the type of person who gets away with nothing. My body insists that I’m healthy and won’t accept excuses. If I refuse, it revolts in the most distressful ways and we become instant enemies.
For instance, if I don’t eat properly, I feel depleted, and if I consume too much fat or dairy, I am a prisoner of the toilet for longer than I care to mention. If I don’t sleep well, I end up looking for my cell phone while I’m talking on it, leave my keys in the refrigerator and can’t remember where my son’s best friend lives. I’m not kidding. If I don’t drink water constantly throughout the day, my body gives me the perfect headache until I ask myself aloud, Why is my head pounding? Then I remember what I’d forgotten to do. Drink! Eating too much sugar puts me in a mild coma. An abundance of acidic foods (green pepper, onions, anything fried, coffee, etc.) in my body creates a flatulent symphony that doesn’t quit until I take my magic potion.
The wonderful saleswoman at the health food store, after listening to my litany of complaints and observing my physical state of desperation, knew exactly what I needed and walked me right over to it. She handed me a bottle of acidophilus. I’d heard of it and knew it could be found in the digestive tract, as well as in dairy products like yogurt. It’s considered a probiotic because it helps restore the balance of helpful bacteria.
Then she said, “Don’t even bother with the tablets. You need liquid so you can assimilate it immediately and get out of pain.”
And that’s what I didn’t know. Liquid is better. If I could have gotten away with chugging it right then and there, I would have. I did some research later on after one dose made me feel about 50 percent better and found out acidophilus is not only a supplement for healthy bowel maintenance, but is also used to treat vaginal infections, yeast infections and lowering the risk of cancer, especially of the colon. You might also want to take it before taking antibiotics that kill all bacteria, even the good bacteria in your body, which is quite necessary.
When I thought about all the times my children had complained of stomach aches, and even though I had taken them off lactose long ago, I began giving them acidophilus in chewable tablet form, which comes in many flavors. When they are really desperate for a quick result, they gulp down the liquid, which tastes like yogurt. It also comes in dairy-free forms and you should look for the kind you like best.
The usual dose is one tablespoon after each meal, but a normal question is whether or not you can overdose on it. Dr. Andrew Weil, author of many health-related books including “Spontaneous Healing” (Ballantine Books, 2000), says no. But he does say it’s possible to waste money on products that don’t contain viable organisms, so check expiration dates and look for brands with Lactobacillus GG that has been shown to get into the intestinal tract when you swallow it.