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Does Acidophilus Need to be Refrigerated?


Updated March 23, 2013

Question: Does Acidophilus Need to be Refrigerated?
Once acidophilus is opened and refrigerated, will it still be effective if I take it on a seven hour plane ride and it is stored at room temperature?

If you are unfamiliar with acidophilus, it is a live bacteria believed to assist in balancing the levels of microorganisms in the body, particularly the intestines.

Acidophilus and other beneficial microorganisms are collectively called "probiotics" and are available in many forms, such as capsules, tablets, powder, liquid, and in foods such as yogurt and acidophilus milk.

Most acidophilus products require refrigeration to preserve the number of live bacteria in the product. Although the number of live bacteria is indicated on the label, it is the number of live bacteria at the time of manufacture. Improper storage is one factor that can cause a loss of bacteria.

ConsumerLab.com, tested 26 probiotic supplements and found that 8 of the products contained less than 1% of the claimed number of live bacteria or of the expected minimum of 1 billion.

Why is the number of live bacteria important? Products that are low in live bacteria may not be effective or have health benefits.

For your trip, although there may be some loss of live bacteria, storing acidophilus at room temperature for one day or less should not cause a significant enough drop in the number of live bacteria that the product becomes ineffective.

Here are some additional tips that may help:

  • Store the acidophilus in pill case rather than bringing the entire bottle, so that you are only bringing what you need for the duration for your trip.
  • Once you reach your destination, put the acidophilus in the hotel room fridge if you can or if you are staying with someone, ask to store it in their fridge.
  • Another option is to purchase an acidophilus product that does not require refrigeration. One such product is the Acidophilus Pearls by Enzymatic Therapy. They come in small boxes and can be purchased at many health food stores, some grocery and drug stores, and online. They look like pearls rather than capsules.
  • ConsumerLab.com tested a sample of this product for the number of live bacteria and approved it.
  • Also to consider when purchasing an acidophilus product: choose smaller quantities. The longer you keep an acidophilus product before you consume it, the greater the loss of live bacteria.


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