Acidophilus and other probiotic supplements may be gaining in popularity but a report by independent testers ConsumerLab, says live bacteria may actually be missing in many products.
US-based ConsumerLab.com's review of probiotic supplements, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, revealed that one third of the products tested contained less than 1 per cent of the expected number of viable bacteria - with several products containing ten thousand times less than expected.
Probiotics are commonly used to treat or prevent diarrhoea due to various causes and have many other potential uses. Probiotics are one of the fastest growing supplement categories, with sales increasing over 14 per cent in the past year in US natural products supermarkets.
The company tested 25 probiotic products -19 general use products, three marketed for children, and three yoghurts. Only 16 of the 25 products were found to contain the generally recommended 1 billion organisms or greater per daily serving.
ConsumerLab.com also found that products claiming to contain specific numbers of bacteria were much more likely to have sufficient counts than products only indicating bacterial amounts as of the "time of manufacture" or not indicating any amount.
"The odds are nearly one out of three that a probiotic product has too few live bacteria to be effective," said Tod Cooperman, ConsumerLab president. "Our findings can help consumers find products with an effective dose."
Among the 16 approved products were supplements from Nature's Made, Enzymatic Therapy and Vitamin World. A list of all the products found to contain one billion or more live probiotic bacteria is available from ConsumerLab.