Question: The new Lee Swanson Signature Line Ultimate Probiotic Formula looks really good, but why isn't the capsule enteric coated? I thought stomach acid destroys acidophilus?
You're right that stomach acid can destroy acidophilus and other species of probiotics. Certain strains are hardier and better able to survive stomach acid than others, but the main factor to consider is how you take the probiotic supplement. When the stomach is empty, its pH level may be as low as a 1.0, which is very, very acidic. Unless a probiotic supplement is enteric coated, it will not fare well in this environment.
However, the pH level climbs to three or four during and immediately following a meal even though the body is simultaneously secreting hydrochloric acid to digest the food (ironic as that may seem), and the bacterial species are able to survive at this level. Think of yogurt, the food with L. acidophilus cultures that has proven its effectiveness time and time again for specific health issues. Yet the acidophilus isn't enteric coated; it survives the stomach acid because the bacteria are consumed with the yogurt (food), which sufficiently raises the pH level in the stomach.
Our product developers have found that the enteric coatings contribute their own peculiar problems to the survival of the bacteria, and the contents of the capsule better retain their activity on the shelf without the coating. Therefore we chose not to use an enteric coating, and to include the direction.