Lactobacillus acidophilus is a probiotic used as a dietary supplement. Probiotics are microscopic organisms, often referred to as good bacteria, which, when eaten, are of benefit to the digestive system. These organisms generally exist naturally in every person’s GI tract and make up what is called gastrointestinal flora. Their usefulness involves supporting the immune system, blocking the growth of other, harmful bacteria and providing usable vitamins. Specifically, acidophilus is the live culture of a friendly bacteria known as lactobacillus, which is friendly to the human intestinal tract and aids in completing normal digestive processes in humans.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus Nutritional Benefits
Lactobacillus acidophilus is naturally found in dairy products, such as yogurt and kefir, but may also be taken in supplement form. Its nutritional benefits lie primarily in the corrective health benefits detailed below.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus Health Benefits
Although lactic acids, such as probiotic acidophilus, are naturally produced in the gastrointestinal tract, certain conditions inhibit their presence. A few of these include:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Poor diet
- Antibiotic use
- Certain medication
When friendly bacteria has been destroyed, acidophilus pills can help prevent or cure the following:
- Helpful in natural cures and home remedies for IBS
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Lactose intolerance
- High cholesterol
- Decreases the likelihood of contracting traveler’s diarrhea
- Helps women who experience frequent yeast infections
- Helpful to those who take antibiotics
Lactobacillus Acidophilus Food Sources
The primary dietary sources of Lactobacillus acidophilus include:
- Yogurts with live cultures
- Sweet acidophilus milk
- Cheese with live cultures
- Milk enriched with acidophilus
Lactobacillus acidophilus can also be found in:
- Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage)
- Kimchi (Korean spicy cabbage)
- Tempeh (a fermented soybean product)
- Soy sauce
Lactobacillus acidophilus side effects may be realized most in those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy products.
People with compromised immune systems, serious intestinal damage or a severe overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines should avoid taking lactobacillus acidophilus in any form.
Those who target holistic health will normally find success in balancing their systems in such a way that friendly bacteria is always at optimal levels. However, from time to time, conditions may persist, which create an imbalance in these levels and it is in these situations that acidophilus may be of benefit. Lactobacillus acidophilus pills can be obtained without a prescription from most health food stores and can be taken without fear of side effects. However, if serious digestive symptoms persist, it is recommended that the advice of a qualified professional be sought as symptoms may be a sign of a serious underlying illness.