Lactobacillus acidophilus is a “good” bacteria that is naturally produced in the body, and typically present in the digestive system, urinary tract, and vagina.
Vital for maintaining a balanced microbiome to prevent the overgrowth of “bad” bacteria, ingesting extra lactobacillus acidophilus is often recommended to treat a variety of medical conditions.
In this article, we’ll explain lactobacillus acidophilus, what it is, and why it’s good for your diet.
What Is Lactobacillus Acidophilus?
Lactobacillus acidophilus, also known as acidophilus or L. acidophilus, is a friendly bacteria that naturally resides in the mouth, intestines, stomach, urinary tract, and vagina.
Its role, as the name indicates, is to produce lactic acid which helps to maintain a balanced pH level within the body. This balanced environment prevents the overgrowth of “bad” bacteria and sustains a strong immune system.
The body also uses lactobacillus acidophilus to break down food in the digestive system, absorb nutrients and improve gut health. In addition, its presence in the urinary tract and vagina help to maintain a balanced vaginal pH, which discourages the growth of harmful bacteria that could result in infections like bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.
Why Lactobacillus Acidophilus Is Good For your Diet
Various health conditions, as well as the medications you take for them, can affect the natural pH balance of the body and throw it off balance. This imbalance can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria that could result in infection.
However, a regular intake of lactobacillus acidophilus in your diet can help to restore any variance in this natural balance and counteract potential infections before they set in.
Which Foods Contain Lactobacillus Acidophilus Probiotics?
Acidophilus that is present in food or drinks is known as a probiotic and making it a regular part of your diet is easy to achieve by including some of the following foods in your daily food consumption:
- Cottage cheese
- Fermented sauerkraut
- Miso soup
If these foods are not something you regularly enjoy in your diet, you can also consume lactobacillus acidophilus in the form of probiotic supplements.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotic (or lactobacillus acidophilus) supplements are very similar to the “good” bacteria naturally produced in the body. Made from a mixture of live bacteria and yeast, probiotic supplements help to boost the immune system and maintain (or restore) the natural pH balance in the body to keep the body functioning healthily.
Probiotic supplements come in pill form, as well as capsules, liquids, and powders.
Probiotics: How Do They Help The Body?
While research into using probiotics to treat various health conditions is ongoing, results are proving positive, with little to no known risks. It is important to note that there are various strains of L. acidophilus and research has found that each of them can have varying effects on the body.
Below, are some of the health conditions that benefit from L. acidophilus probiotics. However, if you are considering taking probiotic supplements as a treatment option, be sure to consult with your doctor or healthcare practitioner first to ensure you take the correct strain.
1. Gut Health & Diarrhea
Trillions of bacteria are present in the gut and each plays a vital role in your overall health, however, various illnesses and medications can upset the natural balance of these bacteria and wreak havoc on your gut and digestive system.
See our list of the Best Foods With Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Various studies have shown that lactobacillus acidophilus probiotics when used in conjunction with another probiotic, can help to prevent and treat diarrhea associated with bacterial infections. It also helps to treat diarrhea resulting from taking antibiotics for another condition, or diarrhea associated with traveling and experimenting with new food.
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
As many as one in five people are known to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which causes symptoms like severe bloating, abdominal pain, and difficult bowel movements. Even though medical professionals remain unsure about the exact cause of IBS, it is largely believed to be linked to the existence of a specific type of bacteria in the intestines.
Recent studies revealed that bloating, constipation, and abdominal pain associated with IBS improved after participants took a combination of lactobacillus acidophilus and another probiotic for 60 days.
One study, in particular, outlined that participants with IBS who took a low dose of single-strain probiotics for no more than two months experienced the most relief from symptoms.
3. Vaginal Infections
As the most common bacteria found in the vagina, lactobacilli produce the lactic acid that keeps the vaginal pH balanced and bacterial infections at bay. When certain situations and disorders cause the pH to become imbalanced, harmful bacteria are allowed to thrive and result in conditions like bacterial vaginosis (BV), urinary tract infections, trichomoniasis, and yeast infections.
While antibiotics are usually necessary to treat most vaginal infections, researchers have found that taking daily lactobacillus acidophilus probiotics can significantly help to rebalance the vaginal pH, soothe symptoms associated with vaginal infections, and lower the risk of recurring infections.
For instance, in a recent study, women who took probiotics and antibiotics for 30 days to treat BV reported cure rates close to 90 percent. In contrast, those who received only antibiotics recorded a cure rate closer to 40 percent.
Other Conditions That Benefit from Lactobacillus Acidophilus Probiotics
In addition to improved gut health and vaginal health, soothing the symptoms of IBS, and reducing diarrhea and constipation, lactobacillus acidophilus probiotics can also help treat the following:
- High cholesterol
- Gum disease
- Cold & flu symptoms
- Lactose intolerance
- Weight gain
Lactobacillus Acidophilus: Is It Safe?
Although the FDA has not yet studied lactobacillus acidophilus as a probiotic supplement for approval, copious amounts of independent studies by medical researchers have shown that is considered safe with little to no known risks.
That said, it is important to understand that probiotics should not be used instead of medication, but if your doctor or healthcare provider has recommended them, rest assured that they have already established a lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic is safe for you.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a “good” bacteria that is naturally produced in the body; found in the digestive tract, urinary tract, and vagina, it is vital for maintaining optimal health. Those seeking to increase the amount of this healthy bacteria can consume it through yogurt, kombucha, and fermented foods, or by taking a probiotic supplement.
If you feel you would benefit from taking a probiotic supplement, it is important to first speak with your healthcare provider to ensure that you take the correct amount and the right strain of acidophilus for your situation or condition.
National Library of Medicine - Lactic Acid Bacteria As Probiotic - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16875422/
National Library of Medicine - Efficacy of probiotics in prevention of acute diarrhea: a meta-analysis of masked, randomized, placebo-controlled trials- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16728323/
National Library of Medicine - Effects of probiotic type, dose & treatment duration on irritable bowel syndrome https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27296254/
National Library of Medicine- Augmentation of antimicrobial metronidazole therapy of bacterial vaginosis with oral probiotic Lactobacillus and Lactobacillus reuteri - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16697231/