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Lactobacillus acidophilus

Lactobacillus acidophilus, sometimes referred to simply as "acidophilus," is one of several bacteria in the genus Lactobacillus.

Lactobacillus acidophilus gets its name from lacto-, meaning milk, -bacillus, meaning rod-like in shape, and acidophilus, meaning acid-loving. This bacterium thrives in more acidic environments than most related microorganisms (pH 4-5 or lower) and grows best at 45° Celsius/113° Fahrenheit.

Lactobacillus acidophilus, which generally resides in our digestive tracts, is one of the most important bacteria found in our bodies. When taken in supplementary form as a probiotic, it may be used to prevent and treat antibiotic-related diarrhea, yeast infection, and urinary tract infection. It may also help the body by protecting against colon cancer, and may also be protective against the adverse effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The breakdown of nutrients within the digestive tract by Lactobacillus acidophilus produces lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and other by-products that render the environment hostile for undesired organisms. Lactobacillus acidophilus also tends to consume nutrients many other microorganisms depend on, thus outcompeting possibly harmful bacteria in the digestive tract. During digestion, Lactobacillus acidophilus assists in the production of niacin, folic acid, and pyridoxine.

How Lactobacillus acidophilus works in your body:

  • Improves efficiency of digestive system
  • Manufactures vitamins, such as biotin and vitamin K
  • Produces antibacterial substances that kill or deactivate harmful bacteria
  • Helps maintain normal bacterial colony balance in lower intestines
  • Kills Monilia, yeast and fungus on contact
  • May clear up skin problems
  • May enhance immunity
  • May reduce symptoms from spastic colon
  • May reduce diarrhea related to antibiotic use (short- or long-term)

 

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Principal Author: M. Ofiyeva
Date of Initial Publication: 07/05/2007
Article Last Updated: 03/10/2011