Probiotics have been proven to provide countless benefits for the mind and body. Although these helpful microorganisms have rapidly gained popularity in the health world, many people aren’t aware of some of the most essential information about them.
Something many people don’t realize is that each unique probiotic can have a different beneficial effect on the body. Having a deeper understanding of each probiotic and what it does could help you start to reap even more benefits.
This article will give you an in-depth look at one of the most common probiotics—Lactobacillus acidophilus.
What is Lactobacillus Acidophilus?
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a form of bacteria naturally found in the intestines. This is not the type of bacteria you want to steer clear of. There types of good bacteria that your body needs to stay healthy and Lactobacillus acidophilus is definitely one of them.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a part of the Lactobacillus family of bacteria which play a crucial role in your overall health. You may also see this powerful strain referred to as either L. acidophilus or simply acidophilus.
Your body is home to millions of microorganisms. While there is still a lot to be learned about many of these microorganisms, Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most common types studied and used.
The Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic produces an enzyme called lactase. This enzyme has the ability to break down lactose and convert it into lactic acid. Food and supplements that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus are believed to help balance the gut microbiome and prevent or even help treat various health conditions.
9 Great Lactobacillus Acidophilus Benefits
Here are a few ways this incredible probiotic may benefit your health:
1. May Help Lower Your Cholesterol
Studies suggest that the Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic may be more effective at lowering “bad” cholesterol levels than other types of probiotics. Taking Lactobacillus acidophilus with a prebiotic may also help increase its effectiveness for lowering LDL cholesterol.
2. May Prevent or Reduce Diarrhea
Many different studies have found that Lactobacillus acidophilus may be effective for preventing or reducing diarrhea associated with several diseases. Lactobacillus acidophilus may even help hospitalized children suffering from diarrhea or adult cancer patients suffering from diarrhea as a symptom of radiotherapy. Lactobacillus acidophilus has also been found to help those who travel often to prevent or help treat travelers diarrhea. When dealing with this symptom, Lactobacillus acidophilus may work best when combined with another probiotic.
3. May Improve Symptoms of IBS
Some researchers believe that IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is caused by certain types of bacteria in the intestines. Therefore, Lactobacillus acidophilus may help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome like pain, bloating, and unusual bowel movements.
4. May Prevent or Treat Vaginal Infections
Lactobacillus acidophilus colonizes in the vagina and produces lactic acid which prevents the growth of harmful bacteria that cause infections. If the harmful bacteria does begin to outnumber the good bacteria and an infection occurs, increasing Lactobacillus acidophilus may help bring the balance back. Taking Lactobacillus acidophilus as a supplement may help prevent or treat vaginal infections.
5. May Promote Weight Loss
The bacteria that live in your intestines affect your digestion and influence weight. While it is still unclear if Lactobacillus acidophilus alone affects weight loss, there is evidence that taking the Lactobacillus acidophilus probiotic combined with other types of probiotics may lead to weight loss.
6. May Prevent or Help Fight Cold and Flu Symptoms
Lactobacillus acidophilus can give the immune system a boost which may help prevent or improve the symptoms of viral infections. Lactobacillus acidophilus may especially help reduce the symptoms of the common cold and flu in children. This probiotic may become more effective in treating these symptoms when combined with other probiotics.
7. May Prevent or Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms
Some evidence suggests that certain probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus can reduce the symptoms of certain allergies. Lactobacillus acidophilus especially help with with hay fever-like symptoms and symptoms associated with a pollen allergy even in children.
8. May Help Prevent or Reduce Symptoms of Eczema
Studies show that Lactobacillus acidophilus may help with help with skin conditions like eczema in both adults and children. Lactobacillus acidophilus may help reduce symptoms such as inflamed, painful, and itchy skin.
9. May Promote a Healthy Gut
Lactobacillus acidophilus lives in your gut protecting your gut from bad bacteria that want to take over. Lactobacillus acidophilus may also help increase other types of healthy bacteria in the gut as well. Increasing the number of healthy bacteria in your gut not only translates into benefits for your gut but your entire body too.
Side Effects of Lactobacillus Acidophilus
While Lactobacillus acidophilus is a great source for many people, it is not great for everyone. If you have a medical condition that causes a weakened or impaired immune system or you take immune-suppressing medication, you may need to stay away from Lactobacillus acidophilus.
Lactobacillus acidophilus can be a great way to help keep kids who are always coming down with something or who deal with allergies. But, be sure to always consult your child’s pediatrician before giving them Lactobacillus acidophilus. Likewise, you should also consult your physician before taking Lactobacillus acidophilus if you are pregnant.
Generally, healthy people should have no problem tolerating Lactobacillus acidophilus. However, if you have a serious condition like short bowel syndrome, diabetes, or a heart valve disorder taking Lactobacillus acidophilus may not be right for you.
People are all unique, and in any case, it is a good idea to speak with your physician before taking any supplements to see if it is the right decision for you.
The most common side effects are digestive issues such as gas and bloating. However, these effects should go away on their own after your body gets used to the new bacteria. If the digestive issues are painful or begin to worsen, you should talk to your doctor about it.
How to Start Reaping the Benefits of Lactobacillus Acidophilus
Although Lactobacillus acidophilus is naturally found in the intestines, you can reap numerous benefits from consuming foods that contain it or by taking a Lactobacillus acidophilus supplement.
Lactobacillus acidophilus can be found in different fermented foods as well as dairy products such as:
Lactobacillus acidophilus works great as a supplement on its own or combined with other probiotics or prebiotics. When you take a probiotic supplement containing Lactobacillus acidophilus you can be sure you are getting the number of live bacteria that your body needs. It’s also an easy and convenient way to consume probiotics.
However you consume it, Lactobacillus acidophilus can provide incredible health benefits. If you are interested in Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements, one of our probiotic supplements a try and see the difference it makes for you.