Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus) is one of the most researched strains of Lactobacillus bacteria.
This article will look at the research-backed benefits of L. acidophilus, potential side effects, sources, and more.
What Is Lactobacillus Acidophilus?
acidophilus is a probiotic bacteria -- beneficial bacteria -- that research suggests may support and promote health, prevent infection, and defend against disease.
They are found naturally in the mouth, intestines, and vagina. They are also typically present in yogurt, fermented foods, and probiotic supplements.
Lactobacillus acidophilus breaks down the sugar in milk, creating lactic acid and hydrogen peroxides. Lactic acid is crucial for most biochemical processes. The lactic acid they produce also keeps the "bad" bacteria from overwhelming the gut microbiome, as they cannot survive in an acidic environment.
In addition, research suggests that L. acidophilus treatment can significantly increase butyrate production in the gut. Butyrate is a well-studied short-chain fatty acid clinically shown to promote gut health. (1)
The gut microbiome consists of trillions of microorganisms, primarily bacteria, that support the digestive system and overall health. The microbiome must maintain a specific balance of "good" and "bad" bacteria to do this job properly. If an overabundance of harmful bacteria occurs, it upsets this balance -- a state called dysbiosis -- potentially triggering many health issues.
So, L. acidophilus plays an essential role in maintaining the microbial balance in the gut.
What is L. Acidophilus Used For?
acidophilus is typically used to promote gut health naturally. However, they are also used to treat or prevent several mental and physical health conditions.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus Health Benefits
Emerging research suggests that Lactobacillus acidophilus may help treat or prevent specific health issues.
Here are 5 of them.
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic disorder that affects the large intestine causing gas, bloat, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms that range from mild to severe. It is the most common functional gastrointestinal disorder (FBD), affecting an estimated 10% to 15% of the world's population. (2)
Research shows that altered gut microbiota composition contributes to symptom creation. For this reason, probiotics that manipulate gut bacteria should be able to relieve these symptoms. Right?
Yes, but it depends on the type of probiotic bacteria. Though research results are mixed, there is scientific evidence that L. acidophilus may help relieve the most common IBS symptoms. However, multi-strain probiotics, especially those that included L. acidophilus, seemed to be the most effective. (3)
2. Digestive Issues
Studies suggest that L. acidophilus may be effective at reducing several digestive issues. Here are just a few of them.
In a double-blind, placebo-control clinical trial published in theJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology, researchers administered Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Bifidobacterium lactis strains to IBS patients twice a day for eight weeks.
Bloating improved in the control group compared to the placebo group at four weeks and eight weeks, leading researchers to conclude:
"These data support the role of intestinal bacteria in the pathophysiology of FBD and the role for probiotic bacteria in the management of these disorders." (4)
We can assume that L. acidophilus played a significant role in these results.
In another study, 40 IBS patients were randomized into placebo and probiotics groups. The probiotic group received an L. acidophilus treatment for four weeks. (5)
The L. acidophilus treatment significantly decreased abdominal pain compared to the placebo group.
Diarrhea can be caused by many things: bacterial infections, IBS, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and it can be dangerous. After all, acute diarrhea can lead to dehydration due to fluid loss.
Several research studies suggest that L. acidophilus may help to:
Reduce acute diarrhea caused by various diseases (6)
Reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea (7)
Prevent traveler's diarrhea (8)
Constipation is one of the most common digestive problems in the United States, affecting about 16 out of 100 adults. However, older adults are at the highest risk, with 33 out of 100 adults age 60 or older experiencing this condition. (9)
acidophilus combined with B. bifidum has been shown to normalize bowel function in rats, (10) and similar results occurred with humans.
For example, in a study published in the Journal of Digestive Diseases, participants were randomized to receive a supplement containing L. acidophilus and three other probiotic strains or a placebo for four weeks.
Both groups showed more than a 20% improvement in their constipation symptoms. However, those taking the multi-strain probiotic supplement achieved normal bowel function more quickly than the placebo group. Specifically, their stool frequency and consistency improved faster than the other group. (11)
Researchers believe that a strong placebo effect was at play, accounting for the improved bowel function of the placebo group, as strong placebo responses are common in participants with bowel diseases.
2. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are conditions caused by inflammation of the digestive tract. It's pretty common, with an estimated 1.3% of US adults (3 million) diagnosed with IBD in 2015. (12)
The two major types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon (large intestine), while Crohn's disease usually affects the small intestine, but it can affect any part of the digestive tract. Both can damage the intestinal tract if left untreated for a prolonged period.
Recent research shows that L. acidophilus may help treat intestinal inflammation that causes this bowel disease. Specifically, it has been shown to rapidly repair the defective intestinal barrier that is often responsible for intestinal inflammation. (13)
3. Vaginal Yeast Infections
Vaginal yeast infections are caused by Candida, a type of yeast that lives on the skin and inside the body, in places like the mouth, gut, and vagina. Usually, it doesn't cause any problems. But if it multiplies quickly, growing out of control, it can cause vaginal yeast infections and other issues.
Some research studies suggest that Lactobacillus acidophilus may help treat these infections. There are a couple of ways it can do that. First, this probiotic bacteria creates lactic acid, and Candida cannot exist in an acidic environment. (The presence of lactic acid also keeps other harmful bacteria away.) Second, studies show that it can inhibit Candida's growth. (14)
However, L. acidophilus has shown to be much more effective at fighting bacterial vaginosis than yeast infections. (15)
4. Immune System Performance
acidophilus has been shown to enhance immunity in animal studies.
A 2007 study, for example, found that adding L. acidophilus to the diet of mice for 14 days resulted in an enhanced immune response. (16)
Another study in 2011 showed that L. acidophilus could be used to vaccine chickens against an anemia virus. (17)
Human trials are lacking at this time, but this research shows promise for the potential immune-enhancing effects of this probiotic bacterial strain.
Research shows a link between gut health and mood, that an imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. (18)
Indeed, several studies suggest that probiotics like L. acidophilus can reduce symptoms of depression. After reviewing and analyzing studies regarding probiotics' potential effect on depression, researchers concluded that they might reduce the risk of depression. (19)
Lactobacillus Acidophilus Sources
There are several great L. acidophilus sources. Lactic acid bacteria are used to ferment several foods, including:
Kimchi (fermented cabbage)
Fermented dill pickles
Kombucha (fermented tea)
Miso (a fermented paste made from soybeans)
Tempeh (fermented soybean dish)
You consume the Lactobacillus acidophilus your gut and health need when you eat these foods!
Yogurt. Though yogurt typically contains L. acidophilus, they are not always live. For example, heat-treating kills cultures. So to ensure you're getting the best health-promoting bang for your buck, make sure the yogurt you purchase contains live, active cultures. (It should say this on the label.)
Pickles. Most popular brands of pickles in your local supermarket are not fermented. Instead, they are pickled, stored in vinegar and brine. Fermented pickles will say so on the label. You can buy fermented pickles online from various outlets, at the local health food stores, or in the health food section of your local supermarket.
Well-Balanced Diet. To increase the L. acidophilus in your gut, you'll need to eat a well-balanced, primarily whole-foods diet that includes lots of nonstarchy veggies, nutrient-dense protein, and whole-food fats. A healthy diet helps the beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract to survive and thrive.
Foods to Avoid. You'll also want to avoid specific types of food for the same reason. These foods include the ultra-processed fare, sugars, fast foods, convenience foods, and sugary beverages. These foods feed your harmful bacteria, causing them to grow and crowd out the good kind.
Sauerkraut is one of the few foods that is both a prebiotic and probiotic. It feeds your good gut bacteria and provides a fresh supply of beneficial bacteria to your gut. (The word for prebiotic and probiotic food combination is "synbiotic.")
Side Effects of Taking L. Acidophilus Supplements
Lactobacillus acidophilus seems to be well-tolerated by most people, and side effects are rare.
In some cases, increased flatulence may occur, but it usually goes away with continued usage. However, notify your doctor right away if it doesn't go away or worsen.
Serious side effects of taking Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements may include high fever, chills, or other signs of infection. If you experience these symptoms, notify your doctor immediately for the next steps.
This probiotic bacterial strain may also trigger allergic reactions, though this response is rare. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
Bodily swelling. This is especially serious if the swelling occurs in the face, tongue, or throat.
If you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction, go to the ER immediately.
Finally, notify your doctor or pharmacist if any other unusual symptoms occur after you start taking this probiotic.
Introducing: Viscera-3 Postbiotic Formula
If you want to have more Lactobacillus species in your gut, you'll need an excellent postbiotic supplement like Viscera-3.
Postbiotics are the end product of the bacterial fermentation of fiber. When bacteria ferment fiber in the lower colon, they excrete postbiotic metabolites that researchers believe may provide most health benefits commonly attributed to fiber consumption. Incidentally, the lactic acid produced by L. acidophilus comes from fiber fermentation.
You can and should eat a sufficient amount of fiber to obtain the health benefits of L. acidophilus, but you can get more gut-healing metabolites by taking Viscera-3 daily.
Doctors from places like Harvard and Johns Hopkins are researching the "optimal" gut-health nutrient, TRIButyrate, also known as a POSTbiotic. That is why it is the featured ingredient in our breakthrough multi-factor formula, Viscera-3.
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