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Acidophilus Probiotics Bacteria

Probiotics are often referred as friendly bacteria and are found naturally in the digestive tract and vagina. These living organisms are believed to suppress the growth of other harmful bacteria, improve immune functioning, help the body to produce vitamin K and improve the barrier of digestive tract.

Acidophilus is included under the large umbrella of beneficial microbes collectively known as probiotics. Acidophilus may also be referred as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus or L. acidophilus.
Other types of probiotics include Saccharomyces boulardii, L. casei, Lactobacillus LB, Bifidobacterium, S. salivarius, L.acidophilus, B. bifidus, L. reuteri, L. bulgaricus, L. plantarum, Lactobacillus GG and S. thermophilus. There are more than 400 species of microorganisms present in the human gut; out of these Bifidobacteria are the most common ones. It is very important to strike a balance between the harmful bacteria and the beneficial bacteria where the main role of probiotics comes in. This balance largely depends on the diet (poor intake of dietary fiber), lifestyle changes, environmental toxins, infant feeding formula and medical factors (oral antibiotics) in a person’s life. If this balance is disturbed (dysbiosis) then yeast and unhealthy bacteria may flourish in the gut and increase the risk of vaginal yeast infections and infectious diarrhea. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that help to improve probiotic balance in the human intestines.

Sources of probiotics

Probiotics can be found in cultured dairy products and fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut respectively. It can also be supplied to the body in the form of liquid, capsule, powder or tablet form. Some health drinks containing acidophilus can also be found in the health stores or grocery stores. After ingestion these probiotics can sustain themselves by colonizing in the intestines, provided they are not destroyed by some factors like antibiotics.
Sources of prebiotics include inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides. Inulin can be found in asparagus, banana, chicory and onions.
There are no daily recommended doses for probiotics as it is believed that they can be sustained under normal conditions in the human body.

Use of acidophilus

Acidophilus is commonly used in conditions like diarrhea, traveler’s diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, constipation, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, support immune function, prevention from colds and cancer, lactose intolerance, natural cures, pouchitis, canker sores, side effects of radiation therapy and vaginal yeast infections.

Side effects of probiotics

It is wise to use probiotics under the guidance and supervision of a health care professional. Some side effects of probiotics include mild gastrointestinal complains like bloating or flatulence (gas). Serious infections with administration of probiotics are also possible and they may even interact with immunosuppressant medications.

Submitted on January 16, 2014