Lactobacillus acidophilus

Bifidobacterium; L. acidophilus; Prebiotics; Probiotics

Lactobacillusacidophilus (L. acidophilus) is the most commonly used probiotic, or "good" bacteria. Many healthy bacteria live in the intestines and vagina where they protect against the "bad" bacteria that cause disease. They do this in a couple of ways. For example, when L. acidophilus breaks down food in the intestine, several substances are formed (such as lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide) that create an unfriendly environment for "bad" bacteria. Health practitioners often recommend probiotics as a supplement while taking antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria, but don't discriminate between "friendly" and "unfriendly" organisms. So the balance between good and bad bacteria in the intestines can be upset. Some researchers think that taking probiotics helps restore the healthy balance of bacteria.

Other probiotics include several Lactobacillus species such as L. bulgaricus, L. casei, L. reuteri, Lactobacillus GG, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Streptococcus thermophiles, and Saccharaomyces boulardii (a kind of yeast).

In addition to probiotics, some health care providers suggest taking prebiotics. Prebiotics are soluble fiber found in some foods or supplements that help probiotics thrive in the intestine. Examples include fructooligosaccharides (FOS), a carbohydrate found in some fruits and vegetables.


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How to Take It


Possible Interactions

Supporting Research