Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of bacteria found in the mouth, intestine and vagina. It’s a member of the Lactobacillus genus of bacteria and it plays an important role in human health, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora. Its name gives an indication of what it produces — lactic acid. It does this by producing an enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk, into lactic acid.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is used in many dairy products, sometimes together with Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus in the production of yogurt.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is commonly used to treat digestive disorders and vaginal inflammation, as well as to promote the growth of good bacteria.
When consumed in combination with other probiotics, L. acidophilus helps prevent and treat diarrhea.
Dietary supplements containing L. acidophilus are widely available as capsules or tablets.
In addition to use as a supplement, L. acidophilus is found in some dairy products, such as yogurt, as well as many fermented foods, such as sauerkraut. It is also commercially added to many foods.
Probiotic administration is associated with a reduced risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) by 42%.
Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of antibiotic-associated diarrhea: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hempel S et al. JAMA 2012;307:1959–69. Probiotics for the prevention of Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea in adults and children. Goldenberg JZ et al. Cochrane database Syst Rev 2013;5:CD006095.
Probiotics can reduce episodes of urinary tract infections (UTIs) and the number of antibiotic treatments by 79%.
Probiotic and cranberry supplementation for preventing recurrent uncomplicated urinary tract infections in premenopausal women: a controlled pilot study. Koradia P, Kapadia S, Trivedi Y, Chanchu G, Harper A. Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy 2019 (DOI: 10.1080/14787210.2019.1664287)
About 20% of women normally have Candida (a type of fungus) in the vagina without having any symptoms.
Vulvovaginal candidosis. Jack D Sobel. Lancet 2007;369:1961-71. (DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60917-9)
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