Acidophilus is a type of bacteria that is normally found in the digestive tract of animals and humans. It is a beneficial bacterium that helps aid digestion. Acidophilus is a probiotic, a group of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics have also been shown to increase immunity and are good for overall health.
What is acidophilus?
Acidophilus is also known as lactic acid bacteria. Its Latin and scientific name is Lactobacillus acidophilus or L. acidophilus. It is found mainly in the small intestines of most mammals. It is also in fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. Acidophilus is one of the helpful bacteria found in the gut. It is also part of a broader range of nutrients called probiotics because they help aid digestion. Probiotics and acidophilus help maintain the normal healthy balance between good and bad bacteria in the gut.
Why take acidophilus?
The human gut contains many types of bacteria. Many of them are beneficial for a variety of chemical processes in the body, including digestion and absorption of food from the digestive tract. The gut also contains bacteria that are detrimental to human health. Adding probiotics and acidophilus to the diet can help balance or restore a healthy gut flora. After taking antibiotics, much of the normal gut flora is killed off, along with any other bacteria in the body. Taking acidophilus after a course of antibiotics can help to restore the balance and aid in digestion. Acidophilus is used to maintain bowel health, to treat vaginal infection and diarrhea. It can also lower cholesterol and may improve lactose tolerance in those with dairy allergies. There is research on animals to suggest that acidophilus may even lower the risk of cancer but results have been inconclusive. Acidophilus does assist the body to make vitamin B and vitamin K. Research using acidophilus in treating breast cancer risk had no effect, while acidophilus may reduce the incidence of diarrhea while taking chemotherapy. A 2012 study showed that acidophilus can reduce the incidence of diarrhea while on antibiotics. There are no side effects from taking acidophilus other than possible short term bloating or gas. There is no standardization of acidophilus or probiotics and they are only effective if they contain live bacteria cultures. Most products need to be stored with refrigeration. The dosage is not determined but has been suggested to be between one and 15 billion bacteria per day.
History of acidophilus use
People living in the Balkan region have been discovered to have a long live span. Their longevity came to the attention of others in the late 1800s. The inhabitants of this region eat a lot of fermented dairy products. Scientists found discovered that there was a lot of acidophilus in their milk products they ate. That began the study of acidophilus as an aid to longevity and health.
About the author:
Melanie Grimes, CCH, is a writer, health educator and homeopath. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists. She has taught at Bastyr University and lectured internationally. Follow her blog at MelanieGrimes.com. To order professional quality vitamins, visit her online vitamin shop at https://www.healthwavehq.com/welcome/mgrimes.