The human body alone has about 500 probiotic strains residing mostly in the gut. Some have been more extensively studied than others. Lactobacillus acidophilus is among the few strains with the scientific research to back it up, hence why you see this probiotic in most digestive support supplements. What exactly are some of the acidophilus benefits as uncovered by research?
What Is Lactobacillus Acidophilus?
The probiotic acidophilus is a member of the lactobacillus genus, which consists of similarly functioning strains, such as L. rhamnosus, L casei, L. reuteri and L. plantarum.
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L. acidophilus is one of the few strains with enough studies behind it to warrant an entire post dedicated to it alone. This strain is also found abundantly in probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt, sauerkraut and other fermented edibles. It is one of the first identified probiotics, having been first studied in the 1890s by Nobel Prize winner Llya Metchnikoff.
The acidophilus probiotic can also be broken down further into sub-strains, which includes gasseri, gallinarum, crispatus and amylovarous, just to list a few. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll treat L. acidophilus as a single strain.
Aside from the gut, the probiotic acidophilus also resides inside the mouth and in the vaginal wall in women. The hundreds of available research show this strain has beneficial properties in all of these areas, which we will explore.
Acidophilus Improves Digestion
Most probiotic strains aid in the complex digestive process; acidophilus is no exception. Once food passes the digestive system, the probiotics aid in the food breakdown. Usable nutrients pass through the intestinal walls, while waste passes out the body through urine and bowel movements. Very few probiotics are involved in this intricate process because most do not survive the journey through the gastrointestinal tract. Acidophilus is one of the few strains that can successfully bypass the highly acidic stomach bile and gastric juices.
Studies consistently show acidophilus promotes gut health and also improves colon function. Research also reveals that acidophilus aids in the production of lactic acid. This lowers the body’s pH levels, making it slightly more acidic and uninhabitable for certain harmful pathogenic microbes.
Acidophilus Combats High Cholesterol
One of the touted benefits of acidophilus is its ability to lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. Research suggests this strain in particular may keep LDL cholesterol at a safe level, which in turn lowers risk of cardiovascular disease. Other studies, in fact, show that acidophilus and other strains in the lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium genus were beneficial for keeping heart disease at bay.
Acidophilus Treats Vaginal Infections
There is a reason this probiotic is often one of the strains listed in a women’s probiotic supplement. Bacterial vaginosis occurs when bad anaerobic bacteria crowds the vaginal walls and overruns the beneficial bacteria. This causes itching, odors, irregular discharge and burning during urination.
READ MORE: The Top 4 Probiotics Strains For Women
Since acidophilus is one of the good bacteria that resides inside the vagina, it makes sense to introduce more of this probiotic through your diet. Studies show acidophilus and other lactobacillus strains are beneficial as an antimicrobial treatment and preventing recurrences.
Acidophilus Treats Diarrhea
Another one of the acidophilus benefits is its ability to treat what is referred to as traveler’s diarrhea. An estimated 20 to 50 percent of travelers experience diarrhea at some point during their trip. The most common cause is exposure to foodborne bacteria. Travelers are especially vulnerable when traveling to underdeveloped nations with poor sanitation practices.
Studies confirm that acidophilus may hold validity as a treatment for acute diarrhea. With this in mind, it may be beneficial to keep a probiotic supplement in your luggage when journeying overseas.
What About Acidophilus and Dental Health?
Despite all of its benefits, some people have expressed concerns that this probiotic may also have a drawback. Some have suggested that too much acidophilus inside the mouth can lead to dental caries. This belief stems from the fact that the probiotic, as we mentioned, produces lactic acid. People reasoned that the acidity can erode teeth enamel.
First of all, lactic acid is far less acidic than other forms of acid, such as phosphoric acid and carbonic acid, which are found in carbonated beverages. There is no evidence to suggest that lactic acid’s acidity poses danger to your teeth. Of course, you still need to regularly wash away acids of any kind by brushing daily.
In addition, recent research now suggests dental diseases may be more due to a microbiome imbalance in the mouth rather than the presence of a single culprit bacteria.
Acidophilus Side Effects
Does any one probiotic strain cause side effects when taken in excess? Reported side effects are relatively minor and mostly dissipate within a few days. Nevertheless, some sensitive users do notice adverse effects that we must point out.
The acidophilus side effects — in the rare instances they occur — are as follows:
- Upset stomach
- Intestinal gas or bloating
- Hives (in severe cases)
An allergic reaction to probiotics in general is rare but not completely unheard of. It’s one of those unusual allergies. Fortunately, this also means it’s atypical, and 99 percent of the population have nothing to fear.
While the benefits of acidophilus are aplenty, we believe you can benefit even more from taking a multi-strain probiotic formula. Therefore, you should pay attention to the dosage as a whole. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific acidophilus dosage whether taking the probiotic alone or with other strains. Ultimately, it comes down to your reason for taking the probiotic in the first place.
Researchers suggest a daily acidophilus dosage of one to 15 billion CFUs, if taking for general digestive health. In any case, follow the dosage instructions on the supplement label, and you’ll be fine.
The Acidophilus Benefits Are a Vitality Contributor
Being that acidophilus is one of the most widely studied probiotics, it makes sense to use a supplement that contains the strain. This is precisely what you will find in Floracil50, along with other well-documented probiotics in the lactobacillus genus. Repopulating your gut with probiotics help restore digestive function to its peak “factory” setting.