Acidophilus (Lactobacillus acidophilus), which is a bacterium found in the intestine, vagina, and mouth, is used as a probiotic.
Probiotics refer to good bacteria that are either the same or quite similar to the bacteria that are already present in the body. Each type of probiotic supplement, as well as each strain or each type, can work in various ways.
Acidophilus is available as a supplement as tablets, capsules, wafers, vaginal suppositories, and powders. Apart from use as a supplement, acidophilus is found in certain dairy products, such as yogurt, and is commercially added to many foods.
Acidophilus is usually taken to address a type of vaginal inflammation (bacterial vaginosis) and digestive conditions as well as to encourage the growth of good bacteria.
American Integrative Pharmacy (AIP), led by Dr. Neema Yazdanpanah, provides safe and proven compounding pharmacy treatments to patients in Long Beach, Torrance, Los Angeles, South Bay Orange County, Southern California areas, and nationwide.
Studies on the use of acidophilus for certain conditions indicate:
The use of acidophilus orally and as vaginal suppositories or the application of yogurt containing acidophilus to the vagina has been found to be effective in the treatment of this form of vaginal inflammation.
Acidophilus might be effective in reducing the severity and number of respiratory infections in children.
Certain types of diarrhea
Upon being taken with antibiotics, a blend of acidophilus and other specific types of lactobacillus might reduce bloating, cramps, and diarrhea caused by a bacterium that can lead to symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-endangering inflammation of the colon (C. difficile infection).
Additionally, the probiotic formulation might also reduce the occurrence of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and C. difficile infection in individuals who are hospitalized.
The oral use of acidophilus when a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding as well as by infants appears to decrease the development of eczema (atopic dermatitis) in babies and young children.
It Can Improve Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) impacts up to one in five individuals in certain nations. IBS symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, and unusual bowel movements.
There is little known about the reasons for the development of IBS, but some research indicated that it might occur due to the presence of certain types of bacteria in the intestines. For this reason, various studies have assessed whether probiotics can help alleviate its symptoms.
A study with 60 participants with functional bowel disorders, including IBS highlights that upon taking a combination of L. acidophilus and another probiotic for one to two months, there was an improvement in bloating.
In a similar study, results indicated that L. acidophilus alone also decreased abdominal pain in IBS patients.
Conversely, a study that evaluated a mixture of L. acidophilus and other probiotics found that it had no impact on the symptoms of IBS.
This may be explained by the results of another study which indicated that taking a low dose of single-strain probiotics for a short period may improve IBS symptoms in most patients.
More specifically, the study highlights that the most effective method to take probiotics for IBS is to use single-strain probiotics, instead of a mix, for less than eight weeks. The ideal dosage has been determined at less than 10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) daily.
Safety and Side Effects
The potential side effects of acidophilus are as follows:
- Increased thirst
Patients who are immunocompromised should consider speaking to their doctor prior to taking a product such as acidophilus that contains live bacteria. Lactose intolerant patients should be aware that certain acidophilus products might contain lactose.
Acidophilus does not cause any known significant drug interactions.
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