Probiotics are becoming popular food supplements.
Interestingly, each probiotic can have different effects on your body.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most common types of probiotics and can be found in fermented foods, yogurt and supplements.
What Is Lactobacillus Acidophilus?
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of bacteria found in your intestines.
It’s a member of the Lactobacillus genus of bacteria, and it plays an important role in human health (1Trusted Source).
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.
- Acidophilus has been extensively studied as a probiotic, and evidence has shown that it may provide a number of health benefits. However, there are many different strains of L. acidophilus, and they can each have different effects on your body.
Lactobacillus acidphilus ways to help your health:
- It May Help Reduce Cholesterol
High cholesterol levels may increase the risk of heart disease. This is especially true for “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Fortunately, studies suggest that certain probiotics can help reduce cholesterol levels and that L. acidophilus may be more effective than other types of probiotics.
One study found that taking L. acidophilus and another probiotic for six weeks significantly lowered total and LDL cholesterol, but also “good” HDL cholesterol.
- It May Prevent and Reduce Diarrhea
Diarrhea affects people for a number of reasons, including bacterial infections.
It can be dangerous if it lasts a long time, as it results in fluid loss and, in some cases, dehydration.
A number of studies have shown that probiotics like L. acidophilus may help prevent and reduce diarrhea that’s associated with various diseases.
A review of 12 studies found that probiotics are effective at preventing traveler’s diarrhea and that Lactobacillus acidophilus, in combination with another probiotic, was most effective at doing so.
- It Can Improve Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects up to one in five people in certain countries. Its symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating and unusual bowel movements (20Trusted Source).
While little is known about the cause of IBS, some research suggests it might be caused by certain types of bacteria in the intestines (21Trusted Source).
Therefore, a number of studies have examined whether probiotics can help improve its symptoms.
Specifically, the study indicates that the best way to take probiotics for IBS is to use single-strain probiotics, rather than a mix, for less than eight weeks, as well as a dose of less than 10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) per day
- It Can Help Treat and Prevent Vaginal Infections
Vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis are common types of vaginal infections.
There is good evidence that L. acidophilus can help treat and prevent such infections.
Lactobacilli are typically the most common bacteria in the vagina. They produce lactic acid, which prevents the growth of other harmful bacteria.
A number of studies have found taking L. acidophilus as a probiotic supplement can prevent and treat vaginal infections by increasing lactobacilli in the vagina, Eating yogurt that contains L. acidophilus may also prevent vaginal infections. Yet, both of the studies that examined this were quite small and would need to be replicated on a larger scale before any conclusions could be made.
- It May Promote Weight Loss
The bacteria in your intestines help control food digestion and a number of other bodily processes.
Therefore, they influence your weight.
There is some evidence that probiotics may help you lose weight, especially when multiple species are consumed together. However, the evidence on L. acidophilus alone is unclear (35Trusted Source).
A recent study that combined the results of 17 human studies and over 60 animal studies found that some lactobacilli species led to weight loss, while others may have contributed to weight gain.
- It May Help Prevent and Reduce Cold and Flu Symptoms
Healthy bacteria like L. acidophilus can boost the immune system and thus help reduce the risk of viral infections.
In fact, some studies have suggested that probiotics may prevent and improve symptoms of the common cold (38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source).
A few of these studies examined how effectively L. acidophilus treated colds in children.
In one study in 326 children, six months of daily L. acidophilus probiotics reduced fever by 53%, coughing by 41%, antibiotic use by 68% and days absent from school by 32%