The effects of probiotics.




Am J Clin Nutr.

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Bifidobacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus
Professional Data: Bifidobacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus


Lactobacillus acidophilus is a beneficial bacteria that primarily resides in the small intestine. Researchers think that maintaining a healthy "colony" of acidophilus is crucial for maintaining overall health. Small amounts of L. acidophilus occur in cultured food products such as yogurt and acidophilus milk. L. acidophilus supplementation may be especially useful for helping patients restore beneficial bacteria to the intestines after treatment with antibiotics. However, in order to be effective, many doctors suggest that larger quantities need to be consumed in the form of supplements.

While many bacteria can affect the body negatively, a few kinds are actually essential for well-being. The friendly bifidobacteria fall into this second category. Bifidobacteria are necessary for the health of the digestive and gastrointestinal systems. These helpful guests also contribute in a number of other ways that can support overall health. Bifidobacteria are instrumental in preventing the growth of unfavorable organisms in the body like yeasts and sickness-causing bacteria. To date, 28 species of bifidobacteria have been isolated from the intestines of humans and animals. They exist primarily in the large intestine although some also inhabit the lower part of the small intestine.

In Finland, researchers recently published a review, that inspected the use of probiotics in human disease. Probiotics, also catogorized as functional foods, provide a microbial stimulus to the immune system. These live cultures are characteristic of healthy gut microflora. These probiotics have been shown to help the gut by immune exclusion, immune elimination, and immune regulation. They have also been shown to stimulate resistance to microbial pathogens. The most proven beneficial use of probitocs is to aid in treatment of diarrhea. Other studies have provided positive results in assisting intestinal inflammation, normalization of gut mucosal dysfunction, and down-regulation of hypersensitivity reactions. Probiotics promote the body’s defense mechanisms. In diseases involving the gut dysfunction and inflammation, probiotics may offer tremendous benefits.1


1. Isolauri E. Probiotics in human disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Jun;73(6):1142S-1146S.