Not all types of bacteria are bad for you. In fact, your body needs a certain amount of bacteria to function properly. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a form of bacteria that’s found naturally in the body, usually in the intestines, mouth, or female genitals. It’s considered beneficial to human health because the bacteria doesn’t cause disease. It produces vitamin K as well as lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose (the sugars in milk products).
This “helpful” bacteria is also a popular probiotic. Probiotics provide living bacteria that help the body absorb nutrients and keep a healthy balance of good bacteria. They help treat conditions like diarrhea, lactose intolerance, eczema, asthma, vaginal infections, and irritable bowel syndrome.
You can find probiotics like lactobacillus acidophilus in Greek yogurt. Learn eight ways Greek yogurt can benefit your health.
Where to Get It
Lactobacillus acidophilus and other probiotics are found in some fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, soy products, and pickles. You can also buy probiotic supplements in liquid, tablet, or powder form.
Eating yogurt is often recommended for people who are lactose intolerant. This is because yogurt has less lactose than milk and other dairy products. Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the probiotics in yogurt that’s responsible for “pre-digesting” the lactose, which makes it easier to digest.
To find out if a yogurt brand has Lactobacillus acidophilus, look for the bacteria name in the ingredient list. Yogurts that contain probiotics will have the National Yogurt Association's "Live and Active Cultures" seal.
Try a Probiotic Breakfast!
An easy way to get more probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus into your body is through a delicious morning treat. Tomorrow morning, try this delicious smoothie recipe, which is also low in calories:
- ¾ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- ½ banana, chilled
- 6 ounces plain or nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
What You Should Know First
Research on the effects of probiotics is still very limited, but there is some evidence that probiotics can treat short-term diarrhea and atopic eczema.
Probiotics are generally considered safe, and the most common side effect is extra gas. However, Lactobacillus acidophilus may be dangerous for people who have damaged intestines or a weakened immune system. Probiotics can also interact with certain medications, so speak to your doctor first.
Supplement forms of probiotics aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is a risk that harmful bacteria can contaminate good bacteria, or that the bacteria will die on the shelf before the product is sold.
Supplement companies may make false health claims or misrepresent a product to boost sales. Make sure you’re buying from a reliable source by checking the FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) websites for reports against the manufacturer.
Additionally, the supplement label should list the type or types of bacteria used. Look for the names and ask your doctor whether this strain might be helpful for your condition.
Although more research is needed, probiotics are often recommended by doctors for lactose intolerance and other various digestive issues. Talk with your doctor to see how Lactobacillus acidophilus or other probiotics can be a part of your treatment plan.