Acidophilus is the term used for number of very important bacteria that helps us in digesting our food properly. The bacteria acidophilus belong to lactobacillus group. The bacteria got its name from lacto meaning milk (the bacteria ferments lactose or milk into lactic acid), bacillus meaning rod like and acidophilus meaning acid loving, so we get the meaning as acid loving, rod like bacteria. The bacteria grows very well in acidic medium at pH 4-5 or lower and at about 30 degree Centigrade. Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. bulgaricus, L. casei are some of the common acidophilus that are important. The bacilli are found naturally in whole of human body mainly in gastro intestinal tract, mouth and vagina.
Lactobacillus acidophilus can help us protect our body against many harmful bacteria, parasites and other organisms. Some of the strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus are considered “friendly to humans” or probiotic. These types of friendly bacteria are present in intestine, vagina and mouth and protect us against many harmful bacteria and other organisms. The breakdown of nutrients by L. acidophilus to hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid (and also some harmful byproducts) create a harmful environment for the undesired bacteria. L. acidophilus also protect us by consuming the same food that is used by other harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and thus not leaving enough nutrients for the harmful bacteria to grow and cause harm to humans.
Recent studies have suggested that L. acidophilus also helps us with additional health benefits like improved immune system, improving gastrointestinal function and by reducing vaginal infection by fungus (yeast).
Probiotic acidophilus nutritional supplements are available in powder form, liquid form, capsule and tablet forms. The probiotic nutritional supplements are taken orally preferably on empty stomach just before major meal (up to 1 hour before meal) The probiotic nutritional supplements are helpful in treating candida albicans infection, stomach upset, whole gastrointestinal upset, allergy and many more medical conditions. Some strains of probiotic bacteria can also be useful in treating IBS (irritable bowel syndrome; symptoms of IBS are constipation, diarrhea, cramps and urge to defecation after food) as recent studies in Ireland suggests and is approved by authorities in many countries for treatment of IBS.
In a recent study in Canada found certain things how probiotics act to help us. They found that probiotics acts by preventing the harmful bacteria to adhere to the wall in the gastrointestinal tract. They also prevent the bacteria to migrate to the lymphatic system thereby preventing an immune response.