Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. acidophilus–acidophilus for short–is the most widely used probiotic, a beneficial microorganism that helps support gastrointestinal health in a variety of ways. For example, the byproducts of acidophilus (lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide) make for an environment that is hostile to undesirable organisms in the gut. And acidophilus also produces lactase, the enzyme that breaks down and allows digestion of milk sugar (lactose).
The University of Maryland Medical Center’s Complementary Medicine website provides a review of therapeutic uses of acidophilus and other probiotics. Here are some highlights:
–Treating overgrowth of “bad” organisms in the gastrointestinal tract (a condition that tends to cause diarrhea and may occur from use of antibiotics).
–Alleviating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and, possibly, inflammatory bowel disease (such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis).
–Preventing and/or reducing the recurrence of vaginal yeast infections, urinary tract infections, and cystitis (bladder inflammation). The best scientific evidence exists for vaginal infections.
–Improving lactose absorption digestion in people who are lactose intolerant
–Enhancing the immune response. Studies have suggested that consumption of yogurt or milk that contains specific strains of Lactobacillus or supplements with Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium may improve the natural immune response. Further research is needed to confirm these early findings and to best understand how the improved immune function may or may not help in warding off infections.
NYBC carries Jarro-Dophilus, a combination of acidophilus and other probiotic species together with a prebiotic (basically, the foodstuff that probiotic species thrive on). Note that this item needs to be refrigerated to maintain its effectiveness.
NYBC also carries Jarro-Dophilus EPS. This is a probiotic that does not require refrigeration. As reported on the NYBC website, a recent consumerlabs.com test of this product gave it very good marks!