Acidophilus (Lactobacillus acidophilus)
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/lactobacillus/NS_patient-acidophilus
Acidophilus (Lactobacillus acidophilus)
Natural Standard® Patient Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). All Rights Reserved. Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
Lactobacillus acidophilus belongs to a group of bacteria that normally live in the human small intestine and vagina. L. acidophilus is one of the most commonly used probiotics, or "good germs." These are microorganisms that help to maintain a healthy intestinal tract and aid digestion. Common food sources of L. acidophilus include yogurt and fermented soy products, such as miso and tempeh.
Multiple human trials report benefits of L. acidophilus for bacterial vaginosis, a common infection of the vagina. L . acidophilus has long been used as a therapeutic agent for gastrointestinal disorders. However, this and other medicinal uses of L. acidophilus are not supported by strong clinical evidence.
Acidophilus, Acidophilus Extra Strength®, acidophilus milk, Acilact, Actimel®, DDS-Acidophilus, Enpac®, Florajen®, fresh poi, Gynoflor®, Kyo-Dophilus®, L-92, Lacteol Fort®, lactic acid bacteria mixture (Oxadrop® or AKSB), lactic acid-producing bacteria (LAB), Lacto Bacillus, Lactobacillaceae (family), Lactobacillus acidophilus spp., Lactobacillus acidophilus yogurt, Lactobacillus LB, Narine®, poi, Probiata®, probiotic, sour poi, yogurt.
Note : This monograph does not provide an in-depth analysis of L. acidophilus used in combination products. Separate monographs on probiotics or other species of Lactobacillus such as Lactobacillus GG ( Lactobacillus rhamnosus ) are available.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Vaginal disordersStrong evidence supports the use of L. acidophilus to treat vaginal bacterial infections by applying L. acidophilus preparations directly to the affected area. More evidence is needed before a strong conclusion can be made.
Allergic rhinitis (hay fever)Although not well studied in humans, some research has suggested that lactic acid-producing bacteria, such as L. acidophilus , may reduce allergic responses of the immune system. Further studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
AsthmaResearch on the use of L. acidophilus for asthma is limited. Additional research is required before a conclusion can be made.
Diarrhea preventionIt is not clear whether L. acidophilus can prevent diarrhea in adults or children. Additional research is needed in this area.
Diarrhea treatment (children)It is unclear whether L. acidophilus (live or heat-killed, alone or in combination with other therapies) is effective in the treatment of diarrhea. Additional studies are needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Eczema (skin disorder)It is not clear whether L. acidophilus is effective in the treatment of eczema, although other bacteria related to L. acidophilus may be valuable. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Helicobacter pylori infectionIt is not clear whether L. acidophilus is effective in the treatment of H. pylori infection, although bacteria related to L. acidophilus may have value. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.
Hepatic encephalopathy (confused thinking due to liver disorders)Limited research suggests that L. acidophilus may be beneficial in the treatment of hepatic encephalopathy. Additional research is needed in this area.
Immune functionIn some studies, L. acidophilus was shown to have an effect on immune function. However, results are mixed. Additional research is needed.
Intestinal disordersSome studies suggest that L. acidophilus may be beneficial in the treatment of some intestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), when used in combination with other therapies. Additional studies are needed to investigate the effect of L. acidophilus alone.
Lactose intoleranceAlthough L. acidophilus and related bacteria are able to digest lactose, it is not clear whether supplementation with L. acidophilus is effective in the treatment of lactose intolerance. Additional research is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
Premature birth preventionOvergrowth of bacteria in the vagina may be associated with premature birth. Some evidence suggests that L. acidophilus treatment may be helpful in preventing premature birth. Additional studies are needed in this area.
High cholesterolSome studies suggest that L. acidophilus , when used together with other probiotics, may aid in the treatment of high levels of cholesterol and other fats in the blood. Additional research is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
A Strong scientific evidence for this use
B Good scientific evidence for this use
C Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work)
F Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work)
Uses based on tradition or theory
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Acne, AIDS, breast cancer, cancer, canker sores, cavities, chemopreventive (disease-preventing), colon cancer, constipation, Crohn's disease, diaper rash, diverticulitis (formation of inflamed pouch in intestinal wall), E . coli infection in cancer patients, fever blisters, gastric ulcer (prevention), heartburn, heart disease, hives, indigestion, infection, periodontal disease (gum disease), preoperative prevention of infections or gut bacteria loss, prostate cancer, thrush (yeast infection of the mouth), ulcerative colitis, urinary tract infection.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
L. acidophilus has been taken by mouth as capsules or tablets, clotted milk, fermented milk, a freeze-dried preparation, living or heat-killed bacteria, and yogurt. Treatments for vaginal disorders include: a douche made of yogurt and water; tablets containing L. acidophilus inserted directly into the vagina; a vaccine containing L. acidophilus .
Children (younger than 18 years)
L. acidophilus has been taken by mouth as capsules or tablets, clotted milk, freeze-dried bacteria, heat-killed bacteria, and a probiotic preparation.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Lactose-sensitive people may develop abdominal discomfort or other adverse effects from L. acidophilus -containing products, due to very small amounts of lactose left over from the manufacturing process. Avoid in patients with milk allergies.
Side Effects and Warnings
L. acidophilus is generally well tolerated with very few side effects.
Use with caution in infants, children, older patients, or patients with gastrointestinal disorders, short bowel syndrome, or high fever.
Avoid in patients with weakened immune systems or milk allergies.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Lactobacillus GG has been used safely during pregnancy (2-4 weeks before delivery) and lactation (for up to six months). L. acidophilus has been studied in pregnant women for prevention of premature delivery.
This patient information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
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