Quantcast

9 Ways This Probiotic Can Benefit Your Health

Popular
iStock

By Ruairi Robertson

Probiotics are becoming popular food supplements.

Interestingly, each probiotic can have different effects on your body.


Lactobacillus acidophilus is one of the most common types of probiotics and can be found in fermented foods, yogurt and supplements.

What Is Lactobacillus Acidophilus?

Lactobacillus acidophilus is a type of bacteria found in your intestines.

It's a member of the Lactobacillus genus of bacteria and it plays an important role in human health (1).

Its name gives an indication of what it produces—lactic acid. It does this by producing an enzyme called lactase. Lactase breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk, into lactic acid.

Lactobacillus acidophilus is also sometimes referred to as L. acidophilus or simply acidophilus.

Lactobacilli, particularly L. acidophilus, are often used as probiotics.

The World Health Organization defines probiotics as "live micro-organisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host" (2).

Unfortunately, food manufacturers have overused the word "probiotic," applying it to bacteria that haven't been scientifically proven to have any specific health benefits.

This has led the European Food Safety Authority to ban the word "probiotic" on all foods in the EU.

L. acidophilus has been extensively studied as a probiotic and evidence has shown that it may provide a number of health benefits. However, there are many different strains of L. acidophilus and they can each have different effects on your body (3).

In addition to probiotic supplements, L. acidophilus can be found naturally in a number of fermented foods, including sauerkraut, miso and tempeh.

Also, it's added to other foods like cheese and yogurt as a probiotic.

How to Reap the Most from L. Acidophilus

L. acidophilus is a normal bacteria in healthy intestines, but you can reap a number of health benefits by taking it as a supplement or consuming foods that contain it.

L. acidophilus can be consumed in probiotic supplements, either on its own or in combination with other probiotics or prebiotics.

However, it's also found in a number of foods, particularly fermented foods.

The best food sources of L. acidophilus are:

  • Yogurt: Yogurt is typically made from bacteria such as L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus. Some yogurts also contain L. acidophilus, but only those that list it in the ingredients and state "live and active cultures."
  • Kefir: Kefir is made of "grains" of bacteria and yeast, which can be added to milk or water to produce a healthy fermented drink. The types of bacteria and yeast in kefir can vary, but it commonly contains L. acidophilus, among others.
  • Miso: Miso is a paste originating from Japan that is made by fermenting soybeans. Although the primary microbe in miso is a fungus called Aspergillus oryzae, miso can also contain many bacteria, including L. acidophilus.
  • Tempeh: Tempeh is another food made from fermented soybeans. It can contain a number of different microorganisms, including L. acidophilus.
  • Cheese: Different varieties of cheese are produced by using different bacteria. L. acidophilus is not commonly used as a cheese starter culture, but a number of studies have examined the effects of adding it as a probiotic (54).
  • Sauerkraut: Sauerkraut is a fermented food made from cabbage. Most of the bacteria in sauerkraut are Lactobacillus species, including L. acidophilus (55).

Other than food, the best way to get L. acidophilus is directly through supplements.

A number of L. acidophilus probiotic supplements are available, either on their own or in combination with other probiotics. Aim for a probiotic with at least one billion CFUs per serving.

If taking a probiotic, it's usually best to do so with a meal, ideally breakfast.

If you are new to probiotics, try taking them once daily for a week or two and then assess how you feel before continuing.

Summary: L. acidophilus can be taken as a probiotic supplement, but it's also found in high quantities in a number of fermented foods.

The Bottom Line

L. acidophilus is a probotic bacteria that's normally found in your intestines and crucial to health.

Due to its ability to produce lactic acid and interact with your immune system, it may help prevent and treat symptoms of various diseases.

In order to increase L. acidophilus in your intestines, eat fermented foods, including those listed above.

Alternatively, L. acidophilus supplements can be beneficial, especially if you suffer from one of the disorders mentioned in this article.

Whether it's obtained through foods or supplements, L. acidophilus can provide health benefits for everyone.

Below are nine ways in which Lactobacillus acidophilus may benefit your health.

1. It May Help Reduce Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels may increase the risk of heart disease. This is especially true for "bad" LDL cholesterol.

Fortunately, studies suggest that certain probiotics can help reduce cholesterol levels and that L. acidophilus may be more effective than other types of probiotics (4, 5).

Some of these studies have examined probiotics on their own, while others have used milk drinks fermented by probiotics.

One study found that taking L. acidophilus and another probiotic for six weeks significantly lowered total and LDL cholesterol, but also "good" HDL cholesterol (6).

A similar six-week study found that L. acidophilus on its own had no effect (7).

However, there is evidence that combining L. acidophilus with prebiotics, or indigestible carbs that help good bacteria grow, can help increase HDL cholesterol and lower blood sugar.

This has been demonstrated in studies using probiotics and prebiotics, both as supplements and in fermented milk drinks (8).

Furthermore, a number of other studies have shown that yogurt supplemented with L. acidophilus helped reduce cholesterol levels by up to 7 percent more than ordinary yogurt (9, 10, 11, 12).

This suggests that L. acidophilus—not another ingredient in the yogurt—was responsible for the beneficial effect.

Summary: L. acidophilus consumed on its own, in milk or yogurt or in combination with prebiotics may help lower cholesterol.


Next Page

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Micromobility is the future of transportation in cities, but cities and investors need to plan ahead to avoid challenges. Jonny Kennaugh / Unsplash

By Carlo Ratti, Ida Auken

On the window of a bike shop in Copenhagen, a sign reads: Your next car is a bike.

Read More Show Less
An American flag waves in the wind at the Phillip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, California on May 17 where a trial against Monsanto took place. Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. JOSH EDELSON / AFP / Getty Images

By Carey Gillam

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine's repeated use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Butterfly habitats have fallen 77 percent in the last 50 years. Pixabay / Pexels

The last 50 years have been brutal for wildlife. Animals have lost their habitats and seen their numbers plummet. Now a new report from a British conservation group warns that habitat destruction and increased pesticide use has on a trajectory for an "insect apocalypse," which will have dire consequences for humans and all life on Earth, as The Guardian reported.

Read More Show Less
Six of the nineteen wind turbines which were installed on Frodsham Marsh, near the coal-powered Fiddler's Ferry power station, in Helsby, England on Feb. 7, 2017.

Sales of electric cars are surging and the world is generating more and more power from renewable sources, but it is not enough to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to stop the global climate crisis, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Read More Show Less
"Globally, we're starting to see examples of retailers moving away from plastics and throwaway packaging, but not at the urgency and scale needed to address this crisis." Greenpeace

By Jake Johnson

A Greenpeace report released Tuesday uses a hypothetical "Smart Supermarket" that has done away with environmentally damaging single-use plastics to outline a possible future in which the world's oceans and communities are free of bags, bottles, packaging and other harmful plastic pollutants.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Children are forced to wear masks due to the toxic smoke from peat land fires in Indonesia. Aulia Erlangga / CIFOR

By Irene Banos Ruiz

Pediatricians in New Delhi, India, say children's lungs are no longer pink, but black.

Our warming planet is already impacting the health of the world's children and will shape the future of an entire generation if we fail to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (35.6°F), the 2019 Lancet Countdown Report on health and climate change shows.

Read More Show Less
Private homes surround a 20 inch gas liquids pipeline which is part of the Mariner East II project on Oct. 5, 2017 in Marchwood, Penn. Robert Nickelsberg / Getty Images

The FBI is looking into how the state of Pennsylvania granted permits for a controversial natural gas pipeline as part of a corruption investigation, the AP reports.

Read More Show Less
Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles. Carolina Wild Ones / Facebook

Three cows who were washed off their North Carolina island by Hurricane Dorian have been found alive after swimming at least two miles, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less