11 Reasons To Take Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM Probiotic

Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM is a probiotic strain that has been around for quite some time. It has been widely used in yogurts etc over the last 40 years because of its safety record and the fact that it is "easy" to use commercially.

And, usually, that "ease of commercial use" would not be a good thing but in the case of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM this is excellent because it has great probiotic qualities.

The easiest way of getting enough NCFM is Theralac Capsules. My top choice and gives 10 billion cfu in each capsule (30 billion cfu overall).

It survives the trip through the stomach (not all probiotics can) and is good at adhering in the intestines. Like all probiotics it needs to be taken regularly as although it adheres well, it doesn't take up permanent residence.

L acidophilus NCFM is sometimes referred to as Howaru Dophilus. (Also know as La-1, NCK56, NCK45, N2, RL8KR, RL8KS and RL8K.) It is deposited with the American Type Culture Collection where it has the number ATCC 700396 (ATCC Safe Deposit SD5221).

It is also one of the two probiotics used in the 2010 "probiotic gouda cheese" study3 which showed enhanced immune support for the elderly.


Why take acidophilus NCFM

  1. It produces antimicrobial compounds
  2. It adheres to Caco-2 and mucus-secreting HT-29 cell culture systems1
  3. It survives the journey through the gastrointestinal tract in both healthy and diseased populations1
  4. It may decrease the risk of colon cancer as it has inhibited aberrant crypt formation in mutagenized rats1
  5. NCFM may help with lactose digestion in lactose-intolerant people when taken in adequate amounts1
  6. A blend of probiotic strains containing NCFM decreased the incidence of diarrhea in children1
  7. NCFM led to a significant decrease in levels of toxic amines in the blood of dialysis patients with small bowel bacterial over-growth1
  8. It adheres to cells in the vagina and urinary system which could be important in the fight against vaginal infections1
  9. It competitively excluded 3 pathogens that commonly cause urogenital infections - E coli (excluded by 30%), Klebsiella pneumoniae (by 11%), and Pseudomanas aeruginosa (by 30%)1
  10. It prevents the adhesion (by over 90%) of Enterococcus faecalis 1131 to polystyrene1
  11. L acidophilus NCFM has shown in animal studies to have an analgesic effect (reducing pain) in the gut similar to that of morphine2


Lactobacillus acidophilus supplements containing the NCFM strain

The important thing is how much of this particular strain of acidophilus you get in a supplement rather than the total number of colony forming units. The total MAY be made up of mostly one strain and very little of others. If the manufacturer doesn't state the amount of NCFM in the capsule or tablet then you simply don't know.

Theralac 30 Capsules - a multi probiotic containing 10 billion cfu of NCFM strain of L acidophilus and 30 billion cfu overall. A great probiotic and my choice for getting the best dose of this useful strain.

Intestinal Care DF - 90 - Capsule 6 billion cfu Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and 6 billion Bifidobacterium lactis.


What food is L acidophilus NCFM found in

This strain of acidophilus is added to many milk products, yogurts, toddler formulas and dietary supplements (capsules, tablets and powders) - the problem being that most of the products it is in don't actually state the strain.

The Science

Family: Lactobacillaceae

Genus: Lactobacillus

Species: Lactobacillus acidophilus

Strain: NCFM (also called Howaru Dophilus)

Obligately homofermentative (which means it ferments sugar to lactic acid)

This is a well researched probiotic.

Purity's Sweet Acidophilus Milk (USA)

Loblaws Pro Advantage yogurt (Canada) 1 billion total bacteria in every 100g. This link will help Canadians find the nearest Loblaw SuperStore.

Easiyo yogurt - (US,UK, Aust. NZ.) This is the brand I use to make yogurt.

Unfortunately, in yogurt it is usually at low numbers. To gain the good results that have been achieved in some trials with this strain, it needs to be taken at a higher dose. However, if you're a yogurt fan like me, and eat a lot of yoghurt, this is a great way of getting probiotic acidophilus every day.

The encouraging thing is that because this is one of the "easiest" probiotics for manufacturers to work with, it is added to many products - so sometimes you're getting it even when you don't know that you are!

Made by the Danish bio-based company Danisco but available world wide.

One other ther strain of acidophilus that you might be interested in is DDS Acidophilus.

Probiotics Containing L acidophilus NCFM



1. M. E. Sanders, T. R. Klaenhammer. Invited Review: The Scientific Basis of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM Functionality as a Probiotic. Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 84 No. 2 319-331 2001

2. Christel Rousseaux, Xavier Thuru, Agathe Gelot, Nicolas Barnich, Christel Neut, Laurent Dubuquoy, Caroline Dubuquoy, Emilie Merour, Karen Geboes, Mathias Chamaillard, Arthur Ouwehand, Greg Leyer, Didier Carcano, Jean-Frédéric Colombel, Denis Ardid and Pierre Desreumaux. Lactobacillus acidophilus modulates intestinal pain and induces opioid and cannabinoid receptors. Nature Medicine. Published on-line ahead of print, doi: 10.1038/nm1521

3. Fandi Ibrahim, Suvi Ruvio, Linda Granlund, Seppo Salminen, Matti Viitanen, Arthur C. Ouwehand. Probiotics and immunosenescence: cheese as a carrier. FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology Volume 59, Issue 1, Pages 53-59.