Probiotic acidophilus are beneficial bacteria from the Lactobacillus acidophilus family. There are many strains within this family and whilst all of them are good for you some have been proven to be of more benefit than others.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is the most widely used probiotic species in yogurt and most people either get them in yogurt or take supplements of acidophilus probiotics. Their effectiveness has been well documented in scientific studies.
Unfortunately the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) is refusing to allow the claims of many probiotics that have been submitted.
Respected probiotic researchers including Gregor Reid, PhD, director of the Canadian R&D Centre for Probiotics have condemned the EFSA's latest rejection of what they view as perfectly valid and significant science demonstrating gut health and immunity benefits especially.
So benefits proven in studies include:1
Reduce lactose intoleranceMaintenance of the GI microflora balanceImmune enhancement Stop harmful bacteria adhering Lessen cold-like symptoms in children
Our gastrointestinal tract is the largest surface area of the body and is lined with a single layer of tightly packed cells.
In adults, the GI tract is colonised by more than 1014 - that's a hundred trillion! - microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts) comprising more than 500 different types2.
The microorganisms living in the gut are vital for the development of a healthy immune system as a baby. Babies acquire their first "dose" of health enhancing bacteria from the mother's vaginal tract during the birthing process and from her skin whilst feeding. Whilst we are inclined to think of bacteria has being harmful and "dirty", the acquistion of bacteria from the mother is essential for the babies health.
As an adult, these bacteria are vital for the maintenance of our intestinal immune health. This microflora lining and living in our gastrointestinal tract is metabolically active and acts as a defense mechanism for our body.
Probiotic acidophilus support this lining by fighting harmful bacteria and helping to maintain the immune balance in the gut by maintaining tolerance to other helpful bacteria and food antigens.
Good strains that have been in medical trials and which can be found in some acidophilus supplements are:
Not all strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus are considered probiotic by the strict definition of the word, however, they'll all do you some good providing they are alive.
1. Yong Jun Goh and Todd R. Klaenhammer. Functional Roles of Aggregation-Promoting-Like Factor in Stress Tolerance and Adherence of Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2010 August; 76(15): 5005–5012. Published online 2010 June 18. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00030-10.
2. Eckburg PB, Bik EM, Bernstein CN, Purdom E, Dethlefsen L, Sargent M, Gill SR, Nelson KE, Relman DA. Diversity of the human intestinal microbial flora. Science. 2005;308:1635–1638. doi: 10.1126/science.1110591.