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Acidophilus Lactobacillus:
The Good Guys

What is Acidophilus Lactobacillus and what does it do? There is a war raging in the bowels of mankind. Acidophilus Lactobacillus is a friendly probiotic related strain of bacteria that lives in the gastrointestinal track. This bacteria promotes a healthy intestine in the midst of this battle. It maintains a balance of microbes allowing for a stable digestive environment.

Most people are familiar with antibiotics, which physicians prescribe to combat strains of bacteria which cause disease. In contrast, other strains of bacteria promote health and are called probiotics, from the Greek language meaning “for life.” Probiotics are live microbial supplements which beneficially affect the host by improving its intestinal balance.

Microbes are non-pathogenic organisms not capable of bringing about disease. These bacterium are necessary and naturally live within the intestinal environment. The acidophilus lactobacillus microbes transform commonly occurring sugars like lactose into lactic acid. This lowers the pH of the colon and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria that cause disease.

Lactobacilli stop toxic products from being reabsorbed. The increased acidity may help with calcium absorption. This lactic acid-producing bacteria combines with bile acids, heavy metals and carcinogens. It is then eliminated as waste from the body.

An abundant source of lactose is milk. However, lactose intolerant people may not be able to consume dairy products.

Although cultured milk products containing acidophilus may be lower in lactose they may still be too much for some people's digestive systems to tolerate. Fortunately, acidophilus is available in capsule form. To achieve optimal results one capsule should be equal to the beneficial bacteria in 10 yogurts or five servings of acidophilus milk.

Some other interesting facts about acidophilus lactobacillus bacteria are; it aids in the production of vitamins B and and enzymes(which break down lactose), detoxifies different substances and is colonized in distinct areas of the intestines.

It may be difficult to obtain enough beneficial bacteria in foods alone. Even if live bacteria are present, you would have to eat a lot of yogurt to consume enough bacteria to achieve an effect, especially considering the following:

  • Pasteurization kills many live cultures
  • Laboratory tests of several varieties of cultured milk products have concluded that the bacterial strains that should exist are in very low levels.
  • Cooked foods do not contain live organisms.
  • Beneficial bacteria cannot survive the acidic environment of the stomach.
Some of the following factors may contribute to the depletion of good bacteria and upset the balance in the intestines:
  • Antibiotics, which can kill good as well as bad bacteria
  • Infections (bacterial, viral, and fungal)
  • Diet (highly processed, low-fiber foods)
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Stress
Some things to look for when deciding on an *Acidophilus supplement:

lactobacillus casei, acidophilus lactobacillus

  • Whole-food derived: isolated cultures from dairy foods.
  • Broad-Spectrum: 5 types of lactic acid-producing bacteria:
    Lactobacillus acidophilus
    Lactobacillus bulgaricus
    Lactobacillus casei
    Bifidobacterium bifidum
    Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Potency: each capsule should be filled with 3-5 billion living organisms.
  • The capsule must be protected so that the delivery of these microbes goes to the intestines.

cultured dairy products

It is an intestinal war waged between good and bad bacterium. Advances in science have given us high quality supplements that we may use when our bodies don't get enough good bacteria. May the good triumph over the bad in all of us!

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