Lactobacillus acidophilus is the largest group of bacteria present in the intestines, and it plays an important role in maintaining human health. It produces lactic acid by producing an enzyme called lactase, which breaks down and transforms lactose – a form of sugar contained in milk – into lactic acid.
Lactobacillus acidophilus is also used as a probiotic agent. Probiotics are living microorganisms which have beneficial effects on the host when administered in the proper quantities, according to the World Health Organization.
What Is Lactobacillus?
Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria which belongs to the group of lactic acid bacteria, a group of bacteria which converts sugars into lactic acid. They are friendly bacteria found in a variety of human body parts, such as our digestive system, genital and urinary systems. They live in our bodies without causing disease. They exhibit a symbiotic relationship with the human body which provides a nutrient source and, they in turn, protects their host from potential pathogen infection.
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Lactobacillus can also be present in fermented foods such as yoghurt and wine and are accessible as dietary supplements. They can also be used to treat genital infections, bowel irritable syndrome (IBS), stomach pain, constipation, diarrhoea, and eczema-like skin problems.
Lactobacillus can live in both aerobic conditions and anaerobic ones. Some examples of this bacterial species include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus delbruekii
- Lactobacillus brevis
- Lactobacillus casei
- Lactobacillus sanfranciscenis
Multiple species of bacteria live on the earth. While some may be detrimental to human health, others are beneficial and important for our survival, like the Lactobacilli species.
What Is Lactobacillus acidophilus Used For?
In the food industry some species of Lactobacillus especially Lactobacillus acidophilus are used for controlled fermentation in cheese, wine, pickles, beer, yogurt, cider, kefir, and kimchi processing.
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In general, Lactobacillus species have antibiotic and antifungal properties that help prevent other harmful bacteria from developing in our body.
Health Benefits Of Lactobacillus acidophilus
The health benefits L. acidophilus are numerous. So far, research has shown that Lactobacilli has many beneficial effects on the body which include:
Prevention of Diarrhoea
Bacterial infections are one of the many causes of diarrhoea, and they can be dangerous if left untreated for a long time as it leads to fluid loss and dehydration. Research has shown that probiotics like Lactobacillus acidophilus have the ability to prevent diarrhoea. It may also decrease diarrhoea associated with antibiotic use or caused by the Clostridium difficile infection.
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Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome is a gastrointestinal disorder that causes bloating, stomach pain and frequent bowel movement. There is no known cause of the disease, but it was speculated to be caused by some forms of microorganisms in the intestines.
Studies have shown the use of a probiotics mixture, one of which involves L. Acidophilus, the bloating condition improved. Other analysis also revealed that L. Acidophilus decreased abdominal pain in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome.
Improves Gut Health
The human digestive system is lined with a multitude of bacteria which play an important role in your health. Lactobacilli are important for the protection of the intestines because they contain lactic acid that stops dangerous bacteria from breeding in the gut.
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They also help the gut lining to remain intact. These bacteria can help the population of other beneficial gut bacteria, such as bifidobacteria, to increase. Lactobacilli acidophilus may also raise fatty acid levels, such as butyrate, which is essential for the health of the gut.
Prevents and Treats Eczema
The use of Lactobacillus products in babies and children has been shown to treat eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. It is also recognised that when taken by a mother during the final month of pregnancy, it stops eczema signs from occurring in infants. But not all Lactobacillus strains can have that effect. Lactobacillus acidophilus has shown to be effective against eczema.
Treatment of Constipation
Constipation complaints such as abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and frequent bowel care may be minimised through consumption of Lactobacillus probiotics for around 4 to 8 weeks. In some cases, it will even relieve the bowel movement. User reviews on the use of Lactobacillus acidophilus for constipation proved that the bacteria is good for the treatment of constipation.
Treatment and Prevention of Vaginal Infections
Use of lactobacillus acidophilus can treat vaginal infections such as vaginosis and vulvovaginal candidiasis. Usually, these bacteria are found in the vagina where they produce lactic acid which prevents the growth of other harmful bacteria and can be used to treat and prevent vaginal infections.
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Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Excess cholesterol will place one person at risk of having a heart attack. This is particularly true for cholesterol with low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Research has also shown that lactobacilli acidophilus is effective in lowering body cholesterol levels.
Prevents Airways Infections
Lactobacillus was found to prevent inflammation of the airways in children and babies. Lactobacilli have been known to minimise the risk of upper airway infections when delivered to babies and teenagers. In comparison, children between the ages of 1-6 years, when given milk fortified with lactobacillus, tend to have less and less serious respiratory symptoms.
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According to research, adults who consume fortified lactobacillus-containing milk are less likely to experience airway infections.
What Does Lactobacillus acidophilus Look Like?
They are a little bigger than 2 micrometres, see the image below? Slightly stubby rod-shaped critters.
A Gram Stain from a pure culture of Lactobacillus acidophilus can be achieved. You rub a drop of liquid culture onto a glass sheet, dry over mild [not burning hot] part of the flame using bunsen burner and then stain appropriately usingGram staining technique.
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What Is Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product?
Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Products are commercial products that contain Lactobacillus acidophilus. These Lactobacillus products provide many advantages, including the growth factors that stimulate and improve mineral bioavailability.
It also enhances and stabilises the mucous membrane, which defends internal organs and reduces damage to the intestines. By producing lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, it eliminates harmful bacteria and helps to foster a good immune system.
What Is Freeze Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus?
This is yet another commercial product that contains the Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria that are normally present in the stomach/intestines. This medication will help to maintain natural intestinal bacterial equilibrium.
This medication was used to treat diarrhoea and other stomach/intestinal conditions. It was also used to treat infections in the genital and urinary tract.
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What Is Lactobacillus acidophilus Good For?
Lactobacillus acidophilus is good for the natural treatment and prevention of diseases such as diarrhoea, intestinal bowel syndrome, respiratory infections, vaginal infections, gut infections, constipation, eczema, and other diseases.
They are applied industrially in the production of yoghurt, cheese, wine, and dairy products.
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