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Acidophilus is a bacteria found in the normal intestinal flora. It is in a category of supplements called Probiotics. 

What are probiotics?

The digestive tract maintains a balance between healthy and potentially harmful bacteria. Healthy micro-organisms, also called microflora, are found in the digestive tract and have a protective role in our bodies.

When we grow older, use  antibiotics or corticosteroids, eat meat, travel, or have digestive disorders, the quantity of healthy microflora in our gut declines, and it is harder to protect us from disease.

In addition to its protective role, microflora helps to process vitamins, nutrients and digestive enzymes, like the lactase needed to digest lactose in milk and dairy products like ice cream, cheese and milk.

Acidophilus also helps in the elimination of heavy metals and other harmful ingested substances in our food, such as from the metal lining of drink boxes and canned foods.

Besides the digestive tract, microflora reside in other areas where mucous membranes are exposed to the environment, such as the skin, respiratory tract, genitals and urinary tract.

There are billions of live bacteria in the digestive tract, and about 1,000 billion on the surface of our skin. The number of cells in the body is around 10,000 billion, meaning that we have more bacteria in our body than we have cells. In the large intestine, there are at least five hundred different types of bacteria.

Probiotics, the supplement form of micro-organisms, have been used for years to increase the number of protective microflora and to prevent and treat many health conditions. The most familiar form of is yogurt.

Two strains of healthy bacteria, Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, are found in yogurt, cheese, and other fermented foods. Daily ingestion of foods containing these bacteria have been suggested to provide health benefits including improved digestion and alleviation of constipation, better absorption of minerals, reduced blood cholesterol levels and possible protection from tumors.

Many strains of bacteria have been used in supplements. The most common strains are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium longum and the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. Of the beneficial variety, the Lactobacillus species is most prominent in the small intestine, whereas Bifidobacteria is found in the large intestine.

Vegetarians frequently have a better balance of “good bacteria” to “bad bacteria” compared to non-vegetarians who tend to have larger numbers of bad bacteria such as Bacteroides.

How do they work in the digestive system?

Beneficial strains such as Lactobacillus species and Bifiobacteria help prevent the harmful strains such as E.coli and Bacteroides from growing to a level where they can cause disease. This is accomplished by by creating organic acid and hydrogen peroxide, by crowding out other bacteria, by substrate competition, when they compete with harmful bacteria for nutrients needed for growth, and by bacteriocin production, which is the production of compounds that have a deadly effect on harmful bacteria.

Therapeutic Uses

Probiotics can be used when the intestinal microflora has been disturbed and digestive tract problems appear. Along with improving digestion and preventing gas, bloating, and bad breath, probiotics are useful when using some antibiotics.

While antibiotics are effective at killing the unwanted bacteria, they also kill many strains of good bacteria - including Acidophilus. Patients taking antibiotics become susceptible to colonization and infection by harmful digestive tract bacteria that can cause diarrhea. Probiotics can be used to restock the protective bacteria, and reduce the frequency of abdominal cramps and diarrhea. 

Probiotics in combination with antibiotics can help repopulate a healthy microbial population.

Immune System - Bifidobacterium has been shown to enhance the function of the immune system. Natural cellular immune functions are known to decline as we age, leaving great potential for immune enhancement. Research shows that supplementing Bifidobacterium Lacis enhances the production of immune system cells known to be active against viral infections.  Learn More About Probiotics.


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View Our Complete List Of Books About Probiotics
 The Probiotics Revolution: The Definitive Guide to Safe, Natural Health Solutions Using Probiotic and Prebiotic Foods and Supplements
 The Wonder of Probiotics: A 30-Day Plan to Boost Energy, Enhance Weight Loss, Heal GI Problems, Prevent Disease, and Slow Aging (Lynn Sonberg Books)
  The Probiotic Solution: Nature's Best-Kept Secret for Radiant Health
 Acidophilus And Colon Health: The Natural Way to Prevent Disease
 Acidophilus (Woodland Health Series)
 Acidophilus - A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide
 Prescription for Herbal Healing: An Easy-to-Use A-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies
  Herbal Remedies for Dummies

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