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Acidophilus and Other Probiotics
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What are Acidophilus and Other Probiotics?

Lactobacillus acidophilusis a "friendly" strain of bacteria used to make yogurt and cheese. Although we are born without it, acidophilus soon establishes itself in our intestines and helps prevent intestinal infections. Acidophilus also flourishes in the vagina, where it protects women against yeast infections.

Acidophilus is one of several microbes known collectively as probiotics(literally, "pro life," indicating that they are bacteria and yeasts that help rather than harm). Others include the bacteria L. bulgaricus, L. reuteri, L. plantarum, L. casei, B. bifidus, S. salivarius, and S. thermophilusand the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. Your digestive tract is like a rain forest ecosystem with billions of bacteria and yeasts rather than trees,...

Evidence from many but not all double-blind, placebo-controlled trials suggests that probiotics may be helpful for many types of diarrhea , as well as for irritable bowel syndrome . 1 Additionally, probiotics have shown some promise for preventing or treating eczema . 2 Probiotics may be helpful for controlling symptoms and maintaining remission in ulcerative colitis . 3 However, probiotics may be less useful for inducingremission; when probiotics were added to standard medications used for induction of remission, no additional benefits were seen in a study of people with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis. 4 Probiotics might help prevent colds , 5 possibly by improving immunity . 6 On a related note, one small, double-blind study found evidence...

Safety Issues

Probiotics may occasionally cause a temporary increase in digestive gas. But, beyond that, they do not present any known risks for most people. In one trial of 140 healthy infants, formula supplemented with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and probiotics appeared as safe as standard formula, and did not have any effect on infant growth by the end of the 7-month trial. 7 However, individuals who are immunosuppressed could conceivably be at risk for developing a dangerous infection with the probiotic organism itself; at least one person taking immunosuppressive medications has died in this manner. 8 In a detailed review of four studies, researchers concluded that the use probiotics did not benefit patients with severe acute pancreatitis. 9...