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

Acidophilus and Other Probiotics Usage

Written by FoundHealth.


Effect of Acidophilus and Other Probiotics on Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza)

Probiotics are believed to help prevent infections through various mechanisms, including supporting the immune system.

Read more about Viral Upper Respiratory Infections (Colds and Influenza) and Probiotics.

Effect of Acidophilus and Other Probiotics on Lyme Disease

Especially during a round of antibiotics, probiotic supplements can help the body in innumerable ways. Since antibiotics kill of beneficial bacteria that is innate to the digestive tract,...

Read more about Lyme Disease and Probiotics.

Effect of Acidophilus and Other Probiotics on Lipid Disorders

Probiotics help populate the gut with "good bacteria." These bacteria play a role in the break-down of bile and the removal of cholesterol, ultimately helping reduce the amount of cholesterol in your...

Read more about Lipid Disorders and Acidophilus and Other Probiotics.

Therapeutic Uses

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 that use of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus fermentumimproved the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine. 7 (The probiotic supplement was taken in two doses. One was taken two weeks before the vaccine, and the other was taken two weeks after.)

Although probiotics are widely used to prevent or treat vaginal yeast ( Candida albicans) infections, evidence regarding potential benefit remains incomplete and inconsistent. 8 A small trial of 55 women with vulvovaginal candidiasis did demonstrate that daily Lactobacillus rhamnosusand L. reuterisupplementation for 4 weeks combined with single dose fluconazole (an anti-fungal medication) decreased symptoms compared to fluconazole alone. 9 Another large, well-designed trial, however, failed to find a Lactobacilluspreparation helpful for preventing yeast infections caused by antibiotics. 10 One study did find that probiotics might reduce levels of Candida albicansin the mouth. 11 The bacteria Gardnerella vaginaliscan cause a different type of vaginal infection; as with vaginal yeast infections, probiotics have shown some promise for this condition, but evidence remains inconclusive. 12 A trial of 64 women taking a single dose of tinidazole for bacterial vaginosis suggests that women who also took daily probiotics capsules had better cure rates at 4 weeks. 13 The bacteria Helicobacter pyloriis the main cause of ulcers in the stomach and duodenum. Antibiotics can kill H. pylori, but more than one must be used at the same time, and, even then, the bacteria is not necessarily eradicated. Probiotics may be helpful. Evidence suggests that various probiotics can inhibit the growth of H. pylori. 14 While this effect does not appear to be strong enough for probiotic treatment to eradicate H. pylorion its own, preliminary evidence, including several small double-blind trials, suggest that various probiotics may help standard antibiotic therapy work better, reducing side effects and possibly increasing rate of eradication. 15 Some, but not, all preliminary double-blind trials suggest that probiotics might improve cholesterol profile. 16 In addition, milk fermented by probiotics may slightly improve blood pressure levels. 17 18 Various probiotics might be helpful for allergic rhinitis (hay fever). 19 While there is some evidence that probiotics can help reduce symptoms of milk allergies, 20 one study found that adding probiotics to infant cow’s milk formula was not helpful. 21 One interesting study found that the use of probiotics during pregnancy and breastfeeding may decrease the likelihood that a highly allergic mother will pass her allergic tendencies to her breastfed infant. 22 One double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 70 people with chronic constipation found some evidence of benefit with Lactobacillus casei Shirota. 23 Another study found that Lactobacillus rhamnosuswas helpful for chronic constipation in children. 24 A small trial also found benefits in children, this time with a mixture of bifidobacteriaand lactobacilli. 25 In another study, a combination of B. lactisand B. longusshowed promise for improving bowel regularity in nursing home residents. 26 Finally, in a 6-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 274 people with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, use of a probiotic formula containing B. animalissignificantly improved stool frequency. 27 A preliminary double-blind, placebo-controlled study found evidence that Lactobacillus GGmight potentially be helpful for treating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 28 This small study followed 23 people with severe kidney disease who tested positive for vancomycin-resistant bacteria in the stool. (Vancomycin is one of the main “last-ditch” antibiotics for treatment of resistant bacteria.) Use of a yogurt product containing L. rhamnosusappeared to be more effective at ridding the gastrointestinal tract of these bacteria than placebo. However, the study suffered from a number of flaws, especially its small size. Note also that participants in this study did not have active infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria; they were carriers for it. Do notattempt to use probiotics as sole treatment for active infection with resistant bacteria.

On a related note, preventive use of probiotics does not appear to help prevent the development of resistant bacterial strains that may arise during antibiotic treatment. 29 Probiotic treatment has also been proposed as a treatment for canker sores and as a preventative measure against colon cancer , but there is no solid evidence that it is effective.

Probiotics have shown some promise for helping to prevent cavities by antagonizing cavity-causing bacteria. 30 One study found that giving probiotics to certain critically ill people could help prevent multiple organ failure. 31 One small, placebo-controlled study found that use of L. helveticusmight improve sleep quality in seniors, for reasons that are not at all clear. 32 An open study found hints that probiotics might be helpful for mouth sores caused by Behcet’s syndrome. 33 As noted above, probiotics have shown some promise in the treatment of infections with the yeast Candida albicans. Probiotics are also proposed for the treatment of a theoretically related, but markedly controversial condition, known as yeast hypersensitivity syndrome(also known as chronic candidiasis, chronic candida, systemic candidiasis, or just candida ). As described by some alternative medicine practitioners, yeast hypersensitivity syndrome is a common problem that consists of a population explosion of the normally benign candida yeast that live in the vagina and elsewhere in the body, coupled with a type of allergic sensitivity to it. Probiotic supplements are widely recommended for this proposed condition because they establish large, healthy populations of friendly bacteria that compete with the candida that is trying to take up residence. However, there is no evidence that yeast hypersensitivity is a common problem, and virtually none that it exists at all.

In one small, 12-week study, Lactobacillus GGfailed to prove more effective than placebo for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis . 34 Another study failed to find Lactobacillus GGhelpful for dyspepsia (generic stomach pain of unknown origin) in children. 35 A year-long open trial of 150 women failed to find Lactobacillusprobiotics effective for preventing urinary tract infections as compared to cranberry juice or no treatment. 36 Other studies, however, including a large (453-participant), 3-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a special healthy E. coliprobiotic, did find benefits. 37 A substantial study failed to find a mixture of L. casei, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophilusin yogurt and milk helpful for asthma in children. 38 But, another study found that the combination of a probiotic ( Bifidobacterium breve) and a prebiotic (galacto/fructo-oligosaccharide) may help reduce wheezing in infants with eczema. 39


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  2. Kalliomäki M, Salminen S, Arvilommi H, Kero P, Koskinen P, Isolauri E. Probiotics in primary prevention of atopic disease: a randomised placebo-controlled trial. Lancet. 357(9262):1076-9.
  3. Rembacken BJ, Snelling AM, Hawkey PM, et al. Non-pathogenic Escherichia coli versus mesalazine for the treatment of ulcerative colitis: a randomised trial. Lancet. 1999;354:635-639.
  4. Mallon P, McKay D, Kirk S, Gardiner K. Probiotics for induction of remission in ulcerative colitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (4):CD005573.
  5. Hatakka K, Savilahti E, Pönkä A, Meurman JH, Poussa T, Näse L, Saxelin M, Korpela R. Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial. BMJ. 322(7298):1327.
  6. Meydani SN, Ha WK. Immunological effects of yogurt. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71:861-872.
  7. Olivares M, Diaz-Ropero MP, Sierra S, et al. Oral intake of Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716 enhances the effects of influenza vaccination. Nutrition. 2007;23:254-260.
  8. MacGregor G, Smith AJ, Thakker B, Kinsella J. Yoghurt biotherapy: contraindicated in immunosuppressed patients? Postgrad Med J. 78(920):366-7.
  9. Martinez RC, Franceschini SA, Patta MC, Quintana SM, Candido RC, Ferreira JC, De Martinis EC, Reid G. Improved treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis with fluconazole plus probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. Lett Appl Microbiol. 48(3):269-74.
  10. Pirotta M, Gunn J, Chondros P, et al. Effect of Lactobacillus in preventing post-antibiotic vulvovaginal candidiasis: a randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2004;329:548.
  11. Hatakka K, Ahola AJ, Yli-Knuuttila H, et al. Probiotics reduce the prevalence of oral Candida in the elderly--a randomized controlled trial. J Dent Res. 2007;86:125-130.
  12. Falagas ME, Betsi GI, Athanasiou S. Probiotics for the treatment of women with bacterial vaginosis. Clin Microbiol Infect. 2007;13:657-664.
  13. Martinez RC, Franceschini SA, Patta MC, et al. Improved cure of bacterial vaginosis with single dose of tinidazole (2 g), Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Can J Microbiol. 2009; 55:133-8.
  14. Michetti P, Dorta G, Wiesel PH, et al. Effect of whey-based culture supernatant of Lactobacillus acidophilus ( johnsonii ) La1 on Helicobacter pylori infection in humans Digestion. 1999;60:203-209.
  15. Sakamoto I, Igarashi M, Kimura K, et al. Suppressive effect of Lactobacillus gasseri OLL 2716 (LG21) on Helicobacter pylori infection in humans. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2001;47:709-710.
  16. Anderson JW, Gilliland SE. Effect of fermented milk (yogurt) containing Lactobacillus acidophilus L1 on serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic humans. J Am Coll Nutr. 1999;18:43-50.
  17. Jauhiainen T, Vapaatalo H, Poussa T, Kyrönpalo S, Rasmussen M, Korpela R. Lactobacillus helveticus fermented milk lowers blood pressure in hypertensive subjects in 24-h ambulatory blood pressure measurement. Am J Hypertens. 18(12 Pt 1):1600-5.
  18. Seppo L, Jauhiainen T, Poussa T, Korpela R. A fermented milk high in bioactive peptides has a blood pressure-lowering effect in hypertensive subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 77(2):326-30.
  19. Ishida Y, Nakamura F, Kanzato H, Sawada D, Hirata H, Nishimura A, Kajimoto O, Fujiwara S. Clinical effects of Lactobacillus acidophilus strain L-92 on perennial allergic rhinitis: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Dairy Sci. 88(2):527-33.
  20. Pelto L, Isolauri E, Lilius EM, Nuutila J, Salminen S. Probiotic bacteria down-regulate the milk-induced inflammatory response in milk-hypersensitive subjects but have an immunostimulatory effect in healthy subjects. Clin Exp Allergy. 28(12):1474-9.
  21. Hol J, van Leer EH, Elink Schuurman BE, de Ruiter LF, Samsom JN, Hop W, Neijens HJ, de Jongste JC, Nieuwenhuis EE, Cow's Milk Allergy Modified by Elimination and Lactobacilli study group. The acquisition of tolerance toward cow's milk through probiotic supplementation: a randomized, controlled trial. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 121(6):1448-54.
  22. Huurre A, Laitinen K, Rautava S, Korkeamäki M, Isolauri E. Impact of maternal atopy and probiotic supplementation during pregnancy on infant sensitization: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Clin Exp Allergy. 38(8):1342-8.
  23. Koebnick C, Wagner I, Leitzmann P, et al. Probiotic beverage containing Lactobacillus casei Shirota improves gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with chronic constipation. Can J Gastroenterol. 2003;17:655-659.
  24. Bu LN, Chang MH, Ni YH, Chen HL, Cheng CC. Lactobacillus casei rhamnosus Lcr35 in children with chronic constipation. Pediatr Int. 49(4):485-90.
  25. Bekkali NL, Bongers ME, Van den Berg MM, Liem O, Benninga MA. The role of a probiotics mixture in the treatment of childhood constipation: a pilot study. Nutr J. 6():17.
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  27. Guyonnet D, Chassany O, Ducrotte P, et al. Effect of a fermented milk containing Bifidobacterium animalis DN-173 010 on the health-related quality of life and symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome in adults in primary care: a multicentre, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2007;26:475-486.
  28. Manley KJ, Fraenkel MB, Mayall BC, Power DA. Probiotic treatment of vancomycin-resistant enterococci: a randomised controlled trial. Med J Aust. 186(9):454-7.
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  30. Nikawa H, Makihira S, Fukushima H, et al. Lactobacillus reuteri in bovine milk fermented decreases the oral carriage of mutans streptococci. Int J Food Microbiol. 2004;95:219-223.
  31. Alberda C, Gramlich L, Meddings J, Field C, McCargar L, Kutsogiannis D, Fedorak R, Madsen K. Effects of probiotic therapy in critically ill patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 85(3):816-23.
  32. Yamamura S, Morishima H, Kumano-Go T, et al. The effect of Lactobacillus helveticus fermented milk on sleep and health perception in elderly subjects. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep 12. [Epub ahead of print]
  33. Tasli L, Mat C, De Simone C, Yazici H. Lactobacilli lozenges in the management of oral ulcers of Behçet's syndrome. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 24(5 Suppl 42):S83-6.
  34. Hatakka K, Martio J, Korpela M, Herranen M, Poussa T, Laasanen T, Saxelin M, Vapaatalo H, Moilanen E, Korpela R. Effects of probiotic therapy on the activity and activation of mild rheumatoid arthritis--a pilot study. Scand J Rheumatol. 32(4):211-5.
  35. Gawronska A, Dziechciarz P, Horvath A, et al. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of Lactobacillus GG for abdominal pain disorders in children. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2007;25:177-84.
  36. Kontiokari T, Sundqvist K, Nuutinen M, et al. Randomised trial of cranberry-lingonberry juice and Lactobacillus GG drink for the prevention of urinary tract infections in women. BMJ. 2001;322:1-5.
  37. Bauer HW, Alloussi S, Egger G, Blümlein HM, Cozma G, Schulman CC, Multicenter UTI Study Group. A long-term, multicenter, double-blind study of an Escherichia coli extract (OM-89) in female patients with recurrent urinary tract infections. Eur Urol. 47(4):542-8; discussion 548.
  38. Giovannini M, Agostoni C, Riva E, et al. A randomized prospective double blind controlled trial on effects of long-term consumption of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei in pre-school children with allergic asthma and/or rhinitis. Pediatr Res. 2007 Jun 25. [Epub ahead of print]
  39. van der Aa LB, van Aalderen WM, Heymans HS, Henk Sillevis Smitt J, Nauta AJ, Knippels LM, Ben Amor K, Sprikkelman AB, the Synbad Study Group*. Synbiotics prevent asthma-like symptoms in infants with atopic dermatitis. Allergy. ():.


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