Lactobacillus acidophilus, or L. acidophilus, is one of the trillions of bacteria living in your digestive tract. These bacteria are also used in probiotic supplements to help support the naturally-occurring flora community in your gut

What Is Lactobacillus Acidophilus?

L. acidophilus is bacteria. They break down carbohydrates (specifically the sugar lactose) and produce lactic acid. Beyond being naturally found in several parts of the body, L. acidophilus is a probiotic used to support digestive and whole-body health.

L. acidophilus has been studied in-depth as a beneficial probiotic. There are several strains within this bacterial class, and each has a different impact on your body. This allows the bacteria to provide multiple benefits to your overall health.

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Your gut is inhabited by trillions of bacteria, most of which are there to promote healthy digestion. L. acidophilus produces lactic acid, which works to support the growth of good bacterial strains to promote a healthy gut balance for optimal digestion and nutrient absorption. This probiotic also produces short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, which play an important role in gut lining function and health.

Promote Healthy Bowel Movements

Probiotics help to support proper breakdown of food, which can help reduce occasional bloating and indigestion. This also supports healthy bowel movements because when food is properly digested, the body will be able to eliminate waste efficiently.

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Support Healthy Weight Management

The bacteria living in your gut help the digestive process, which means they can also support healthy weight management. Probiotic strains like L. acidophilus also promote metabolic health, which can stimulate fat burning.

Promote Healthy Cholesterol Levels

There are two types of cholesterol. HDL (good) cholesterol is important for transporting fat molecules through the body, and your body needs this to function. LDL (bad) cholesterol can work against your heart health goals. L. acidophilus is particularly effective at supporting healthy cholesterol levels to promote arterial, circulatory, and heart health.

Support Your Immune System

The majority of your immune system lives inside your gut, which makes gut microbiome health essential to immune system function. L. acidophilus, in particular, helps ensure the growth of the beneficial gut bacteria at the root of immune system strength. By nourishing the body’s natural defenses, L. acidophilus helps your body fight off seasonal and environmental threats.

Support Feminine Health

In addition to promoting bacterial balance in the gut, L. acidophilus also promotes balance in the vaginal ecosystem. This helps to maintain healthy vaginal pH and supports vaginal and urinary tract health.

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Taking Lactobacillus Acidophilus

L. acidophilus is available as a capsule or tablet supplement, and you can also find powder and liquid forms too. Before taking any probiotic, you need to consult your doctor to discuss any medical conditions or medications that can be affected. Always use a probiotic according to the instructions on the label or packaging. 

You do not want to use more than the label or your doctor recommends. Taking probiotics according to your doctor’s advice is  typically safe, but there may be temporary side effects, such as occasional bloating and gas. 

L. acidophilus is a supplement, so it is tested and regulated through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. There are a variety of brands on the market, and each offers different strengths of the bacteria. It is important to choose only brands that have a solid reputation and have clinically-studied strains.

When choosing a supplement, be sure to check the ingredients, and get a brand that offers the recommended dosage. If the CFU per capsule is too low, you may not receive the benefits of the probiotic.

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The Bottom Line

L. acidophilus is a beneficial bacterium found naturally in the human body. It can be taken in supplements or found in foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, and sauerkraut. As part of a healthy lifestyle, this probiotic can help support immune health, proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and more.