There are number of bacteria present in your body, some are bad but there are certain bacteria that prove to be beneficial as well. Such bacteria ensure the proper functioning of your body and help you to fight against other disease-causing germs. Lactobacillus Acidophilus is one of such types.
It is a kind of good bacteria that is present naturally in some of your body parts like intestines, mouth or female genitals. These bacteria do not hinder any of the body’s functions, rather it produces vitamin K and also the enzyme lactose that breaks down sugars present in milk products.
Lactobacillus is also found in some food products like yogurt and all know that yogurt is good for the digestive system. This property of yogurt is mainly due to the presence of lactobacillus in it.
Some other food products that contain these bacteria are kefir, soy products and pickles. With its positive qualities of regulating the digestive system it is also a popular probiotic. As we know, probiotics function by providing good bacteria to the body that aid in absorbing the nutrients and, thus, provide required energy to the body.
Probiotics, at the same time, are helpful in maintaining a proper balance of the beneficial bacteria in the body.
Lactobacillus is basically used for curing and preventing diarrhea caused due to various reasons. Diarrhea caused due to improper hygiene and other germ infections like the one caused in children by rotavirus and traveller’s diarrhea are among the most recurrent we observe.
This probiotic helps in curing such problems efficiently. It also helps in treating diarrhea caused by the side effects of antibiotics.
What happens is that antibiotics taken for a different disease sometimes disturb your digestive system and when it fails to get back as normal, this imbalance results in diarrhea. For this type of diarrhea doctors generally avoid giving you another pill, so they prescribe lactobacillus probiotic for the same.
It also used by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy as they often encounter ill effects of the treatment in the form of diarrhea.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus is not only used for diarrhea but also it is generally used by people for other digestive issues as well. Some most common diseases that are usually treated by using this probiotic include inflammation of the colon, colic in babies, Crohn’s disease, overgrowth of bacteria in the intestines, irritable bowel syndrome and gut problem termed as necrotizing enterocolitis in prematurely born babies.
Indeed, the list of its use doesn’t end on issues related to digestive system only. Rather it extends its aid to fight against other diseases like lung infections in children, skin troubles with those children who are allergic to milk or ulcers caused by bacteria named Helicobacter pylori.
It is also used by some people to prevent common cold in adults and various infections like urinary tract infections commonly known as UTI’s, vaginal yeast infections. It is also used to prevent respiratory infections developed in children who are kept in daycare centers due to cleanliness issues.
Lactobacillus is also being brought in use to deal with skin troubles like canker, sores, acne, blisters and allergic dermatitis.
It is also used to control high cholesterol levels, lactose intolerance, hives and Lyme disease. It is also suggested that Lactobacillus Acidophilus helps in boosting the immune system and, therefore, giving your body the power to fight against diseases.
After looking at the list of all the diseases that are either cured or prevented by lactobacillus, the only question that comes in mind is, does it really work? And if it does, then in how many cases, for how many diseases? And again how effective is the probiotic in on a long term?
To get the answers of all these questions we need to turn to Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, as it doesn’t categorize effectiveness of any medicine simply into two binaries of effective and ineffective. Rather NMCD rates the effectiveness as per the scientific evidence which uses a scale to rate.
This scale gives us various possibilities for the effectiveness of any medicines and these possibilities are: Effective, Likely Ineffective, Likely Effective, Ineffective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, and Insufficient Proofs to Rate.
However, the scale set up for Lactobacillus Acidophilus range from Likely Effective to Possibly Ineffective, including certain diseases for which evidences are not sufficient. It is to pay some attention that the scale doesn’t say anything in surety about the effectiveness of this probiotic.
The categories of Effective and Ineffective are left empty which gives us a hint that the results obtained from the intake of Lactobacillus Acidophilus are not fully determined to be said as effective or ineffective.
According to the clinical research and the experience of people who used this probiotic, it is said that lactobacillus is likely effective for diarrhea caused in babies by rotavirus.
However, the positive results are not seen instantly for it is said that such diarrhea when cured with lactobacillus tends to leave the patient ‘about a half day earlier’ that the situation without any treatment.
As we know, probiotics have their own natural way of dealing with the disease unlike allopath and this is why it takes them time to deal with a certain disease. Also, it is advised to take larger dosage for better results during the first two days of the disease.
All the diseases that come under the ‘possibly effective’ division are those that are less probable to be treated by lactobacillus yet the probiotic does not prove ineffective for them as there are cases of such diseases to be treated by the same.
This category comes with the list of diarrheas like those in children caused by the reaction of antibiotics, of hospitalized patients who are advised to drink a beverage with lactobacillus casei, lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus in it, daily, two times for a week so as to reduce the risk, during travelling and for the cancer patients going through chemotherapy.
Colic in babies, lung infections in children, ulcerative colitis, IBS, eczema, stomach ulcers by Helicobacter pylori, vaginal infections caused by bacteria all come under this category.
Lactobacillus is possibly effective in treating and preventing these diseases which shows a positive response by the users who reviewed it to be more successful than the other similar products.
Now let us talk about the category of such diseases that are not much positively reviewed to be treated by lactobacillus. These diseases include Crohn’s disease and Lactose intolerance.
According to the sources, lactobacillus has shown to be less effective after taking any antibiotic in order to treat vaginal yeast infections. In this case taking lactobacillus rich food and tablets have shown negative results.
However, women taking vaginal suppositories containing Lactobacillus bacteria have come up with positive responses in a week.
For the other above mentioned diseases for which people use Lactobacillus Acidophilus, researches and experiences have not provided a firm basis to believe in the effectiveness of the probiotic. The results are sometimes positive and also negative at time and the probability has not provided a base to put them into any category.
Now arises the doubt about the safety of this product. Being a naturally made product, lactobacillus works in a very natural way which reduces the risk of producing any ill effects or it being injurious to the health of the individual.
However, it is generally suggested that before using this product for boosting your immune system or for bowel syndrome, you should better discuss it with your doctor in order to avoid any potential complications.
It is also considered safe for pregnant ladies and breast-feeding mothers, but you should always keep yourself away from taking any kind of risk before taking a medicine, be it herbal, organic or allopathic.
Lactobacillus should be taken according to the given directions written on the packet or as directed by the physician. You should always be cautious with the dosage taken so as to avoid any risk factor.
Lactobacillus comes in the market in tablets, capsules and vaginal suppository form. Liquid and powder forms are also available. It is advised that the tablets of lactobacillus should be chewed well before swallowing.
And also doctors warn you not to use different forms of the probiotic all at the same time. I would say before going for any kind of experimentation, you should always consult your doctor as it is no good playing with your health. You should not try becoming your own doctor.
Side effects or ill effects linked to the usage of Lactobacillus are not yet known as it has a natural composition which lessens the possibility of developing any side effect if taken for a short span of time. However, going by the research, some common side effects that may occur are gas and bloating.
You should nevertheless keep a constant check if you develop any allergic reactions on the body and must take the needed action instantly.