Lactobacillus Acidophilus 101: Benefits, Uses, and More | Daily Dose - Physician's Choice
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  • February 19, 2021 4 min read 1 Comment

    You've probably heard that "good" bacteria can help digestion and improve your overall gut health. But what exactly is it? The best place to start in understanding gut-friendly bacteria is with Lactobacillus acidophilus (also known as L. acidophilus). 

    Often taken as a probiotic, L. acidophilus can improve a range of conditions, including digestive upset from medications, gut imbalances, or food intolerances. You can find this healthy bacteria in various foods and supplements, making it an all-star for sustained gut wellness. 

    Read on to learn more about what the science has to say about this helpful microbe, with tips to incorporate more L. acidophilus into your diet for a balanced gut and healthier body.

    What is Lactobacillus Acidophilus?

    The most important thing to understand about L. acidophilus is that it occurs naturally in the body. Most prominently, it's found in the intestines, mouth, and vagina.

    The primary role of this bacteria in the body is to facilitate proper digestion. But it also wards off "bad" bacteria that can cause digestive upset. It achieves this by releasing lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide during food breakdown, making it difficult for harmful bacteria to thrive. 

    L. acidophilus is an essential component of a healthy microbiome. A balanced microbiome is necessary not only for proper digestion but also for absorbing nutrients.

    Health Benefits of Lactobacillus Acidophilus

    L. acidophilus can be taken as a probiotic supplement for a direct supply to your gut. Probiotics include live microorganisms that benefit human health by improving the gut microbiome. Here's a look at the specific, science-backed benefits of L. acidophilus supplements.

    Improved Gut Health After Antibiotics 

    People taking antibiotics may experience diarrhea because antibiotics can kill healthy bacteria that regulate digestion and keep other types of bacteria under control. Typically, a person's digestion returns to normal after they've stopped taking antibiotics. However, continued use of antibiotics can cause lasting damage to a person's gut microbiome, causing prolonged digestive upset. 


    Woman holding her stomach in pain

    Improved Immunity

    Another benefit of L. acidophilus is its ability to stimulate anti-inflammatory and antiviral responses in the body. Specifically, one study looked at how taking a probiotic containing L. acidophilus stimulated the expression of intestinal genes that ward off disease and boost immunity. 

    This research suggests that maintaining a balanced gut with healthy L. acidophilus populations makes it easier for the body to fight infection. 

    Additional findings suggest that six months of probiotic supplementation with L. acidophilus can reduce the severity of seasonal issues in children. These benefits also reduced dependency on antibiotic use, which may help maintain a child's healthy gut over time. 

    Sources of Lactobacillus Acidophilus

    While L. acidophilus occurs naturally in the body, eating foods that contain this healthy bacteria can promote ongoing gut balance. 

    Fermented foods are the primary natural source of this beneficial probiotic, while other foods are fortified with them. Probiotic supplements can also provide a healthy dose of these beneficial bacteria.

    Foods with Healthy Bacteria

    The top nutrient-rich food sources of Lactobacillus bacteria include:

    • Yogurt. Yogurt is one of the most common probiotic foods available. Look for brands specifically designed to boost gut health and digestion, as they're likely to contain higher quantities of L. acidophilus
    • Kimchi. This Korean food is made with fermented cabbage, and it's an easy and delicious way to get more probiotics into your diet. It's often eaten with rice, seaweed, chicken, and other light and healthy foods.
    • Tempeh. Tempeh is a protein-rich ingredient made from fermented soybeans. It's often eaten as an alternative to meat among people on plant-based diets.
    • Sauerkraut. This fermented cabbage is often eaten with hotdogs or ham and is an easy way to incorporate more probiotics into a simple, quick meal.
    • Kefir. Kefir is a fermented drink akin to a liquid yogurt. You can eat kefir with muesli or cereal in place of milk.
    • Sourdough. Sourdough bread is made from a fermented starter, which contains healthy bacteria. Sourdough found at a local bakery (or homemade) will likely have more probiotics than store-bought bread, which may be more processed and therefore less rich in healthy bacteria.
    Man cutting tempeh on a cutting board

    Fermented foods are always a safe bet when opting to add more probiotics to your diet. However, beware of pasteurization. The pasteurization process kills healthy bacteria in fermented foods, so they won't carry the same benefits.


    Fermented foods don't fit into everyone's diet, and they're not something everyone wants to eat regularly. That's why supplements can be a smart choice for someone interested in adding more L. acidophilus into their diet.

    Probiotic supplements come in a range of forms, including powders, pills, suppositories, and more. When choosing a probiotic supplement with L. acidophilus, look for an option that doesn't include extra sugar, dyes, or additives. It's best to choose a natural supplement that won't upset your body or trigger any reactions.

    Side effects of L. acidophilus

    For healthy individuals, the potential side effects of probiotics containing L. acidophilus are minimal. Some report gas, bloating, or digestive upset when adding probiotics into their routines, but these often subside within two weeks. 

    As with any supplement, it is recommended to consult with your doctor before beginning a new probiotic regimen. This step is all the more important for high-risk or immunocompromised individuals, who are at greater risk of adverse side effects. 

    In Summary

    Lactobacillus acidophilus is a cornerstone of a healthy gut. 

    Many foods and supplements can help you maintain a balanced gut, but it's important to choose natural options that work well with your body. Once you've found the gut-healthy staples that work for you, you might be surprised at the array of benefits ahead.  

    Michelle Polizzi - Contributing Writer, Physician's Choice 

    1 Response

    Belinda Parker
    Belinda Parker

    January 18, 2022

    I am so pleased with how my body has reacted to the Women’s Probiotic. I am 69 and have IBS-D to the point I could not travel or ride in the car for more than 45min. Now it seems that I can finish my shopping and also in more than one store. Means I am home more but at least I’m not chained to the BR. Love how it makes me feel with confidence. My CBC is almost perfect and so much improved from the anemia I have had most of my life to energy and wellness I have not had in so long. I am now regular and have lost 15lbs in about 29 days. My Dr. wanted to know what I was doing, he was impressed. Still a bit gassy but it will pass as my body adjusts. Want to lose10lb more or more. Watching my diet etc. but love this product. BP

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