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What is L. acidophilus?

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Lactobacillus acidophilus is a form of bacteria that occurs naturally in the body in areas such as the mouth, vagina and intestines, according to Mayo Clinic. Although it lacks the ability to produce other vitamins and amino acids, L. acidophilus produces lactase and vitamin K, which render it healthy to the body.

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Because of its inability to produce other vitamins and amino acids other than vitamin K and lactase, most of L. acidophilus occur in the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, an area rich in the nutrients that the bacteria cannot make, explains Mayo Clinic. An individual can get L. acidophilus by eating fermented foods, such as yogurt and soy products.

L. acidophilus acts as a probiotic and as a treatment of vaginal infections, notes Mayo Clinic. Although it is claimed to be useful in the treatment of such conditions as brain disorders, diarrhea, asthma, lactose digestion and irritable bowel syndrome, no clear evidence exists to back up its effectiveness in the treatment of such conditions, as of 2015. Despite being safe generally, L. acidophilus is not suitable for sufferers of intestinal damage, intestinal bacterial overgrowth and immune disorders. This is because the bacteria is likely to leave the gastrointestinal tract, leading to multiple organ failures in such patients.

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