What Is the Probiotic Acidophilus?


Quick Answer

Acidophilus is a species of helpful bacteria that is found in the intestines and vagina, explains Drugs.com. It is sometimes used to help treat yeast infections and diarrhea from antibiotics, and it is thought to work by moderating levels of other bacteria in the body.

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Full Answer

Acidophilus supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA for safety as of 2015, according to Drugs.com. They are also not an approved treatment for any disease, and patients are advised to speak to their doctors before taking acidophilus supplements, especially if they have other medical conditions, or are taking other medications or herbal supplements. Research on the effects of probiotics is limited as of 2015, but some studies indicate that they may help treat diarrhea and atopic eczema, according to Healthline.

Acidophilus bacteria can also be found in many fermented foods, such as yogurt and kefir, according to Healthline. People who are lactose intolerant may be able to eat yogurt, even if they cannot tolerate other dairy products. This is because acidophilus and other bacteria help break down some of the lactose in the yogurt, making it easier for a lactose-intolerant person to digest. Patients who are trying to increase their intake of probiotic bacteria, such as acidophilus, are advised to include more yogurt in their diets. If the label reads "contains live and active cultures," then that variety of yogurt contains probiotic bacteria.

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