Examples of beneficial bacteria, commonly referred to as probiotics, include lactobacillus, bifidobacterium, streptococcus and bacillus coagulans. These bacteria all perform functions similar to those that naturally occur in the human body.
Lactobacillus is one of the most sought-after probiotics. There are more than 80 strains of this bacteria, the most common form being Lactobacillus acidophilus. L. acidophilus is readily obtainable through the consumption of yogurt. After consumption, it resides in the intestines and participates in the digestion process. As byproducts of digestion, L. acidophilus produces hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid, both of which prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Bifidobacterium is a probiotic that has been shown in studies to counteract Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria responsible for causing ulcers. Bifidobacterium has been shown to be helpful in repairing the damage done to the stomach lining by H. pylori.
Streptococcus thermophilus is utilized to start the fermentation process in many dairy foods. This probiotic has been found to provide relief for a variety of gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea and abdominal cramps. A substrain of the bacteria, Streptococcus salivarius, is believed to alleviate bad breath caused by bad bacteria bloom.
Bacillus coagulans is a probiotic found in dietary supplement form. There is not yet conclusive evidence related to its effectiveness, but it is touted as improving respiratory health and overall immune response.