Commonly, bacteria are harmful to the human body. However, some bacteria do provide benefits. Lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic, is one of those bacteria, playing a key role in digestion and other functions in the body.
How L. Acidophilus Occurs
L. acidophilus occurs naturally in the gastrointestinal tract, mouth and vagina of humans and animals. The bacterium is also added to sweet acidophilus milk and yogurt and can be taken in pill supplement form.
What It Does
L. acidophilus ferments sugars into lactic acid, an enzyme that aids in digestion.
Along with aiding in digestion, L. acidophilus helps boost the immune system by maintaining a healthy intestinal tract. The bacterium helps maintain digestive flora, which helps prevent diarrhea, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Yeast Growth Inhibitor
L. acidophilus inhibits the growth of Candida albicans, a yeast which causes yeast infections in the body. While symptoms of vaginal yeast infection include itching and burning, overgrowth of yeast in the body causes headaches, difficulty in weight loss and retention of water.
Killers of L. Acidophilus
Antibiotics and some spermicides can destroy this bacterium. Consuming yogurt or taking probiotic supplements can help maintain the natural flora of the body. L. acidophilus should be consumed at least one hour after taking an antibiotic.