Benefits of acidophilus
Lactobacillus acidophilus is a bacterium that is fermenting sugars into lactic acid, which is used for manufacturing of many probiotic dairy products. Probiotic is generally understood to be food that is aiding in digestive problems, but in scientific terms it means that there are some microorganisms, like in this case the bacterium, which existence in the host organism promotes health. Probiotic in literal translation means pro-life.
Currently several other bacteria are included in the acidophilus term, most popularly Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus bulgaricus, which is being used in production of yogurt together with Streptococcus salivarius subspecies thermophilus, as well as several Bifidobacterium species.
1. Acidophilus improves gastrointestinal function
Acidophilus bacteria are very favorable to the intestinal flora and instigate the natural bacterial life within the whole gastrointestinal tract. This leads to improved digestion and to relief from any constipation and similar problems. Particularly the elderly seem to have problems with regular bowel movements, in such cases acidophilus milk and probiotic dairy products are recommended in order to regain proper digestion.
2. Acidophilus can boost the human immune system
Probiotics, also called lactic acid bacteria, are apparently promoting the production of Immunoglobulin A, an antibody found in mucous secretions. Other promotional activities in regards to the immune function have also been noted, like elevated phagocytosis, and a raised proportion of the natural killer cells ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬â€œ belonging to the group of cytotoxic lymphocytes ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬â€œ and the white blood cells called T lymphocytes. Pathogens can be inhibited in their growth through a process called competitive inhibition.
3. Acidophilus can lower the blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
In laboratory studies dairy products containing lactic acid bacteria were linked to lowered levels of overall and low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Other studies have shown that peptides that are produced during the fermentation process of dairy products with lactic acid bacteria mimic the properties of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, which result in humans as slightly blood pressure lowering.
4. Anti-inflammatory properties of acidophilus
While it is not really clear why probiotics can reduce inflammatory and hypersensitive reactions in the digestive tract, even prevent a recurrence of the inflammatory bowel disease, it is a clinically proven fact. It has been argued that the cytokine manipulation and the interaction with T lymphocytes may be the reasons for these results.
There is a multitude of other benefits of acidophilus, which require further clinical studying, like improved mineral absorption and even preventive treatment for colon cancer. Nevertheless, patient with already acute pancreatitis should stay away from any probiotics, because a study has shown increased mortality rates with this particular crowd. Probiotics also do not help in preventing childhood allergies and may be potentially hazardous in certain people with chronically weakened immune systems, even leading to a rare form of potentially fatal gastrointestinal sepsis.