Lactobacillus Acidophilus

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-03-17 (EDT)

See Also Food Supplements

Acidophilus, or Lactobacillus acidophilus, is a naturally occurring bacteria in the human intestines, mouth, and vagina. Acidophilus bacteria are a part of a larger group of microorganisms known as the intestinal flora which are important for maintaining healthy digestion and a healthy digestive tract. It is a commonly prescribed probiotic and has been prescribed for a wide range of disorders and diseases.[1]

Food Sources

The following foods have the highest concentration of acidophilus.

  • yogurt and kefir (a fermented milk product)
  • miso and tempeh (fermented soy products)


The following are the primary uses for acidophilus:

Article Lactobacillus acidophilus DDS-1: Review of the evidence, IHP, October 2009
Article Lactobacilli and Cyclists, NMJ, [1], 2012 March
  • Prevention and treatment of vaginal disorders: Acidophilus is an effective treatment and preventive measure for vaginal yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. A small study found that a diet including daily ingestion of 8 ounces of yogurt containing acidophilus for 6 months decreased candidiasis colonization and infection in women with recurrent vaginal yeast infections.[2] Another study was done with a larger sample size in women with a history of recurrent bacterial vaginosis. Daily prophylactic use of a probiotic capsule containing acidophilus was proven to reduce recurrence of bacterial vaginosis and G. vaginalis risk. The treatment was administered for 7 days, then off for 7 days, then back on for 7 days. Positive results were seen for up to 11 months after the treatement.[3] The use of a vaginal douche containing acidophilus to restore normal vaginal flora has also shown positive results in terms of treatment of bacterial vaginosis.[4].
  • Diarrhea prevention and treatment
  • There are many studies to support the use of acidophilus in the treatment of acute diarrhea. One study showed that lactobacillus along with rehydration salts is an effective and safe treatment for children with diarrhea that has lasted longer than 24 hours compared to rehydration salts alone.[5]
  • fermented probiotic milk drinks containing a strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus may also help to prevent antibiotic associated diarrhea.[6]
  • A meta-analysis showed that probiotic preparations containing lactobacillus acidophilus may also be used for the prevention of traveler's diarrhea.[7].
  • Probiotics administered during pregnancy and while breast-feeding increases protection of the immune system which is promoted by breast-feeding and further protects against atopic dermatitis in the first 2 years of life.[8]

Other conditions which have been found to improve with the use of lactobacillus include:

  • It appears that acidophilus has some lipid lowering ability, however, the evidence is mixed and the positive outcomes do not appear to be that great. Two controlled studies found that Lactobacillus acidophilus L1 strain lowered serum cholesterol by 2.4% and 3.2%. This translates into a 6-10% reduction in risk of coronary heart disease.[10]. This may not be a large reduction but it is worth considering acidophilus supplementation within a more comprehensive lipid lowering treatment plan.

Prescribing Considerations

The recommended dosages have not yet been established. To determine what your specific requirements are talk to your naturopathic doctor or other trained medical professional.[11]

  • Acidophilus is available for adults and children in capsules, tablets, clotted milk, freeze-dried bacteria, heal-killed bacteria, probiotic preparations and yogurt.
  • It is also available for adults in the living form.
  • Acidophilus can also be prescribed to adults as a douche made of yogurt and water or tablets.
  • Acidophilus should be taken away from antibiotics.


Acidophilus is generally well tolerated and regarded as safe. The only considerations noted include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Lactobacillus GG has been used safely during pregnancy.
  • Breastfeeding
  • Lactobacillus GG has been used in lactation safely for up to 6 months.
  • Contraindications
  • Avoid in people with milk allergies due to residual lactose that may be present in small quantities from processing. Also avoid in people with weakened immune systems.
  • Precautions
  • Use with caution in people with short bowel syndrome, or high fever.


  1. Murray MT (1996) Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements: The Essential Guide for Improving Your Health Naturally , Prima Publishing.
  2. Hilton E, Isenberg HD, Alperstein P, France K, Borenstein MT (Mar 1992) Ingestion of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus as prophylaxis for candidal vaginitis. Ann Intern Med;116(5):353-7.
  3. Ya W, Reifer C, Miller LE (Aug 2010) Efficacy of vaginal probiotic capsules for recurrent bacterial vaginosis: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Am J Obstet Gynecol;203(2):120.e1-6.
  4. Drago L, De Vecchi E, Nicola L, Zucchetti E, Gismondo MR, Vicariotto F (May 2007) Activity of a Lactobacillus acidophilus-based douche for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. J Altern Complement Med;13(4):435-8
  5. Salazar-Lindo E, Figueroa-Quintanilla D, Caciano MI, Reto-Valiente V, Chauviere G, Colin P (May 2007) Effectiveness and safety of Lactobacillus LB in the treatment of mild acute diarrhea in children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr;22(5):571-6.
  6. Wenus C, Goll R, Loken EB, Blong AS, Halvorsen DS, Florholmen J (Feb 2008) Prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea by a fermented probiotic milk drink. Eur J Clin Nutr;62(2):299-301.
  7. McFarland LV (Mar 2007) Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler's diarrhea. Travel Med Infect Dis;5(2):97-105.
  8. Rautava S, Kalliomaki M, Isolauri E (Jan 2002) Probiotics during pregnancy and breast-feeding might confer immunomodulatory protection against atopic disease in the infant. J Allergy Clin Immunol;109(1):119-21.
  9. Saggioro A (Jul 2004) Probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. J Clin Gastroenterol;38(6 Suppl):A104-6
  10. Anderson JW, Gilliland SE (Feb 1999) Effect of fermented milk (yogurt) containing Lactobacillus acidophilus L1 on serum cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic humans. J Am Coll Nutr;18(1):43-50.
  11. Bralley JA and Lord Richard S (2005) Laboratory Evaluations in Molecular Medicine, Nutrients, Toxicants, and Cell Regulators Institute for Advances in Molecular Medince, GA.