Lactobacillus acidophilus belongs to a group of bacteria that normally live in the human small intestine and vagina. L. acidophilus is one of the most commonly used probiotics, or “good germs.” These are microorganisms that help to maintain a healthy intestinal tract and aid digestion. Common food sources of L. acidophilus include yogurt and fermented soy products, such as miso and tempeh.
Multiple human trials report benefits of L. acidophilus for bacterial vaginosis, a common infection of the vagina. L . acidophilus has long been used as a therapeutic agent for gastrointestinal disorders. However, this and other medicinal uses of L. acidophilus are not supported by strong clinical evidence.
NB! The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
L. acidophilus has been taken by mouth as capsules or tablets, clotted milk, fermented milk, a freeze-dried preparation, living or heat-killed bacteria, and yogurt. Treatments for vaginal disorders include: a douche made of yogurt and water; tablets containing L. acidophilus inserted directly into the vagina; a vaccine containing L. acidophilus .
Children (younger than 18 years)
L. acidophilus has been taken by mouth as capsules or tablets, clotted milk, freeze-dried bacteria, heat-killed bacteria, and a probiotic preparation.
NB! There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Lactose-sensitive people may develop abdominal discomfort or other adverse effects from L. acidophilus -containing products, due to very small amounts of lactose left over from the manufacturing process. Avoid in patients with milk allergies.
Side Effects and Warnings
L. acidophilus is generally well tolerated with very few side effects.
Use with caution in infants, children, older patients, or patients with gastrointestinal disorders, short bowel syndrome, or high fever.
Avoid in patients with weakened immune systems or milk allergies.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Lactobacillus GG has been used safely during pregnancy (2-4 weeks before delivery) and lactation (for up to six months). L. acidophilus has been studied in pregnant women for prevention of premature delivery.