Lactobacillus Acidophilus - why lactobacillus is a "good" bacteria and how it is used to help your body and prevent other diseases.

Essay by Superman419High School, 12th grade February 2003

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Lactobacillus Acidophilus

There are an estimated several trillion friendly bacteria comprising over 400 species in the average human gastrointestinal tract. By body weight, each of us carries around nearly four pounds of intestinal microflora.

While Lactobacillus Acidophilus is probably the most well known of these, others you should know about include Bifidobacterium bifidum and B. longum. When the intestines are healthy, there are more friendly bacteria than "unfriendly," or pathogenic ones; you might think of this arrangement as a kind of microbial ecology in which species have their allotted role and population density in the intestinal environment.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus is the predominant friendly bacteria in the upper intestinal tract. Lactobacillus is the general (genus) name of the bacteria. Acidophilus is the particular strain. It helps reduce the levels of harmful bacteria and yeast in the small intestine and also produces lactase, an enzyme which is important in the digestion of milk.

L. Acidophilus is also involved in the production of B vitamins (niacin, folic acid, and pyridoxine) during the digestive process.

Not only can Acidophilus and other probiotics tune up your intestinal function, counteract antibiotic damage, and stimulate the immune system to function better when you're relatively well, but when you're ill, they can also contribute significantly to relief of health problems ranging from indigestion and diarrhea to colon and liver cancer.

Acidophilus, used in milk in grocery stores and also sold in concentrated form as a health-food product, consists of billions of live, beneficial bacteria, taken to change the flora of the digestive system and help crowd out harmful organisms. Most physicians do not take acidophilus very seriously, but regard it as a health food and do not mention it to their patients.

Several studies have assessed the potential of lactobacilli in the prevention or treatment of certain...