Lactobacillus is a species of bacteria and some normally live in your mouth, small intestine and vagina. There are many different strains of Lactobacillus, several of which are beneficial to your health. So, they are considered “good” bacteria and are touted as probiotic.
Generally, Lactobacillus may benefit you by aiding in digestion, synthesizing vitamins, absorption of nutrients, boosting the immune system and preventing harmful pathogen growth for maintenance of healthy vaginal and intestinal flora. Because of these and other benefits, this bacteria is used by many in the treatment of or lowering risk for:
- oral thrush
- Lyme disease
- lactose intolerance
- respiratory infections
- bacterial vaginosis, vaginal yeast infection
- skin conditions ~ fever blister, canker sore, acne, hives, atopic dermatitis
- digestive problems, inflammatory bowel disease ~ IBS, Crohn’s disease, colitis, ulcers
- diarrhea associated with infectious diseases, antibiotic use ~ rotavirus (children), traveler’s diarrhea, gastroenteritis (adult)
Research confirms lactobacillus acidophilus likely benefits in treatment of bacterial vaginosis and diarrhea. Whereas, other probiotic uses of lactobacillus are inconclusive.
The most commonly used Lactobacillus probiotic is L. acidophilus. Yet, there are others that potentially offer benefits in treatment. The primary dietary sources of Lactobacillus is in fermented foods, for instance yogurt, cheese, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, pickles, beer, wine, cider, kimchi and chocolate.
Lactobacillus is generally considered safe for most, albeit this probiotic can cause you gas, bloating, dyspepsia and diarrhea side effects. Lactobacillus supplements are not recommended if you suffer from intestinal damage, a weakened immune system or intestinal bacteria overgrowth health conditions.