Probiotics (Lactobacillus Acidophilus)
Probiotics are defined as live bacterial microorganisms that confer certain health benefits to the host when administered. Health effects of probiotics are mostly exerted in the oral cavity, the respiratory tract, stomach, and the intestines. Although other types (strains) of microorganisms or their combinations can be applied as probiotics, Lactobacillus Acidophilus is widely used probiotic bringing numerous health benefits on digestive, respiratory tract and immune system. Lactobacilli species are important part of bacteria flora colonizing our gastrointestinal tract. The presence of Lactobacillus Acidophilus in colon is especially important for the metabolism of non-digestible carbohydrates (dietary fibers), as well as plant bioactive compounds (phytochemicals) that are not metabolized in upper parts of gastrointestinal tract.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome is a very common condition, characterized with the abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. Probiotics are assumed to help in treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and help in relief of symptoms. One randomized, placebo controlled study investigated impact of 3 week treatment with probiotics (Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bulgaricus) vs. placebo on the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. A total of 51 participants were included, and those treated with Lactobacillus species experienced significant improvements in the abdominal pain, including reductions in duration and intensity of pain.1 The authors of one experimental study provided explanatory mechanisms of beneficial effects of Lactobacillus Acidophilus on abdominal pain. They showed that administration of this probiotic, in experimental model of irritable bowel syndrome, induced the expression of opioid and cannabinoid receptors in intestinal cells, and, thus provided analgesic effects.2
- Diaz Ferrer J, Parra V, Bendaño T, Montes P, Solorzano P. [Probiotic supplement (Lactobacillus acidophilus and bulgaricus) utility in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome]. Rev Gastroenterol Peru. 2012;32(4):387-93.
- Rousseaux C, Thuru X, Gelot A, et al. Lactobacillus acidophilus modulates intestinal pain and induces opioid and cannabinoid receptors. Nat Med. 2007;13(1):35-37.
Treatment of diarrhea
A meta-analysis investigated the efficacy of Lactobacillus in treatment of infectious diarrhea in children. It analyzed the data from the randomized, placebo controlled studies (26 studies of which 9 met the criteria) which investigated the impact of Lactobacillus probiotics on intensity of diarrhea. As a result, this meta-analysis concluded that, in comparison with the placebo, children receiving Lactobacillus probiotics experienced significant reduction in both diarrhea duration and frequency.
Another, more recent study, investigated the in vitro ability of different probiotic strains, including Lactobacillus Acidophilus, to protect from retrovirus infection and to decrease diarrhea duration in pediatric patients. In vitro investigation showed that Lactobacillus Acidophilus exhibited the high inhibitory effect against retrovirus infection (most common cause of gastroenteritis and diarrhea). In addition, children treated with probiotics had significantly shortened the duration of diarrhea.
- Van Niel CW, Feudtner C, Garrison MM, Christakis DA. Lactobacillus therapy for acute infectious diarrhea in children: a meta-analysis. Pediatrics. 2002;109(4):678-684.
- Lee DK, Park JE, Kim MJ, Seo JG, Lee JH, Ha NJ. Probiotic bacteria, B. longum and L. acidophilus inhibit infection by rotavirus in vitro and decrease the duration of diarrhea in pediatric patients. Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2015;39(2):237-44
Beneficial effects of Lactobacillus Acidophilus intake was investigated in placebo controlled study in subjects with atopic dermatitis (n=49), as inflammatory condition followed by immune abnormalities. 8 weeks of Lactobacillus Acidophilus intake led to significant reduction of skin lesions as well as to regulation of levels of serum cytokines (as measure of inflammation). Another study investigated the effects of 24 weeks long Lactobacillus Acidophilus intake on symptoms of atopic dermatitis in 50 adult patients, comparing with the placebo. Similar to the first study, significant improvements in skin lesions were observed, accompanied with improvements in parameters of inflammation. Both studies concluded that Lactobacillus Acidophilus improved atopic dramatis symptoms and suppressed inflammation, suggesting activation of T cells (T lymphocytes, cells that play important role in immune system) as possible mechanism of action.
- Inoue Y, Kambara T, Murata N, et al. Effects of oral administration of Lactobacillus acidophilus L-92 on the symptoms and serum cytokines of atopic dermatitis in Japanese adults: a double-blind, randomized, clinical trial. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2014;165(4):247-254.
- Yamamoto K, Yokoyama K, Matsukawa T, et al. Efficacy of prolonged ingestion of Lactobacillus acidophilus L-92 in adult patients with atopic dermatitis. J Dairy Sci. 2016;99(7):5039-5046.
Other health benefits
Other health effects of Lactobacillus Acidophilus were mostly investigated in combination with other probiotic strains. For instance, one placebo controlled study investigated the impact of 2 weeks long intake of Lactobacillus Acidophilus with Bifidobacterium lactis on duration and incidence of acute respiratory infection in children. While incidence of infection was not decreased in children receiving probiotics (n=113), the severity and time to resolution of infection were decreased comparing with the placebo group (n=112).
Another study investigated effects of 6 weeks long intake of Lactobacillus Acidophilus with Bifidobacterium bifidum on lipid levels in patients diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia. At the end of intervention period, patients receiving probiotics (n=31) had significantly lower levels of total, LDL and HDL cholesterol comparing with the placebo group (n=33).
- Gerasimov SV, Ivantsiv VA, Bobryk LM, et al. Role of short-term use of L. acidophilus DDS-1 and B. lactis UABLA-12 in acute respiratory infections in children: a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2016;70(4):463-469.
- Rerksuppaphol S, Rerksuppaphol L. A Randomized Double-blind Controlled Trial of Lactobacillus acidophilus Plus Bifidobacterium bifidum versus Placebo in Patients with Hypercholesterolemia. J Clin Diagn Res. 2015;9(3):KC01-4.