Acidophilus: A Bacterium You Don't Want to Avoid
Much of the advertising you see about killing germs and bacteria leads you to believe that all bacteria are dangerous and that we all need to be spending lots of money eradicating them from every nook and cranny of our lives. In reality, there are good and bad bacteria. 60 to 70 million Americans suffer from various digestive diseases, many of which are caused by or made worse by imbalances in the proper bacterial populations in our bodies. Acidophilus is a common organism in yogurt and cultured milk products, such as kefir. Such products are said to foster a healthy balance of bacteria in the stomach. Acidophilus is one of the helpful bacteria, out of about 400 types of bacterial organisms that live in our intestinal tracts, and, for women, in the vagina as well. Acidophilus is helpful because it aids in the manufacture of B vitamins and production of lactase and other antibacterial agents.
Without good bacteria, also called probiotics, living in the gut, digestive processes go haywire. In a healthy state, our bodies naturally maintain the proper balance. Some of the things that disrupt the natural functioning of our gut are preservatives and other additives in our foods, diets with a very high content of fat, birth control pills, alcohol consumption, and even stress. Acidophilus supplementation can help when things are out of balance.
Eating yogurt is one way to supplement the acidophilus in your system, if the yogurt contains active acidophilus cultures. You have to read the labels because some of the yogurt on grocery store shelves does not actually contain any viable acidophilus due to the fact that they've been highly processed. It is difficult to process foods so that we're safe from harmful bacteria and yet keep the helpful bacteria alive.
Among the potential benefits of supplementing your diet with acidophilus is the suppression of candida, a type of yeast that can be very harmful, especially to the reproductive system and urinary tract. If you like to visit other countries, you will be happy to know that supplementing your diet with acidophilus while abroad can help thwart proliferation of infectious organisms people commonly encounter in countries that do not have highly developed systems of public health. It can also help control both diarrhea and constipation. And it helps reduce internal gas, bloating and bad breath. Some find that it even helps counteract lactose intolerance and helps lower cholesterol due to its enhancement of the body's ability to absorb fats. Acidophilus may also enhance immune system function, aid in the treatment of respiratory infections such as sinusitis and bronchitis, and lower the risk of asthma, hay fever and eczema.
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