What is lactic acid?
Lactic Acid (a.k.a. Milk Acid) is a chemical compound that plays a role in numerous processes in our body. In exercise, it’s metabolic waste. An excess of lactic acid is in fact what causes our muscles to hurt during high energy consuming exercises. It also plays a part in brain metabolism. Many dairy products (mostly sour ones) contain lactic acid and it’s also used in the pharmaceutical industry. But really, we aren’t here for lactic acid. It was just important to show that it’s harmless. Now that we did, we can get down to business.
What is L. Acidophilus and why I’m writing this
Lactobacillus Acidophilus is a very common bacteria, found in humans mostly in the digestive tract. It thrives in low PH environments (such as the human colon) and its optimal growth temperature is about the same as the human body’s temperature, only slightly higher and it ferments sugars into lactic acid (which is, as you remember, harmless). Some strains of L. Acidophilus can be considered probiotic, and in fact, this is the very type of bacteria that is found in most, if not all, probiotic dairy products. These little guys are incredible and if you’re not a fan of dairy this article will change your whole perspective, these bacteria are incredible.
Lactobacillus Acidophilus Health effects
This list goes on all over the place from preventing pediatric diarrhea to lowering serum cholesterol, so before I move on to bright side, I’ll begin with the problems it may cause: Aaaaaaand….I’m done. No problems, no side effects, no nothing, only disregarding minor cases of gas and intestinal discomfort, as they may or may not be affiliated with the presence of L. Acidophilus. The only people who should beware of their intake of these bacteria are people with naturally or chemically suppressed immune systems, people with an artificial heart valve (complications in this case are rare), people who take inulin or other prebiotics (one case of severe allergic reaction was reported), people who take medications and people who suffer from short bowel syndrome. The rest are free and clear. So far, we’ve established that it’s harmless. Now let’s see what good it does.
Besides the two conditions mentioned in the beginning of this paragraph, it also helps in reducing the amount of E. Coli, strengthening the immune system by increasing the production of anti-bodies and the levels of cytokine and phagocytic activity, it helps preventing fever, constipation, childhood eczema, pollen allergies, coughs, runny nose, inflammations, breast cancer, coronary heart disease. It helps lipid metabolism (lipid = fat. It’s a very helpful pawn in the battle against excess body fat), it helps chemo patients to get better, it helps cleaning the blood of dialysis patients by decreasing the level of toxic amines, it helps produce vitamin-K, acidolin, acidophilin and lactase, it helps against certain bacterial, fungal, yeast and mold infections, it helps treating the symptoms ofirritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel diseases,and can even help lactose intolerant people digest lactose.
Incredible, isn’t it? And these are just the proven effects – there are studies constantly being performed and more and more uses constantly being discovered for these incredible bacteria. And the best part is – you can increase your intake of it incredibly easily. Just eat probiotic dairy products and you’re all set. If you’re a vegan, lactose intolerant, dislike dairy products or just don’t want to change your dietary habits, you can simply buy L. Acidophilus as supplement. It’s just as effective, if not even more so. If you are lactose intolerant, L.acidophilus might even be able to fix that for you.
Unless you belong to one of the groups of people who should beware of this bacteria (mentioned above), it’s probably best that you make sure you have some intake of L. Acidophilus. It helps almost all aspects of your health, and even helps you manage your weight. It has virtually no disadvantages.
The fine prints
Don’t overdo it. Don’t overdo anything, ever. If you do go ahead and take more L. Acidophilus than you should, you MIGHT get the runs, gas, and a generally upset stomach. And yes, you should consult a physician before making drastic dietary changes and/or before taking any supplements. Although if you are a usually healthy individual, who doesn’t take prebiotics, doesn’t have an artificial heart valve, doesn’t suffer from short bowel syndrome and/or doesn’t already take any food supplements or medications, one probiotic yogurt a day won’t kill you (probably ;), and has the potential to make you much, much healthier.
Stay happy, healthy and curious,