Lactobacillus acidophilus, or acidophilus for short, is one of the most useful organisms in your body. Acidophilus is a probiotic, one of the organisms living in the stomach and the intestines which are necessary for the correct absorption and assimilation of nutrients, as well as for the defense of your digestive system against harmful organisms. These “intestinal flora”, as they are known, keep Candida, a virulent strain of yeast which lives in the body, as well as other harmful organisms, in balance so that they do not begin to overgrow and cause harm.
Lactobacillus acidophilus can be thrown out of balance by many factors. These include the use of steroidal hormones, the consumption of excessively processed food, a depressed immune system, and even some over the counter so-called remedies. But the most common factor is the use and overuse of antibiotics. Broad spectrum antibiotics – that is, antibiotics which kill not just one targeted organism, but any bacteria which they come into contact with – devastate the digestive system, Killing off not just acidophilus, but many other necessary bacteria which line the stomach and intestinal walls. Once the acidophilus is killed off, the yeast can move in, causing all manner of horrifying health problems. Unexplained aches and pains, nausea, depression, moodiness, sexual dysfunction, and all manner of digestive ailments, are just a few of the countless symptoms of candidiasis, or candida overgrowth. Once the acidophilus is depleted, the health effects are almost inevitable.
Fortunately, Lactobacillus acidophilus is really rather easy to replenish. There are many acidophilus pills on the market which, when eaten with a meal, can introduce billions of live organisms back to the digestive system, to undo some of the damages which the antibiotics did. In addition, yogurt contains live acidophilus cultures, and when added to the daily diet, is one of the most effective ways to replenish acidophilus in the gut. If antibiotic use was frequent enough, however, more most be done to fully recover from all of the damages.
One necessary step to restoring levels of friendly bacteria is to treat the candida overgrowth. This is accomplished through a combination of different factors. A special diet, low in processed foods and simple carbohydrates, and high in meats and lightly cooked vegetables is an essential first step. Probiotic supplements, as well as a medicine to treat the fungal infection, such as Diflucan, or an herbal supplement, will also be necessary.