Acidophilus or to give its full name,lactobacillus acidophilus, is a friendly bacteria. These friendly bacteria populate your digestive tract. Acidophilus benefits us by helping to ensure the digestion system remains balanced and healthy. Believe it or not – there are over 400 bacteria living in your gut and acidophilus happens to be one of the good ones.
Yes, your digestive system is host to both good and bad bacteria. For a healthy digestive system it needs to be balanced. Balanced means bad bacteria should not out number the good bacteria. If the bad bacteria get the upper hand a whole range of problems can occur. These can include digestion problems ranging from a bloated sensation after eating, excessive flatulence, constipation and acid reflux.
How Do Acidophilus Benefits Us
Good or friendly bacteria have beneficial roles in helping to maintain a healthy digestive system. They help to neutralize and destroy bad bacteria such as pathogens that can cause several types of gut infections. Friendly bacteria help our digestive system to breakdown and absorb the valuable vitamins and nutrients from our diets. They also play an essential role in helping to boost our immune system.
Below are a few acidophilus benefits:
- lower the incidences of urinary tract infections
- acidophilus is believed to help break down hard to digest milk protein such as casein.
- can help in the treatment of certain digestion problems including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohns disease and constipation
- acidophilus contains properties that are good at absorbing cholesterol which can help keep our blood cholesterol down.
- improves digestion by helping to prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria
- helps to improve bowel movements and elimination of waste matter from the body
Over the last couple of years friendly bacteria including lactobacillus acidophilus have become better known as probiotics. Probiotics is the process of strengthening the health of the digestive system by introducing or replacing good bacteria in the gut.
Probiotics do not occur in nature as they are manmade. The are created through a fermentation process and then added to products such as yogurt.
Many nutritional experts believe that you will need about one billion of these microflora to benefit. The main issue with taking probiotics is the difficulty in even estimating the amount of good bacteria contained. At least with probiotic supplements the number of good bacteria within each capsule can be measured.
Growing Evidence That Probiotics Are Not All What They’re Hyped Up To Be
Recently many of the health claims that have been made by the major brands of probiotic products have been disputed. For example, the European Food Safety Authority recently rejected up to 180 claims of acidophilus benefits that could not be fully verified.
The archives of the US National Library of Health includes a recent medical study which concluded there was limited evidence that showed probiotics improved the symptoms of diarrhea in young children.
Probiotic bacteria are also very fragile. They can be destroyed easily when your gut is overrun with pathogens or when taking antibiotics. This means probiotics are unsupportive – their benefits are limited on their own.
Actually – It’s Prebiotics That Create The Right Environment For Digestive Health
For these reasons, a new movement within the nutritional industry are supporting the view that it is prebiotics and not probiotics that are the key to better digestion. Although they sound the same prebiotics and probiotics are different. Unlike probiotics, prebiotics are found naturally in food such as the kiwifruit and unrefined wheat.
Prebiotics are not a bacteria – what they do is create the right environment for good bacteria to flourish and keep the bad bacteria in check. This offers a more natural and organic way to re-balance your digestive system.
There are many food sources to include in your diet that can help increase the growth of acidophilus bacteria in your digestive tract and colon. These include raw onion, raw honey, artichokes and unrefined oats. if you re-read through these list of foods you will notice they are in their raw state – meaning they are completely natural.
Believe or Not The Humble Kiwifruit Could Improve Your Digestion
My personal favorite is the kiwifruit. It is rich in prebiotics, vitamin C and other essential vitamins and minerals. The only thing is that most of the prebiotics are contained within its skin. If you’ve ever tried eating the skin it is quite disgusting.
I’ve tried blending the whole fruit (skin included) in the blender – although an improvement, it does have a very grainy texture that may not agree with everyone.
There are a number of kiwi based digestive supplements on the market – but I’ve always been a dubious in the way they’re manufactured. Many manufacturers use high temperatures to produce their supplements which destroys the natural enzymes.
Enzymes are essential for breaking down food – they make it easier for your body to assimilate and absorb nutrients.
What If I Don’t Like The Taste
I’m well aware the flavor of the kiwi is not to everyone’s taste. So,after many hours of research I found a digestive health supplement that has really impressed me. They are made by a leading health supplement company called MaxaLife. They are based in New Zealand and use natively grown kiwifruit for their new digestive health supplement MX Kiwi Biotic .
What impressed me most about MaxaLife compared to other prebiotic supplements is their unique extraction process. This does not use high temperature heat treatment meaning the – essential enzymes and nutrients are preserved.
Clinical studies show you need to eat at least 3 to 4 kiwifruit per day – however, with MX Kiwi Biotic you can receive the same amount of digestive enzymes and goodness in one easy to swallow capsule – all it takes is a few seconds and you’re done for the day.