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What Is Acidophilus Bifidus?

by
author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
What Is Acidophilus Bifidus?
Probiotic foods and supplements are marketed for digestive health. Photo Credit mocker_bat/iStock/Getty Images

Your immune system works hard to keep bad bacteria at bay, but you might not know of a such thing as "good" bacteria. Acidophilus bifidus is a mixture of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria, two different types of beneficial bacteria also known as probiotics that flourish in the intestines and vagina. Each strain of bacteria has different characteristics which, when combined, provide possible benefits. Fermented foods such as yogurt, miso, kefir and tempeh contain Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria. Evidence to support specific uses remains limited, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Probiotics 101

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine defines probiotics as bacteria that are either identical or analogous to those naturally occurring within the human body. Probiotics are frequently referred to as “good bacteria,” and have been shown to be integral to digestive and vaginal health. When probiotics are abundant in the body, they create an inhospitable environment for bad bacteria. The use of antibiotics, which are designed to destroy disease-causing bacteria, also kills good bacteria in the gut. Some people take probiotics to restore good bacteria after taking antibiotic medication.

Lactobacillus Acidophilus

Lactobacillus acidophilus represents one of the many varieties of Lactobacillus bacteria. It's the most frequently used probiotic when it comes to nutritional supplementation, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. L. acidophilus works by breaking down food in the digestive tract, a process that leads to the production of both lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, and ultimately helps prevent the growth of unhealthy bacteria. L.acidophilus is frequently used to fight vaginal yeast infections, diarrhea, indigestion and constipation.

Bifidobacteria

Bifidobacteria is the term for another common group of beneficial organisms found naturally in the intestines. The strain has been deemed possibly effective for the prevention and treatment of various intestinal disorders including infant and traveler’s diarrhea, IBS and ulcerative colitis, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It has also shown potential in treating a skin condition in infants called atopic eczema.

Acidophilus Bifidus Combination

The specific combination of L.acidophilus and Bifidobacterium to produce Acidophilus bifidus has various targeted uses. In addition to promoting combined intestinal and vaginal health, supplementation with Acidophilus bifidus may also help prevent necrotizing enterocolitis, an infection of the intestinal lining caused by unhealthy bacteria, according to the National Institutes of Health MedlinePlus.

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