GMHC Treatment Issues 1993/94 Winter; 7(11/12): 19
Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus) is the most well known of
a type of acidophilus bacteria (bacteria attracted to acid). It has
been suggested that L. acidophilus is a beneficial or so-called
"friendly" bacteria which provides an important function in the body.
Live cultures of L. acidophilus can be found in a number of brands of
yogurt or acidophilus milk and in the form of powders, capsules,
tablets and liquids which are available in health food stores. L.
acidophilus is measured by the amount of viable bacteria per dosage
(in the millions).
Test tube studies have shown that L. acidophilus can inhibit the
growth of candida albicans (candidiasis ), the fungus associated with
"thrush" in the mouth, esophagus or vagina. Varying levels of
success have been reported using yogurt and L. acidophillus as a
treatment for vaginal candidiasis.[2, 3]
A study conducted by researchers at Long Island Jewish Hospital and
published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, reported that women with
recurrent vaginal candidiasis who consumed eight ounces a day of
yogurt high in L. acidophilus had a threefold reduction in number of
candida infections and laboratory measured candida colonizations.
The authors of this report also noted that a number of dairy products
did not contain the L. acidophilus that had been advertised on the
Some suggest the use of L. acidiphilus to reimplant friendly bacteria
into the gastrointestinal system. A number of physicians routinely
suggest that patients undergoing antiobiotic therapy, consume eight
ounces per day of yogurt with L. acidophilus. It has also been
suggested, based on test tube studies that L. acidophilus may have
potential antiobiotic effects of its own. There have been no
reports of L. acidophilus related toxicities; however, it is unknown
whether the compound has any effects on the absorption of anti-biotic
1. Isenberg HD et al. Factors Leading to overt monilial disease
II: retardation of growth of canidida albicans by metabolic end
products of intestinal bacteria. Antimicrobial Agents Annual. New
York. Plenum Press. 1960.570-5.
2. Will TE. The Lancet. 1979; 2:482.
3. Sandler B The Lancet. 1979; 2:791-2.
4. Hilton E, et al. Annals of Internal Medicine,.1992;
5. Friend BA, et al. Journal of Applied Nutrition. 1984.