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Common Alternative Therapies: Lactobacillus Acidophilus


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.[1] 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.[4] 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 label.

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.[5] 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 medication.

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; 116:353-357.

5. Friend BA, et al. Journal of Applied Nutrition. 1984. 36:125-153


Copyright © 1993 -Gay Men's Health Crisis, Publisher. All rights reserved to Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) Treatment Issues. Reproduced with permission. Treatment Issues is published twelve times yearly by GMHC, INC. Noncommercial reproduction is encouraged. Subscription lists are kept confidential. GMHC Treatment Issues, The Tisch Building, 119 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011 Email GMHC. Visit GMHC

Information in this article was accurate in December 1, 1993. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.