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Lactobacillus Acidophilus

written by Marina Zacharias

We have often mentioned the "good guys" that are destroyed with the use of antibiotics and the need to replace them at the earliest opportunity. This can be vital in the case of our old friend Lactobacillus Acidophilus. These tiny bacteria are much more than just your friendly intestinal flora.

Research and clinical results show that many diseases may be influenced, not by the presence of a pathogenic agent, but rather by the absence of the normal intestinal flora. Important roles played by lactobacillus acidophilus include:

  • Production of important digestive enzymes.
  • Keeping both constipation and diarrhea under control.
  • Counteracting lactose intolerance.
  • Detoxification, or "cleaning out" the system by binding to unwanted substances and causing them to be excreted.
  • Protecting the surfaces of intestinal mucous membranes.
  • Suppression of undesirable bacteria by helping to maintain an antibacterial and antifungal environment.
  • Reduction of bad breath by replacing organisms responsible for unpleasant odors with neutral organisms.
  • Reduction of intestinal gas by breaking down the sugars (including lactose) that are consumed by and promote "bad guy" bacteria.
  • Cholesterol control by promoting normal absorption of dietary fats and facilitating elimination of unwanted cholesterol before it is absorbed.
  • Compensation for the decreased motility of the gastro-intestinal tract, decreased mucous secretions and muscular atrophy of the small and large intestine, and even changes in the nervous system--all products of the aging process.
  • Production of additional supplies of vitamins and other trace nutrients. Many of the B vitamins (including riboflavin, B-12, Thiamin, folic acid and panthenic acid) in addition to certain proteins, are produced by lactobacillus acidophilus.
  • Suppression of candidiasis, as well as a number of other intestinal disorders.

It goes without saying that commercial pet foods are totally lacking in viable organisms. Thus any combination of antibiotics (which effectively kills off these friendly bacteria) and "dead" food (no replacement of the good guys), can have devastating consequences. At least with a raw diet we can have the assurance of feeding flora-rich food.

Nevertheless, you would be wise to utilize a supplement whenever antibiotics are used. If you are still feeding kibble, it would be appropriate to supplement with live lactobacillus on a regular basis.

Supplements can be purchased from a number of different sources, including your local drug store. Please make sure you are getting good quality. It should be refrigerated. Some of the powders, capsules, tablets, sitting on the shelf simply don't contain enough live lactobacillus acidophilus to be effective.