It has been recognized since the work of Nobel Prize winner Metchnikoff in the early 1900's that we are dependent on the quantity and function of the acidophilus in our gut for good health.
There are an estimated several trillion friendly bacteria comprising over 400 species in the average human gastrointestinal tract. By body weight, each of us carries around nearly four pounds of intestinal micro flora. To put it into perspective, there are approximately 100,000 billion viable bacteria in the digestive tract and about 1,000 billion on the skin. Meaning that we have more bacteria in our body than we have cells!
While Lactobacillus Acidophilus is probably the most well known of these, others you should know about include Bifidobacterium bifidum and B. longum. When the intestines are healthy, there are more friendly bacteria than unfriendly or pathogenic ones; you might think of this arrangement as a kind of microbial ecology in which species have their allotted role and population density in the intestinal environment. Excessive use of antibiotics and drugs, chlorinated water, junk and processed foods reduce the number of friendly bacteria in our intestine. This paves the way for harmful bacteria to increase in number and cause diseases.
Of the harmful bacteria, yeast is one of the worst that live in our intestines. The yeast and the bacterial flora are constantly competing for space, and generally, they keep each other in check. Sometimes, however, our bacterial flora can be depleted, such as when taking antibiotics. This allows the yeast to overgrow, which can then lead to a variety of problems. Currently about 70% of females and 30% of males have yeast infections. The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a research article showing that Acidophilus can prevent and even cure yeast infections.
In early 1950, acidophilus was approved by the U.S. Government as a drug when it was found equally effective as Neomycin Sulfate for E. coli infection. However, acidophilus lost the war with the antibiotics industry and it was almost forgotten. Acidophilus produces natural antibiotics and hydrogen peroxide. Many people believe in the use of hydrogen peroxide. Acidophilus should be considered a natural source of hydrogen peroxide.
Caution: Check with your doctor if you are taking the drug Sulfasalazine used to treat ulcerative colitis.