Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria. There are lots of different species of lactobacillus. These are “friendly” bacteria that normally live in our digestive, urinary, and genital systems without causing disease. Lactobacillus is also in some fermented foods like yogurt and in dietary supplements.
- Lactobacillus is used for treating and preventing diarrhea, including infectious types such as rotaviral diarrhea in children and traveler’s diarrhea. It is also used to prevent and treat diarrhea associated with using antibiotics.
- Some people use lactobacillus for general digestion problems; irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); colic in babies; Crohn’s disease; inflammation of the colon; and a serious gut problem called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in babies born prematurely. Lactobacillus is also used for infection with Helicobacter pylori, the type of bacteria that causes ulcers, and also for other types of infections including urinary tract infections (UTIs), vaginal yeast infections, to prevent the common cold in adults, and to prevent respiratory infections in children attending daycare centers. It is also being tested to prevent serious infections in people on ventilators.
- Lactobacillus is used for skin disorders such as fever blisters, canker sores, eczema(allergic dermatitis); and acne.
- It is also used for high cholesterol, lactose intolerance, Lyme disease, hives, and to boost the immune system.
- Women sometimes use lactobacillus suppositories to treat vaginal infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- There are concerns about the quality of some lactobacillus products. Some products labeled to contain Lactobacillus acidophilus actually contain no lactobacillus acidophilus, or they contain a different strain of lactobacillus such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Some products are contaminated with “unfriendly” bacteria.
- Many bacteria and other organisms live in our bodies normally. “Friendly” bacteria such as lactobacillus can help us break down food, absorb nutrients, and fight off “unfriendly” organisms that might cause diseases such as diarrhea.
- Lactobacillus is LIKELY SAFE for most people, including babies and children. Side effects are usually mild and most often include intestinal gas or bloating.
- Lactobacillus is also LIKELY SAFE for women to use inside the vagina.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Using lactobacillus during pregnancy and breast-feeding is POSSIBLY SAFE. Lactobacillus GG has been used safely in pregnant and breast-feeding women. But other types of lactobacillus have not been studied during pregnancy and breast-feeding, so their safety is unknown.
- Weakened immune system: There is some concern that lactobacillus from supplements that contain live bacteria might grow too well in people whose immune systems are weakened. This includes people with HIV/AIDS or people who have taken medicines to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ. Lactobacillus has caused disease (rarely) in people with weakened immune systems. To be on the safe side, if you have a weakened immune system, talk with your healthcare provider before taking lactobacillus.
- Short bowel syndrome: People with short bowel syndrome might be more likely than other people to develop lactobacillus infections. If you have this condition, talk with your healthcare provider before taking lactobacillus.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
- Antibiotic drugs interacts with LACTOBACILLUS: Antibiotics are used to reduce harmful bacteria in the body. Antibiotics can also reduce friendly bacteria in the body. Lactobacillus is a type of friendly bacteria. Taking antibiotics along with lactobacillus can reduce the effectiveness of lactobacillus. To avoid this interaction take lactobacillus products at least 2 hours before or after antibiotics.
- Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with LACTOBACILLUS: Lactobacillus contains live bacteria and yeast. The immune system usually controls bacteria and yeast in the body to prevent infections. Medications that decrease the immune system can increase your chances of getting sick from bacteria and yeast. Taking lactobacillus along with medications that decrease the immune system might increase the chances of getting sick.
- Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
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Source: WebMD, “Lactobacillus”, http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/