Lactobacillus

How does Lactobacillus work?

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.

Are there safety concerns?

Lactobacillus is safe for most people, including babies and children. Side effects are usually mild and most often include intestinal gas.

There is some concern that people with weakened immune systems, such as people with HIV/AIDS or organ transplant recipients, might have an overgrowth of lactobacillus from taking supplements containing live bacteria. Lactobacillus has caused disease (rarely) in people with weakened immune systems. To be on the safe side, if you have a weakened immune system, avoid taking supplements containing live bacteria without advice from your healthcare giver.

Some products labeled to contain certain Lactobacillus species have not contained what was claimed. In fact, some have been contaminated with potentially disease-causing bacteria.

Do not take lactobacillus without guidance from your healthcare provider if:
  • Your immune system is weakened by diseases such as HIV/AIDS or medicines to prevent organ transplant rejection.
  • You have a condition called short bowel syndrome.

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