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Quest Vitamins LTD,
8 Venture Way,
Aston Science Park,
B7 4AP.

Tel: 0121 359 0056
Fax: 0121 359 0313
Registered in England No. 2530437

Lactic Bacteria


Lactic bacteria are health-giving bacteria that have the specific property of transforming sugars into lactic acid. Their role is most important in the production of fermented food products such as yoghurt, kefir, cheese, buttermilk, etc. Some well known lactic bacteria are Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium bifidum, etc.

Lactic bacteria are found in the Digestive System, Skin and vaginal mucosa where they are essential protective agents.


The main action of friendly lactic bacteria is to discourage the presence of harmful putrefactive and pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Lactic acid production is the key to this action as harmful bacteria do not thrive in an acidic environment.

Lactic bacteria also produce their own specific antibiotics. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus produces acidophiline, L.bulgaricus produces bulgarican, and so on. These antibiotics further enhance the ability of lactic bacteria to fight infectious micro-organisms.


Lactic bacteria supplements can be used in many applications - both preventative and therapeutic. Some of these are listed below:

Gastro-Intestinal Upset:
Lactic bacteria can help prevent against digestive upset (1), especially in the case of changes in food and water consumption during foreign travel.

In certain cases of bowel irregularity, lactic bacteria may help to beneficially alter the gut bacteria balance and correct this condition (2). Sufficient fibre and fluid are the most important factors to prevent constipation.

Lactose Intolerance:
In mild Lactose Intolerance, lactic bacteria can help to reduce symptoms (2) by converting any lactose into lactic acid. (A lactose-free diet must also be followed).

Vaginal Conditions:
Thrush or Vaginitis due to Candida albicans, Trichomonas or any other cause, may be helped by taking lactic bacteria supplements, which help restore the natural bacterial balance of the body (1).

Drug usage:
As well as fulfilling their primary purpose of destroying pathogenic bacteria, antibiotics unfortunately also upset the balance of friendly bacteria. Hence, a lactic bacteria supplement is advisable at the same time or straight after a course of antibiotics (3,4).

Immune Stimulant:
Lactobacillis are capable of stimulating the Immune System at the gut level (2).

Furthermore, steroids and the contraceptive pill are also known to deplete lactic bacteria, and a supplement may be advisable for people on these medications.


As long as carefully researched human-compatible strains of bacteria are used together with the strictest attention to
hygienic production, there are absolutely no safety risks associated with taking lactic bacteria supplements.


Antibiotics and lactic bacteria supplements may be taken concurrently, but a few hours apart in order to avoid the friendly bacteria being destroyed.


Prebiotic oligosaccharides on intestinal flora in healthy infants

Effects of supplementing prebiotic oligosaccharides to formula for healthy infants were studied. Ninety-seven infants were included into the study; among them 42 breast-fed infants, 14 infants fed formula supplemented with 0.4 g/100ml oligosacchides (9 to 1 mixture of galacto and fructooligosaccharides) and 13 infants fed control formula were followed up throughout the 12 week long study period.

Numbers of Bifidobacteria were significantly higher in infants receiving the formula supplemented with prebiotic oligosaccharides both at the 14th and 28th day of the study. In this study, supplementation of infant formula with prebiotic oligosaccharides resulted in ameliorating the difference in intestinal flora between formula fed and breat fed healthy infants.

Orv Hetil. 2005 Nov 27; 146 (48):2445-50


1. Handbook of Dietary Supplements, Pamela Mason, Blackwell Science, 1995.
2. Richardson D. Probiotics and product innovation. Nutrition and Food Science, 4:27-33 1996.
3. Orrhage K, Brismar B, Nord CE. Effect of Supplements with Bifidobacterium longum and Lactobacillus acidophilus on the Intestinal Microbiota during Administration of Clindamycin. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, 7:17-25 1994.
4. Witsell DL., et al. Effect of Lactobacillus acidophilus on antibiotic-associated gastrointestinal morbidity: a prospective randomised trial. J Otolaryngol, 24;4:23â€â€3, 1995.

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