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Lactobacilli and Yeast Infections

Not all bacteria are bad. A bacterial strain called lactobacillus acidophilus plays a vital role in digestion and in our overall health.

Many experts regard lactobacillus acidophilus as the second immune system of our body because it controls the growth of disease-causing bacteria and fungi. Lactobacilli are naturally present in the digestive tract and the vagina. These microorganisms produce lactic acid from the sugar found in the food that we take.

Lactic acid helps in keeping the digestive tract free from bad bacteria and fungi that can cause dysentery or cholera. Lactic acid is also responsible for maintaining the normal pH level of the vagina.

Frequent use of antibiotics can kill lactobacilli that generate lactic acid. If this happens, the digestive tract will become a thriving place for the Candida fungus. Without lactic acid, the pH level of the vagina is disturbed, making it easier for the yeast fungus to attack the vaginal area.

Remember, the Candida fungus feeds on sugar. When there is not enough lactobacillus in your body to convert your sugar intake into lactic acid, it's easier for the yeast fungus to replicate and cause infection.

Lactobacilli are present in health foods and supplements called probiotics. Another species of good bacteria, the bifidobacterium, are also present in probiotics. Just like lactobacilli, bifidobacteria is important in lessening the infection caused by the Candida fungus.

The most widely-used probiotic is yogurt. It is processed from milk, which is mixed with a live culture of lactobacilli or bifidobacterium.

The fact that yogurt is derived from milk doesn't mean that milk is a cure for yeast infection. Milk actually aggravates yeast infection because it contains lactose (milk sugar) which serves as a food for the Candida fungus. Only with the presence of lactobacilli and bifidobacterium can lactose be converted into the beneficial lactic acid, which is already sugar-free.


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