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Acidophilus vs. Probiotics — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on November 5, 2023
Acidophilus is a specific type of bacteria beneficial for gut health. Probiotics are microorganisms that offer health benefits when consumed, including various bacteria and yeasts.
Acidophilus vs. Probiotics — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Acidophilus and Probiotics


Key Differences

Acidophilus, often referred to as Lactobacillus acidophilus, is a type of bacteria that plays a vital role in digestive health, predominantly residing in the intestines. Probiotics, on the other hand, encompass a broad range of live bacteria and yeasts, not confined to a single type, which are recognized for conferring myriad health benefits to the host, predominantly in the realm of digestive health but extending beyond as well.
The inclusion of Acidophilus in dietary supplements and fermented foods stems from its positive impact on gut health, often being utilized to prevent or ameliorate digestive disturbances. Contrastingly, Probiotics offer a more extensive array, delivering a variety of microorganisms, each with its unique attributes and potentials, utilized in managing health in a broader sense, including but not limited to digestive wellness, immune function, and even mental health in some instances.
Distinguishing between Acidophilus and Probiotics is vital due to their different spectrums of application: while Acidophilus is specific and has targeted applications, particularly in preventing and managing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Probiotics encapsulate a wide range of microbial entities, which may serve diverse and multifaceted purposes in health management, depending on the specific strains and species included.
Moreover, Acidophilus primarily belongs to the Lactobacillus genus and is widely recognized for its role in fermenting lactose and other sugars into lactic acid, contributing to the characteristic tang of fermented foods and inhibiting pathogenic microbial growth. Conversely, Probiotics might derive from various bacterial genera including Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Saccharomyces, and more, each contributing distinctively to health and wellness through different mechanistic pathways.
Acidophilus, as a targeted bacterial strain, might be selected for specific health concerns or formulations given its known attributes and benefits. In comparison, Probiotics provide a broader and potentially more versatile approach to managing health, by offering a combination of various bacteria and yeasts, potentially delivering synergistic benefits and addressing a more comprehensive array of health concerns.

Comparison Chart


A specific bacterium
A wide range of beneficial microorganisms

Species Diversity

Singular species
Multiple species and strains


Primarily digestive health
Broad health applications

Found in

Certain fermented foods & supplements
Various fermented foods & supplements


Subset of Probiotics
Includes various bacteria and yeasts

Compare with Definitions


A probiotic that primarily promotes digestive wellness.
People sometimes take Acidophilus to combat antibiotic-associated diarrhea.


Microbes utilized to manage and promote overall health.
People consume Probiotics to support digestive, immune, and sometimes mental health.


A bacteria belonging to the Lactobacillus genus.
Acidophilus is often found in yogurt and can promote gut health.


Live organisms that confer health benefits upon the host.
Probiotics are often recommended to restore gut balance post-antibiotic use.


Bacteria used to counterbalance pathogenic organisms in the gut.
Acidophilus can inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines.


A diverse group of healthful bacteria and yeasts.
Probiotics can contain a variety of organisms, each with unique benefits.


An organism often utilized in dietary supplements for digestive health.
Some individuals consume Acidophilus supplements to maintain intestinal balance.


Beneficial microorganisms consumed for health enhancement.
Probiotics, like those in yogurt, can enhance digestive function.


A microbe known for converting sugars to lactic acid.
Acidophilus plays a vital role in fermenting certain dairy products.


Bacteria and yeasts employed to enhance microbial balance.
Probiotics are utilized to augment the beneficial microbial population in the gut.


Growing well in an acid medium
Acidophilic bacteria.


Plural of probiotic


Easily stained with acid dyes
An acidophilic cell.


Lactobacillus acidophilus, one of the bacteria commonly used in fermenting yogurt

Common Curiosities

Is Acidophilus found naturally in any foods?

Yes, Acidophilus is naturally present in some fermented foods like yogurt.

Can Probiotics assist in managing mental health?

Some studies suggest certain Probiotics may positively impact mental health.

What types of microorganisms can Probiotics contain?

Probiotics may contain various bacteria and yeasts from different genera.

Can Acidophilus help manage lactose intolerance?

Yes, Acidophilus can assist in breaking down lactose and may alleviate related symptoms.

Can Probiotics boost immune function?

Yes, certain Probiotics can support and potentially enhance immune function.

Is Acidophilus suitable for vegans?

Acidophilus itself is vegan, but carrier substances or capsules may not be.

Can I take Probiotics to improve skin health?

Yes, some Probiotics have been associated with improved skin health.

What is Acidophilus typically used for?

Acidophilus is commonly utilized to promote digestive health and balance.

Do all Probiotics contain Acidophilus?

No, Probiotics may contain a variety of organisms; Acidophilus is just one possibility.

Is Acidophilus necessary for health?

While beneficial, Acidophilus is not strictly necessary but can enhance gut health.

Can I find Probiotics in foods?

Yes, Probiotics can be found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.

Does Acidophilus offer benefits beyond digestive health?

Primarily known for digestive support, Acidophilus may also impact immunity and vaginal health.

Can Acidophilus prevent yeast infections?

Some evidence suggests Acidophilus may help prevent yeast infections.

Can Probiotics aid weight management?

Some research suggests certain Probiotics may impact weight and metabolic health.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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