Not all bacteria are bad, and it is actually necessary for us to have bacteria in our bodies in order to function and be healthy. Lactic acid bacteria is one of the good ones, and there are several benefits to including it in your diet.
With lactic acid bacteria present, it can help to improve gut function, work as an antioxidant, and even improve the immune system so that we are able to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses. Furthermore, including it in your diet has no major side effects.
It can be found naturally in many foods, but it is also added as a preservative to a number of items to help them last longer.
What Are the Health Benefits of Lactic Acid
Lactic acid is an organic compound secreted by bacteria during the fermentation of food. It is commonly found in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut.
Expert Tip: Lactic acid has been shown to improve gut health, boost the immune system, and fight off harmful bacteria.
So if you’re looking for a way to improve your health, adding more lactic acid bacteria to your diet is a great place to start. There are several potential health benefits that it is strongly associated with.
Could Promote Gut Health
Lactic acid bacteria have the ability to break down hard-to-digest fibers and convert them into lactic acid. This organic acid can then be used by the gut to maintain a healthy pH balance and promote the growth of good bacteria.
A healthy gut is important for many aspects of health, including immunity, digestion, and even mood when the lactic acid produced interacts with the human gut microbiota .
This also means that it can work to improve the immune system by ensuring that your gut is healthy and is able to fight off potentially harmful bacteria that might have found their way into your body.
In fact, lactic acid bacteria have been shown to reduce the severity of some gut disorders, like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) .
Could Improve Nutrient Absorption
Lactic acid bacteria can also help improve the absorption of nutrients from the food you eat . This is because it is a beneficial bacteria.
They do this by breaking down indigestible carbohydrates and proteins into smaller molecules that can be easily absorbed by the gut.
This process is especially beneficial for people with malabsorption disorders, such as celiac disease.
Additionally, it has been shown to help prevent iron deficiency anemia  since many foods rich in lactic acid also contain high concentrations of iron.
Could Act as an Antioxidant
Lactic acid bacteria can also scavenge harmful toxins and byproducts that can damage cells, which means it takes up an antioxidant role .
In doing so, they help protect cells from oxidative damage and reduce the risk of some chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer .
Furthermore, research has shown that eating foods that contain even gram-positive bacteria (lactic acid) could also help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease .
As a result, this antioxidant effect has a positive impact on the immune system, gut health, and brain function. This is because antioxidants are vital for us to function and stay healthy as they ensure harmful bodies are fought off and removed from the body.
What are the Side Effects of Lactic Acid in Food?
Lactic acid is a natural compound that is produced by fermentation, and it has been used for centuries to preserve food.
Expert Tip: Lactic acid is often added to food as a preservative because it inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria.
Generally speaking, it is considered completely safe, but there are some people who might experience side effects when they ingest it . These are:
- Gas and bloating (especially from fermented foods)
- Brain fog and difficulty concentrating
- Temporary worsening of digestive issues
Some research also suggests that probiotics have a different effect on immune function in healthy people compared with those who are immunocompromised .
Therefore, lactic acid should be used with caution in people who have weakened immune systems, as it could potentially make them more susceptible to infection.
Additionally, lactic acid can interact with certain medications, such as antibiotics, antacids, and blood thinners.
If you are taking any of these medications, it is best to speak with a doctor before adding lactic acid-rich foods to your diet.
What are the Common Sources of Lactic Acid Bacteria?
Lactic acid is found in a wide range of foods, and it can occur naturally or be added as a preservative. Many of the foods that lactic acid bacteria are found in naturally, also contain high levels of other essential nutrients.
Of course, lactic acid is most commonly found in fermented food and often acts as a probiotic bacteria (the ones that are good for our guts).
Some of the most common natural sources of lactic acid are:
- pickled vegetables
- sourdough bread
For foods where lactic acid might have been added as a food preservative (or have gone through the fermentation process artificially), the most common sources are likely to be:
- salad dressing
- frozen desserts
- carbonated drinks
Should You Be Eating More Lactic Acid Containing Foods?
Lactic acid is a type of fermentation that produces lactic acid bacteria found in food. In order to produce lactic acid, there are some requirements that food has to undergo first (namely fermentation).
These bacteria are found in fermented foods and have many health benefits, including boosting immunity, improving digestion, and reducing the risk of some chronic diseases.
Lactic acid is generally considered safe, but there are some potential side effects that you should be aware of. If you have any concerns, it is always best to speak with a doctor before adding foods that are rich in lactic acid to your diet.