8 Probiotic Lactobacilli
No genus has more probiotics in it than the Lactobacilli family and there are hundreds of research papers outlining their benefits to us. However, this doesn't mean that every single one of 107 (at last count) strains is equally worthy.
Eight of this family have been studied in greater detail than most, both in vitro and in humans. I'm sure there are more probiotic stars waiting shyly in the wings but at the moment, the following are the strains which have well documented, reproducable studies on them.
8 Proven Probiotic Lactobacilli
- Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM - works in the intestine. Able to survive the stomach and colonize the intestine. Reduces lactose intolerance and reduces levels of free amines in the intestine, thereby decreasing the risk of colon cancer. A great source of this powerful probiotic is Theralac Capsules.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG - works in the intestine. Strong evidence that given orally it colonises the intestine and reduced diarrhea. Found in Culturelle
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 - works in the urogenital tract. Restores vaginal microflora and reduces the incidence of UTI significantly. Found in Fem Dophilus
- Lactobacillus casei Shirota - works in the intestine. Consumed by 10% of the Japanese population each day and by as many as 30 million people world wide. The Shirota strain was originally isolated from a human intestine in 1930. It colonises the intestine well. Found in the fermeted drink called Yakult at food and health stores.
- Lactobacillus casei CRL431 - works in the intestine. Evidence for stimulating immune responses.
- Lactobacillus reuteri MM53 (also referred to as SD2112 now ATCC 55730) - works in the intestine. Isolated from breast milk. Significantly reduced community-acquired diarrhea and reduces acute rotavirus-induced episodes.
- Lactobacillus plantarum 299V - works in the intestine. Increases the numbers of Lactobacilli in the intestinal mucosa while at the same time the number of Gram-negative anaerobes, Enterobacteriaceae, and sulfite-reducing clostridia tends to decrease. Found in VSL 3
- Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 - works in the urogenital tract. Restores vaginal microflora and reduces the incidence of UTI significantly. Found in Fem Dophilus
Other members of this amazing family which almost made it into that list are L acidophilus LA1 (now renamed L johnsonii LJ1 and marketed as LC1), L acidophilus NCFB1748, L crispatus CTV05 and L casei DN114. These strains have all been researched but not quite to the extent of our "A" list. Some of them will the stars of the future.
Too many Lactobacilli?
Wonderful though this genus is, you can actually have too many of them as a few unfortunate women have found out. I go into that in some detail on the cytolytic vaginosis page.
Reid G. The Scientific Basis for Probiotic Strains of Lactobacillus. Applied Environmental Microbiology 1999, 65(9): 3763-3766
Johansson ML, Molin G, Jeppsson B, Nobaek S, Ahrné S, Bengmark S. Administration of different Lactobacillus strains in fermented oatmeal soup: in vivo colonisation of human intestinal mucosa and effect on the indigenous flora. Appl Environ Microbiol 1993;59:15?20.