Culturelle probiotic contains 10 billion live units of Lactobacillus GG and is a useful dietary supplement to strengthen the immune system and gastrointestinal tract. Some women have found it helpful against yeast infection (see lower on the page).
Its full handle is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG but is usually referred to as Lactobacillus GG or simply LGG.
LGG is proven to survive both the stomach gastric juices and bile.
The active ingredient in Culturelle probiotic is the LGG and the only other indredients it contains are microcrystalline cellulose (E460) which is used as an anti-caking filler, inulin and the gelatin capsule.
There is a Culturelle that does not contain inulin. It is labeled as Culturelle Natural Health and Wellness and is sold at mass market pharmacies such as Wal-Mart and Target.
Culturelle guarantees that it will contain 10 billion live bacteria through to the "Best Used By" date. It does not contain dairy, yeast, wheat, gluten, lactose, corn, colors, artificial dyes, preservatives or flavors.
A search at Amazon will bring up around 30 products all called Culturelle and people find this very confusing. Me too! A number of readers have asked if I would explain to them what the differences are - so here goes!
All these different "versions" of Culturelle are just different distributors selling the same product. Some use different packaging and some use the same packaging.
The important thing to remember is that they all contain exactly the same probiotic.
This is important to remember when you see some with reviews and some without. If the review is about how the product helped - or did not help - a health problem, it applies to all of the products. If the review is about delivery time or service, then it applies to just that distributor.
My advice? Decide whether you want one with a veggie capsule or not and then just pick the best price and quantity for your particular circumstances. You'll drive yourself crazy trying to compare them all!
This one Culturelle with Lactobacillus GG is usually the best priced.
The only real difference is between gelatin capsule and the veggie capsule. They ALL contain 10 billion live units of Lactobacillus GG.
UK residents: Culturelle with Lactobacillus GG 30 veggie capsules
Culturelle For Kids contains 1 billion live bacteria (guaranteed through to the "Best Used By" date). Does not contain dairy, yeast, wheat, gluten, lactose, corn, colors, artificial dyes, preservaties or flavors.
Can be stored at room temperature but don't let it get above that. Store in fridge if practical but don't sweat about it, the 1 billion live bacteria is guaranteed at room temperature. Has been given to children in a number of medical trials and has proven to be of benefit with some types of diarrhea, reducing both the duration and severity, particularly against the acute watery diarrhea of childhood Rotavirus3. The evidence is not so convincing for other types of childhood diarrhea.
Parents rave about it in reviews on Amazon for diarrhea, colic problems and general tummy upsets.
Children can be switched to the adult formula once they reach 100lbs in weight.
Within the healthy gastrointesinal tract there are over 400 different species of both good and bad bacteria. The good bacteria play an important part in synthesizing vitamins, assisting with digestion and absorption of nutrients, protective immune responses, and the making of antibodies. The microflora also plays a role in neutralizing toxins, inhibiting viral cell multiplication in enterocytes, and blocking adherence of harmful bacteria to the mucosa.
When you consider that about 60-70% of our immune system involves the gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) is it any wonder than anything you can do to help maintain a good balance of good bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract will help with immunologically mediated diseases such as food allergies, candidiasis (vaginal thrush), IBS, enterocolitis, gastritis, reflux esophagitis, diarrhea, bloating, wind, abdominal pain and malabsorption of food and nutrients.4
Lactobacillus GG looks promising for the treatment of conditions with altered gut mucosal barrier functions. Lactobacillus GG (ATCC 53103) promotes local antigen-specific immune responses (particularly in the IgA class), prevents permeability defects, and gives controlled antigen absorption.4
However, note that Culturelle did not appear helpful in maintaining remission rates in Crohn disease and in fact actually appeared to increase remission rate2.
Whilst I could find no medical trial evidence for LGG reducing the rate of yeast infection in women there are a number of reviews at Amazon where women claim it does just that. Not scientific, I know, but on the other hand if yeast infection is something you struggle with then this is a probiotic definately worth trying because it has worked for other women.
At the end of the day, there really is no better recommendation than that.
Lgg has protected immune compromised mice from from mucosal and systemic candidiasis1 and has stopped Candida species from colonizing the gastrointestinal tract in preterm babies. However when used against abnormal vaginal flora it did not establish itself in the vagina. Despite this, it is a well researched probiotic, and most of the ones you buy are not, and it does have some effect on some types of yeast so it is worth trying if you have recurrent yeast infection.
Yes it is BUT the actual bacteria (LGG) are grown on whey so will contain trace levels of casein and whey which are two milk proteins. The amount will be less than 15 parts per million per capsule.
1. Wagner RD, Pierson C, Warner T, Dohnalek M, Farmer J, Roberts L, Hilty M, Balish E. Biotherapeutic effects of probiotic bacteria on candidiasis in immunodeficient mice. Infect Immun. 1997 Oct;65(10):4165-72.
2. Shen J, Ran HZ, Yin MH, Zhou TX, Xiao DS. Meta-analysis: the effect and adverse events of Lactobacilli versus placebo in maintenance therapy for Crohn disease. Intern Med J. 2009 Feb;39(2):103-9.
3. Guarino A, Lo Vecchio A, Canani RB. Probiotics as prevention and treatment for diarrhea. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2009 Jan;25(1):18-23
4. V.S. Jathar, Meera V. Jathar. ELISA tests for IgG/IgM gut flora immunity. Original Internist, March, 2003