There are many species of beneficial bacteria, aka probiotics, that can be consumed in order to restore or maintain a healthy microbial balance. Two highly beneficial strains are Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG ( LGG) and Lactobacillus paracasei (LPC-37), both key ingredients in Eden's. So let's dive in and discover what makes Lactobacillus probiotics so special.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are naturally occurring live microorganisms, found in fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut, that confer a health benefit to the host when consumed in adequate amounts. There are also beneficial bacterial strains and yeasts, classified as probiotics, that are added to foods or are available as supplements.
What are the clinical benefits of probiotics?
Clinicians now know that the composition of bacteria in the gut microbiome is an important factor for overall good health. Hence, probiotics have been researched for their role in restoring the gastrointestinal (GI) microbial community when imbalances occur. Evidence suggests that probiotics ease GI symptoms such as gas, bloating, discomfort, and diarrhea related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Clostridioides difficile infection. In addition, researchers continue to explore the role of probiotics in supporting the immune system and as a therapeutic intervention for a wide range of health issues. Efficacy for use of probiotics in helping to manage disorders ranging from inflammatory skin conditions (such as eczema and allergies), various infections, and the aforementioned GI conditions has become increasingly accepted. However, the potential for probiotics to reduce risk for certain conditions and provide benefits to people who are generally healthy continues to be an ongoing area of research.
How do probiotics work?
In short, the way probiotics work is to strengthen the intestinal barrier and crowd out bad bacteria so they can’t produce endotoxins that can lead to inflammation and increase the risk for disease.
The beneficial activity of probiotics within the gut appears to increase, significantly, when an individual consumes a diverse diet that includes prebiotics — non-digestible, fermentable fibers that are essentially fuel for probiotics.
The market for probiotic supplements
For a probiotic supplement to be effective, it must be functional in the intestine after consumption. Not all the benefits documented for probiotics will be delivered by one specific species.
Of the many probiotics available as supplements, mainstream formulations commonly contain Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium species of bacteria — both of which have well-documented safety and beneficial effects.
Other common probiotics include Enterococcus, Escherichia, Saccharomyces, Streptococcus, and Bacillus.
On labels, the type of bacteria is denoted by a genus and species: for example, Lactobacillus acidophilus (abbreviated L acidophilus), and sometimes a subspecies; and the strain will be indicated by letters or numbers after the species name.
Note: Lactobacillus paracasei LPC-37® has been reclassified as Lacticaseibacillus paracasei LPC-37®, Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been reclassified as Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus or Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus GG.
What is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG)?
Often referred to as LGG, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is one of the most common naturally occurring beneficial gut bacteria and one of the most researched probiotic strains worldwide with inclusion in over 200 clinical trials. This strain has been used widely for over 30 years. It is resistant to bile and acid, which allows it to proliferate in the gut microbiome, adhere to intestinal cells, and activate gut microbiome immune response. LGG is the most common probiotic strain found in fermented dairy foods such as yogurt and kefir.
Both in vitro and human trials have elucidated strong evidence to support LGG’s effect in alleviating GI upset and stimulating the immune response. Most notably:
A meta-analysis of four-trials that included a total of 1,805 children showed that LGG significantly reduced incidence of upper respiratory tract infections. The analysis also revealed a reduction in GI infections in the probiotic-supplemented group and shorter bouts of illness.
LGG has been researched and found to be safe, well-tolerated, and to improve digestive symptoms related to cow’s milk protein allergies in children. The mechanism for this effect may be attributed to the role of LGG in cell-signaling of the immune response.
- LGG has been found to alleviate symptoms of diarrhea from infections and antibiotics in both children and adults. LGG has also been used clinically to ease symptoms in patients with functional abdominal pain such as irritable bowel syndrome.
What is Lactobacillus paracasei (LPC-37)?
Another well-researched strain of robust good bacteria, Lactobacillus paracasei LPC-37 helps to strengthen the intestinal mucosal barrier, support immune health, and improve nutrient absorption. Lactobacillus paracasei is a common inhabitant of the GI tract with characteristics that include resistance to acid and bile, adhesion to intestinal surfaces, and antimicrobial activity. This bacteria is naturally found in fermented vegetables and some meat and dairy foods.
In vitro, animal, and human clinical trials have studied the ability of Lactobacillus paracasei to alleviate stress, improve sleep quality, reduce fasting glucose, positively impact lipid levels, and boost overall gut health. Most significantly, in humans:
A five-strain formulation that included LPC-37 was found to stabilize intestinal microbiota disturbances during and after use of antibiotics.
In a placebo-controlled study with healthy adults and those with atopic dermatitis (AD), LPC-37 was the main probiotic in a combination that was found to significantly increase fecal lactobacilli, reducing genotoxic potential in subjects with AD and modulating peripheral immune parameters in healthy subjects.
LPC-37 has demonstrated a benefit in lowering the risk of diarrhea-associated symptoms and abdominal pain in subjects requiring antibiotics. Additionally, an LPC-37 intervention correlated positively with total Bifidobacterium counts in fecal samples in children in developing countries who experienced diarrhea. The probiotic intervention was also observed to provoke a different response in short- and branched-chain fatty acid levels, correlated with those who developed diarrhea and those who did not.
A randomized, double-blind trial investigated the effect of LPC-37 on modulating stress, mood, and well-being. Results suggested that LPC-37 is an efficacious probiotic strain because it impacts outcomes related to physiological and psychological stress in healthy adults.
- In a pilot study of healthy subjects who were given the cholera vaccine, the immune effect of seven probiotic strains, including LPC-37, over a 3-week trial period, indicated changes in IgG serum concentration indicators — suggesting immunomodulatory properties of those strains.
What is the best probiotic with Lactobacillus?
For help in choosing the best foods that are good sources of Lactobacillus probiotics, see our list of probiotic foods in Probiotics 101; popular choices include yogurt, kefir and even cottage cheese.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG and Lactobacillus paracasei LPC-37 are two well-researched and efficacious supplemental probiotics, but many other species and strains, and their appropriate doses, are being studied to discern relative health benefits. As suggested in How to buy supplements: A 3-step guide, you should always check with your healthcare provider before trying any new supplement. These guidelines can easily be applied when it comes to selecting a probiotic product.
Fortunately, there are products like Eden’s synbiotic supplement, which has been scientifically validated and is the result of three years of development by a team of leading scientists. Eden’s contains both the Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG and Lactobacillus paracasei LPC-37 probiotic strains, in addition to two other probiotics, plus prebiotics and polyphenols. To learn more about how a synbiotic may provide more comprehensive benefits than a single-source probiotic supplement, check out What is a synbiotic? Everything you need to know.
3-in-1 Synbiotic Superblend
Probiotics play a key role in maintaining a healthy bacterial population and restoring microbial balance when gut dysbiosis occurs. Probiotics occur in fermented foods and are widely available as dietary supplements. Probiotic use has been linked to a healthy balance of gut microflora, important for easing symptoms related to a variety of GI disorders, and also a likely factor in supporting overall immune health. Not all the benefits documented for probiotics will be delivered by one specific species. Lactobacillus paracasei (LPC-37) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) are both well-researched Lactobacillus probiotic strains with unique features and health benefits.