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Lactobacillus Sp. Information

Lactobacillus is a genus of rod-shaped bacteria, part of the lactic acid bacteria group. Most of the lactobacillus bacteria are benign and a number are associated with many health benefits. These bacteria live in the intestines and carry out important health functions. For example, they ferment fiber and converts it into short chain fatty acids - these can protect against cancer. In addition, they make the intestinal environment acidic; inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria.

Food Sources of Lactobacillus Bacteria

Lactobacillus sp. are found in most fermented foods - yogurt, cheese, sauerkraut, pickles, beer, wine, cider and chocolate. In addition they are nowadays added to many foods, making them ‘functional foods’.

Probiotics

Probiotic foods refers to food containing live bacteria. Lactobacillus bacteria and bifidobacteria and the most commonly used live organisms. Probiotics are generally found and added in yogurt and many lactobacillus yogurt brands produce specially-formulated prebiotic yogurts.

Species

There are over 125 species in the genus Lactobacillus:

LACTOBACILLUS acetotolerans
LACTOBACILLUS acidifarinae
LACTOBACILLUS acidipiscis
LACTOBACILLUS acidophilus
LACTOBACILLUS agilis
LACTOBACILLUS algidus
LACTOBACILLUS alimentarius
LACTOBACILLUS amylolyticus
LACTOBACILLUS amylophilus
LACTOBACILLUS amylotrophicus
LACTOBACILLUS amylovorus
LACTOBACILLUS animalis
LACTOBACILLUS antri
LACTOBACILLUS apodemi
LACTOBACILLUS aviarius
LACTOBACILLUS bifermentans
LACTOBACILLUS brevis
LACTOBACILLUS buchneri
LACTOBACILLUS camelliae
LACTOBACILLUS casei
LACTOBACILLUS catenaformis
LACTOBACILLUS ceti
LACTOBACILLUS coleohominis
LACTOBACILLUS collinoides
LACTOBACILLUS composti
LACTOBACILLUS concavus
LACTOBACILLUS coryniformis
LACTOBACILLUS crispatus
LACTOBACILLUS crustorum
LACTOBACILLUS curvatus
LACTOBACILLUS delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii
LACTOBACILLUS delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
LACTOBACILLUS delbrueckii subsp. lactis
LACTOBACILLUS dextrinicus
LACTOBACILLUS diolivorans
LACTOBACILLUS equi
LACTOBACILLUS equigenerosi
LACTOBACILLUS farraginis
LACTOBACILLUS farciminis
LACTOBACILLUS fermentum
LACTOBACILLUS fornicalis
LACTOBACILLUS fructivorans
LACTOBACILLUS frumenti
LACTOBACILLUS fuchuensis
LACTOBACILLUS gallinarum
LACTOBACILLUS gasseri
LACTOBACILLUS gastricus
LACTOBACILLUS ghanensis
LACTOBACILLUS graminis
LACTOBACILLUS hammesii
LACTOBACILLUS hamsteri
LACTOBACILLUS harbinensis
LACTOBACILLUS hayakitensis
LACTOBACILLUS helveticus
LACTOBACILLUS hilgardii
LACTOBACILLUS homohiochii
LACTOBACILLUS iners
LACTOBACILLUS ingluviei
LACTOBACILLUS intestinalis
LACTOBACILLUS jensenii
LACTOBACILLUS johnsonii
LACTOBACILLUS kalixensis
LACTOBACILLUS kefiranofaciens
LACTOBACILLUS kefiri
LACTOBACILLUS kimchii
LACTOBACILLUS kitasatonis
LACTOBACILLUS kunkeei
LACTOBACILLUS leichmannii
LACTOBACILLUS lindneri
LACTOBACILLUS malefermentans
LACTOBACILLUS mali
LACTOBACILLUS manihotivorans
LACTOBACILLUS mindensis
LACTOBACILLUS mucosae
LACTOBACILLUS murinus
LACTOBACILLUS nagelii
LACTOBACILLUS namurensis
LACTOBACILLUS nantensis
LACTOBACILLUS oligofermentans
LACTOBACILLUS oris
LACTOBACILLUS panis
LACTOBACILLUS pantheris
LACTOBACILLUS parabrevis
LACTOBACILLUS parabuchneri
LACTOBACILLUS paracollinoides
LACTOBACILLUS parafarraginis
LACTOBACILLUS parakefiri
LACTOBACILLUS paralimentarius
LACTOBACILLUS paraplantarum
LACTOBACILLUS pentosus
LACTOBACILLUS perolens
LACTOBACILLUS plantarum
LACTOBACILLUS pontis
LACTOBACILLUS psittaci
LACTOBACILLUS rennini
LACTOBACILLUS reuteri
LACTOBACILLUS rhamnosus
LACTOBACILLUS rimae
LACTOBACILLUS rogosae
LACTOBACILLUS rossiae
LACTOBACILLUS ruminis
LACTOBACILLUS saerimneri
LACTOBACILLUS sakei
LACTOBACILLUS salivarius
LACTOBACILLUS sanfranciscensis
LACTOBACILLUS satsumensis
LACTOBACILLUS secaliphilus
LACTOBACILLUS sharpeae
LACTOBACILLUS siliginis
LACTOBACILLUS spicheri
LACTOBACILLUS suebicus
LACTOBACILLUS thailandensis
LACTOBACILLUS ultunensis
LACTOBACILLUS vaccinostercus
LACTOBACILLUS vaginalis
LACTOBACILLUS versmoldensis
LACTOBACILLUS vini
LACTOBACILLUS vitulinus
LACTOBACILLUS zeae
LACTOBACILLUS zymae

Effectiveness

According to MedlinePlus, lactobacillus are:

Likely effective for...

  • Diarrhea in children caused by a certain virus (rotavirus).

Possibly effective for...

  • Preventing diarrhea in children caused by antibiotics.
  • Preventing diarrhea in hospitalized adults.
  • Preventing diarrhea due to traveling.
  • Preventing diarrhea due to cancer treatment (chemotherapy).
  • Colic in babies.  
  • Lung infections.  
  • Treating a bowel condition called ulcerative colitis.  
  • Treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  
  • Treating vaginal infections caused by bacteria (bacterial vaginosis).  
  • Treating and preventing eczema (atopic dermatitis) in infants and children who are allergic to cow’s milk.  
  • Helping prescription medications treat Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) infection, which causes stomach ulcers.
  • Treating diarrhea caused by the bacterium Clostridium difficile.

Possibly ineffective for...

  • Vaginal yeast infections after taking antibiotics.  
  • Crohn's disease.
  • Lactose intolerance.
  • Reducing symptoms of too much bacteria in the intestines.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs).  
  • General digestion problems.
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in babies born prematurely.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Sensitivity to milk (lactose-intolerance).
  • Lyme disease.
  • Hives.
  • Fever blisters.
  • Canker sores.
  • Acne.
  • Cancer.
  • Boosting the immune system.
  • Common cold.
  • Preventing infections in people on ventilators.
  • Other conditions.

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