All You Need to Know About Different Probiotic Strains
What are probiotic strains?
A probiotic “strain” refers to a specific variant of a microbial species that is found in certain foods or probiotic supplements. Probiotics are live microorganisms, typically bacteria or yeast, that may offer numerous health benefits when taken in adequate amounts. Within a particular species of probiotic, there can be multiple strains, and each strain may have distinct characteristics and functions.
According to Harvard Medical School, there are currently over 500 known strains of probiotics. Probiotics can be found in various fermented foods as well as in over the counter probiotic supplements.
Some foods that naturally include probiotics are yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles (homemade, not store bought), miso and kombucha (a fermented tea drink).
What probiotic strains are most commonly found in food?
Several strains of probiotics are commonly found in food - some of the most common ones include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: Found in yogurt and fermented dairy products, L. acidophilus is known for its ability to produce lactic acid and promote a balanced gut microbiome. L. acidophilus was the first strain of probiotics to ever be discovered, in 1905.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum: Present in dairy products and certain fermented foods, this strain is associated with promoting a healthy balance of bacteria in the intestines.
- Lactobacillus casei: Commonly found in fermented dairy products and some fermented beverages, L. casei is believed to support digestive health.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: Often found in yogurt and other dairy products, this strain is known for its potential benefits in supporting the immune system and overall digestive health.
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus: This strain is frequently used in the fermentation of yogurt and contributes to yogurt’s characteristic taste and texture.
- Streptococcus thermophilus: Often paired with L. bulgaricus in yogurt production, S. thermophilus helps create the acidic environment necessary for yogurt fermentation.
- Saccharomyces boulardii: Unlike bacterial strains, S. boulardii is a yeast commonly found in probiotic supplements. It is known for its potential to help alleviate diarrhea associated with various causes including Irritable Bowel Syndrome and viral infections.
- Bifidobacterium longum: Found in fermented dairy products and some fermented foods, B. longum is associated with promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria and supporting the immune system. Preliminary studies suggest there may be some benefits to Rheumatoid Arthritis patients consuming B. longum.
- Lactococcus lactis: Used in the fermentation of various dairy products, this strain plays a role in producing lactic acid and contributes to the flavor and texture of the final product.
- Bifidobacterium breve: Present in dairy products and certain fermented foods, B. breve is recognized for its potential to support digestive health.
It's important to note that the effectiveness of probiotics can depend on various factors, including the specific strain, the dosage, and individual differences in gut microbiome. It’s also worth noting that the strains and concentrations of probiotics can vary between different brands and types of fermented foods.
What strains of probiotics are most commonly found in supplements?
Probiotic supplements often contain a variety of bacterial and yeast strains, and the specific strains can vary between products and brands.
Some of the commonly found probiotic strains in supplements like ImmunaPro, include:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus: Known for its ability to produce lactic acid and promote a balanced gut flora, L. acidophilus is one of the most common probiotic strains found in supplements.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum: This strain is often included in probiotic supplements and is associated with supporting digestive health and promoting a balanced microbiome.
- Lactobacillus casei: Found in various supplements, L. casei is believed to support digestive health and may contribute to immune system function and it may help with regulating the immune system in those with autoimmune disorders including but not limited to systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and colitis.
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus: Known for its potential benefits in supporting immune and digestive health, L. rhamnosus is frequently included in probiotic formulations.
- Bifidobacterium longum: This strain is commonly found in supplements and is associated with promoting a healthy microbiome and supporting the immune system.
- Bifidobacterium breve: Often included in probiotic blends, B. breve is recognized for its potential to support digestive health.
- Lactobacillus plantarum: Known for its ability to survive in diverse environmental conditions, L. plantarum is commonly found in supplements and may contribute to overall gut health.
- Saccharomyces boulardii: Unlike bacterial strains, S. boulardii is a yeast commonly found in probiotic supplements. It is known for its potential to help alleviate diarrhea associated with various causes such as viral infections, IBD (Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, etc.), IBS and more.
- Streptococcus thermophilus: Commonly used in the production of yogurt and fermented dairy products, this strain is also found in some probiotic supplements.
- Lactobacillus paracasei: Known for its potential to support immune health and digestive balance, L. paracasei is another strain commonly found in probiotic supplements.
It's important for consumers to check the product labels to identify the specific strains included in a probiotic supplement. The effectiveness of a probiotic often depends on the combination of strains, their concentrations, and the overall quality of the supplement. Additionally, ImmunaRelief always strongly recommends consulting with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.
What are the best probiotic strains for autoimmune disease?
Research on the use of probiotics in autoimmune diseases is still in its early stages, and the relationship between specific probiotic strains and autoimmune conditions is complex. While some studies suggest that probiotics may have a role in modulating the immune system and potentially influencing autoimmune responses, more research is needed to establish clear treatment recommendations.
That being said, certain probiotic strains have been investigated for their potential immunomodulatory effects. Keep in mind that individual responses to probiotics can vary greatly, and it's always important to consult with your healthcare provider before using them, especially if you have an autoimmune condition.
Here are some probiotic strains that have been studied for their potential benefits:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG): LGG is one of the most researched probiotic strains. Some studies suggest it may have immune-modulating effects and could be beneficial in autoimmune conditions.
- Bifidobacterium bifidum: This strain has been investigated for its potential to modulate the immune system and may be relevant in autoimmune conditions. Initial studies have shown promising results in using B. bifidum to help manage dry eyes in Sjögren's Syndrome.
- Lactobacillus casei: L. casei has been studied for its immunomodulatory effects and its potential to influence the immune response in autoimmune conditions including Lupus (SLE), Rheumatoid Arthritis & Colitis.
- Bifidobacterium longum: Research has explored the anti-inflammatory properties of B. longum, and it may have potential benefits in autoimmune disorders, including Multiple Sclerosis.
- Lactobacillus plantarum: Some studies suggest that L. plantarum may have immunomodulatory effects and could play a role in supporting immune health.
- Bifidobacterium breve: B. breve has been investigated for its anti-inflammatory properties, and it may have implications for autoimmune conditions.
Probiotic Strain FAQ's
What was the first strain of probiotics ever discovered?
One of the earliest strains of bacteria recognized for its potential health benefits was Lactobacillus acidophilus. In 1905, a Russian scientist named Élie Metchnikoff, proposed the idea that consuming fermented milk containing Lactobacillus could have positive effects on the gut and overall health. Metchnikoff's observations were based on the belief that certain lactic acid-producing bacteria could counteract the harmful effects of other bacteria in the intestines.
When was the term "probiotics" introduced?
The term "probiotic" was first coined in the 1960's.