The Benefits of Lactobacillus Gasseri

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lactobacillus gasseri
Lactobacillus gasseri is found naturally in breast milk. Kaori Ando/Image Source/Getty Images

In recent years, a probiotic known as Lactobacillus gasseri has gained a great deal of popularity. Also known as "beneficial bacteria" or "good bacteria," probiotics are found naturally in the human body and in certain foods. When taken in dietary supplement form, Lactobacillus gasseri is said to reduce inflammation and offer a variety of health benefits.

Lactobacillus gasseri is a species in the genus Lactobacillus, which is a type of bacteria naturally present in the human digestive, urinary, and genital systems (other Lactobacillus species include rhamnosus, GG, and acidophillus).

These bacteria are thought to help the body function properly by reducing harmful bacteria, enhancing immune function, and stimulating digestion.

Uses

Proponents suggest that Lactobacillus gasseria can help to reduce belly fat, inhibit fat production, speed up metabolism, and protect against obesity.

In addition, Lactobacillus gasseri is said to help with the following health problems:

Benefits

Here's a look at several study findings on the potential health benefits of Lactobacillus gasseri:

1)  Weight Loss

A number of clinical trials and animal-based studies suggest that Lactobacillus gasseri may help reduce abdominal fat and support weight loss.

These studies include a clinical trial published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2013, which included 210 healthy adults with excess abdominal fat. For the study, participants were given either milk enriched with Lactobacillus gasseri strain SBT2055 or a placebo milk for 12 weeks.

At the study's end, those given the Lactobacillus gasseri-enriched milk showed a significantly greater reduction in abdominal fat compared to those given the placebo.

Other recent clinical trials focusing on Lactobacillus gasseri and weight loss include a 2013 study from the Korean Journal of Family Medicine.

The study involved 62 adults with a high body mass index, each of whom was assigned to 12 weeks of treatment with Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17 or a placebo. At the study's end, there were no significant differences in the groups, however, those taking the supplement did have a slight reduction in body weight and waist and hip circumference.

2)  Menstrual Pain

Lactobacillus gasseri may help lessen menstrual pain in women with endometriosis, suggests a small study published in the journal Cytotechnology in 2011.

The study involved 66 patients with endometriosis. Compared to those given a placebo for 12 weeks, those treated with the Lactobacillus gasseri strain OLL2809 for the same time period experienced significantly greater relief of menstrual pain.

3)  Helicobacter Pylori Infection

For a report published in the PLoS One in 2014, scientists sized up thirty three previously published clinical trials (with a total of 4459 participants) examining the effects of probiotic supplementation on the eradication of Helicobacter pylori (H pylori), a type of bacteria that can cause infections in the stomach.

In their review, the report's authors found that the eradication rate was higher in those taking the probiotics supplements (specific strains included Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei DN-114001, Lactobacillus gasseri, and Bifidobacterium infantis 2036).

While probiotic supplementation shouldn't replace conventional treatment, the authors note that it should be explored as an option for increasing eradication rates, "particularly when antibiotic therapies are relatively ineffective".

Possible Side Effects

In some cases, use of Lactobacillus gasseri and other probiotics may trigger such side effects as gas and bloating. In addition, there's some concern that taking probiotics in combination with immunosuppressive drugs may be extremely harmful to your health.

Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

You can get tips on using supplements here, but if you're considering the use of lactobacillus gasseri, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.

Where to Find It

Found naturally in breast milk, Lactobacillus gasseri is also found in certain fermented foods such as Puba or carimã, a Brazilian staple food. It can be purchased in dietary supplement form in many natural-foods stores.

You can increase your intake of a variety of probiotics by consuming fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

Sources:

Dang Y, Reinhardt JD, Zhou X, Zhang G. The effect of probiotics supplementation on Helicobacter pylori eradication rates and side effects during eradication therapy: a meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014 Nov 3;9(11):e111030. 

Itoh H, Uchida M, Sashihara T, et al. Lactobacillus gasseri OLL2809 is effective especially on the menstrual pain and dysmenorrhea in endometriosis patients: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Cytotechnology. 2011 Mar;63(2):153-61.

Jung SP, Lee KM, Kang JH, et al. Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri BNR17 on Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial. Korean J Fam Med. 2013 Mar;34(2):80-9.

Kadooka Y, Sato M, Ogawa A, et al. Effect of Lactobacillus gasseri SBT2055 in fermented milk on abdominal adiposity in adults in a randomised controlled trial. Br J Nutr. 2013 Nov 14;110(9):1696-703.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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