Digestive woes are far from pleasant and can come without warning. Some common digestive issues include diarrhea caused by the use of antibiotics, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease1. Probiotics have been shown to be very effective in the treatment of common gastrointestinal (GI) and vaginal mucosal infections2. Additionally, by maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, probiotics can have positive effects on body weight, insulin sensitivity, prolonged inflammation, glucose and fat metabolism, and more.3,6
The Most Effective Probiotic StrainsWe know that probiotics are effective in promoting and maintaining the health of our GI tracts. But exactly which probiotic strains do we need? These 10 strains have been well-researched and shown positive health benefits:
- L. Acidophilus: As we grow older, our cholesterol levels become an ever-growing focus at yearly check-ups. High cholesterol has been linked to many conditions, with heart disease being among the most prominent4. The probiotic L. Acidophilus has been shown to help manage cholesterol levels, promoting a lower risk of heart disease5.
- L. Plantarum: Similar to L. Acidophilus, L. Plantarum has displayed an ability to help keep overall cholesterol levels within a healthy range5.
- L. Rhamnosus: L. Rhamnosus helps protect the GI tract from invasive microorganisms and other health threats, including those associated with colon cancer.6
- L. Paracasei: In a controlled study, taking L. Paracasei for at least two weeks led to a significant count reduction in pathogenic microbes present in the intestines of participants7.
- L. Salivarius: In a study analyzing pathogenic organisms that cause oral caries, or tooth decay, L. Salivarius was shown to reduce the organism counts and promote overall oral health8.
- L. Casei: L Casei has been shown to fight GI ailments and intestinal diseases including but not limited to: irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and diarrhea5.
- S. Thermophilus: S. Thermophilus has displayed an ability to alleviate the symptoms of a wide variety of GI symptoms, most notably those associated with lactose intolerance9. This probiotic is highly recommended for preventative measures, especially among those with diets high in dairy.
- B. Longum: Arguably the most important probiotic, B. Longum has displayed an ability to degrade cancer-causing nitrates, similar to L. Rhamnosus5.
- B. Lactis: While many have adopted gluten free diets by choice in recent years, those suffering from coeliac disease have no choice if they wish to avoid small-bowel damage. B. Lactis can directly counteract the harmful effects of coeliac-toxic gliadin and serves as one of the most effective treatments for coeliac disease10.
- B. Bifidum: Like L. Rhamnosus and B. Longum, B. Bifidum has been shown to fight ulcers and maintain colon health, helping to reduce risk of colon cancer5.
3. Probiotics in prevention and treatment of obesity: a critical view, 20 February 2016
6. COLORECTAL CANCER, 2016 Nov 5
8. Effect of a Lactobacillus Salivarius Probiotic on a Double-Species Streptococcus Mutans and Candida Albicans Caries Biofilm, 2017 Nov 14