Lactobacillus: Why Is It Important?
Lactobacillus or lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are among the most significant groups of probiotics. They are found in fermented foods, dairy products, and dietary supplements.
Lactobacillus is an absolutely essential component of our gut. Together with other probiotics, they help your body fight off chronic diseases like IBS, IBD, and diabetes. This makes this probiotic genus a vital part of the gut microbiome. Besides helping to protect the gut from disease, they also act against harmful pathogens by releasing substances that stop harmful bacteria from colonizing the gut. They are capable of breaking down dietary fibers and phytonutrients, which can have a positive impact on health. They help feed other bacteria in the gut, including those responsible for producing butyrate.
Lactobacillus and gut health
This genus does a lot of work in the gut to help the body function properly such as:
- Promoting the growth of other beneficial bacteria. This makes them a valuable member of the gut ecosystem.
- Producing important substances like lactic acid, hence they are known as lactic acid bacteria.
- Producing short-chain fatty acids and other antimicrobial compounds that guard against infections.
The production of lactic acid and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) influences the pH level of the gut. Keeping the pH level balanced causes beneficial and harmless bacteria to flourish while preventing harmful ones from attacking and causing infections.
Acetate from SCFA is produced by Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. They are most abundant in the large intestine. Acetate feeds the butyrate-producing bacteria. The butyrate produces by the gut bacteria helps keep the gut healthy because they provide at least 70% energy for epithelial cells. This makes probiotics not only helpful in keeping the body healthy, but also encourages the growth of other probiotics.
Lactobacillus and body health
Various strains and species of probiotics can help manage, and protect from a range of diseases and infections. Lactobacillus is a genus of bacteria containing many species and strains. Different species and strains have different probiotic functions. They protect you from diseases and contribute to overall balance in the gut.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both examples of IBD. Studies show that the prevalence of anaerobic bacteria is lower in individuals with IBD. This reduces the anti-inflammatory property of the gut, resulting in flare-ups.
Taking probiotic supplements with Lactobacillus can restore balance, relieve inflammation and improve the symptoms of IBD.
Mental health issues
Many factors influence your mood, including bacteria. When dysbiosis happens and goes on unmanaged, harmful bacteria can cause inflammation and the immune system to react adversely. This can alter the brain signaling pathways, causing mood changes and even depression symptoms. There is still hope. Certain strains of lactobacillus seem to help treat depression and other mental health issues, regardless of what happens in the gut.
Managing diabetes has been a constant struggle and challenge for medical professionals. However, strain L. casei has shown promising results. L. casei can enhance the body’s response to glucose.