Various well-known common probiotics share health effects like boosting immunity and fighting off infections. Some benefits may be specific to certain probiotic species or strains. With so many probiotics available in today’s marketplace, selecting the best probiotic for your individual needs can be overwhelming. It may help to understand the most common probiotics and how they act in the body.
What Are The Most Common Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria that are considered good or beneficial for your body’s functioning and health. Many probiotics are similar to bacteria that are naturally living in your body.
Common Genera of Probiotics
The most commonly consumed probiotics are species of two main genera. These genera are also the most studied probiotics:
Bifidobacteria: This genus of bacteria is commonly used in foods and supplements. They’re thought to:
- Support the immune system
- Limit the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestine
- Help break down lactose into nutrients the body can use
Lactobacillus: This genus of bacteria produces lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, or milk sugar. These bacteria also produce lactic acid. Lactic acid helps control the population of bad bacteria. It also serves as muscle fuel and increases the body’s absorption of minerals. Lactobacillus bacteria are found naturally in the:
- Small intestine
Common Species of Probiotics
Probiotic species are genetic subtypes of genera. Each probiotic species has a different effect on the body. You will see the probiotic species names on food or supplement labels, combined with the genus name.
Here are six common species of probiotics that you’ll find on food and supplement labels.
- B. animalis
- B. breve
- B. lactis
- B. longum
- L. acidophilus
- L. reuteri
What Is The Difference Between Each probiotic?
1. Lactobacillus acidophilus
Belonging to the lactobacillus genus, lactobacillus acidophilus helps break down lactose in dairy foods into lactic acid by producing the lactase enzyme.
2. Lactobacillus rhamnosus
This probiotic strain also belongs to the lactobacillus genus. L. rhamnosus’s claim to fame is from its ability to survive both acidic and basic conditions in your body.
3. Lactobacillus fermentum
It is thought that L. fermentum may support balance by supporting the breakdown of fats. It is also one of the few strains that may offer unique support for the vaginal tract, making it an excellent consideration for those in search of probiotics for women.
4. Lactobacillus bulgaricus
If the microbiome were putting on a Broadway show, L. bulgaricus would be your favorite ensemble member. While this probiotic strain rarely steps into center stage, it plays an important role in supporting the overall balance of your microbiome.
5. Lactobacillus reuteri
Lactobacillus reuteri may help support the tummies of children. It has been shown to help support a range of uncomfortable symptoms like occasional gas.
6. Lactobacillus brevis
Brevis is an incredibly versatile probiotic strain, even being used in the making of wine and beer. Winemakers, for example, might use L. Brevis balances red wine and make it less tart, or imparts a mild buttery flavor. Beer makers also use L. Brevis brings out a sour flavor in the beer. It’s also used for making pickles and wine.
7. Lactobacillus helveticus
Another incredible member of your microbiome’s “ensemble,” lactobacillus helveticus may help to support overall digestion and balance.
8. Bifidobacterium bifidum
Belonging to another important probiotic bifidobacteria genus, B. bifidum produces lactic acid as well. It attaches itself to the large intestine and vagina walls to offer support and balance.
9. Bifidobacterium lactis
This probiotic strain is another multi-talented ensemble member that may help support both digestive health and immune function.
10. Bifidobacterium longum
Bifidobacterium longum is one of the first bacteria to colonize a newborn infant’s digestive system. It’s also present in breast milk and may help to maintain a healthy gut balance.
11. Bifidobacterium infantis
Also, one of the first probiotic strains to colonize the digestive system of a newborn infant, bifidobacterium infantis may be one of the most important probiotic strains for children and adults. In addition to overall digestive support, B. infantis may also provide support for digestive distress, irregularity, and occasional gas and bloating.
How Does Each Help The Body?
- Enhanced immune health
- Improved digestion
- Alleviated symptoms of gastrointestinal distress
- Strengthened protection against foodborne pathogens
- Improved immune defense
- Increased antioxidant levels
- Improved immune responses
- Bolstered protection of gastrointestinal tract
- Improved health for intestinal cells