Lactobacillus rhamnosus, or L. rhamnosus, is a type of probiotic bacteria. Probiotics, as defined by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, are "live microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host." (1) L. rhamnosus was first isolated in 1983 in the intestines of a healthy human subject by scientists Barry Goldin and Sherwood Gorbach, when it was shown to have remarkable tolerance for the harsh acids normally found in the stomach and digestive tract.. The "GG" in the title of the strain L. rhamnosus GG is derived from the last names of the two scientists. Like other probiotics, L. rhamnosus has properties that are beneficial to the intestinal tract. It is also believed to be of considerable assistance with the immune system, particularly in combating intestinal and urinary tract pathogens. L. rhamnosus is also used as a natural preservative in yogurt-based products, where the bacterium attaches to the lining of the intestines, where it encourages the growth of helpful organisms that aid in digestion.. Lactobacillus rhamnosus is a probiotic bacterium that helps eliminate and prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines. Many consumers may be familiar with lactobacillus probiotics, which are touted today by some yogurt manufacturers as an aid in digestion and in promoting regular bowel activity. In fact, lactobacilli have been used for centuries to aid in the fermentation of dairy products. During the 20th century, researchers began evaluating these organisms and their positive effects on the human body and its ability to naturally ward off disease and infection. The lactobacillus rhamnosus bacterium was first isolated by researchers in 1983, when it was shown to have remarkable tolerance for the harsh acids normally found in the stomach and digestive tract.(2)
Benefits of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
Helps Fight Intestinal Tract Illnesses
According to studies published by Goldin and Gorbach, L. rhamnosus is said to be able to survive the highly acidic conditions of the human stomach, as well as the intestinal tract. It is also believed to be bile-stable. (2) This makes the probiotic highly desirable in its ability to conquer intestinal ailments.
Suppresses Bacterial Infections in Renal Patients
In 2005, it was demonstrated that with patients experiencing kidney-related illnesses, L. rhamnosus is capable of interrupting the gastrointestinal transportation of the variety of enterococcus that is resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. (3)
Assists in Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections
According to an article published in the November 2009 issue of Renal and Urology News, daily ingestion of L. rhamnosus Gr-1 may be effective in helping postmenopausal women who suffer from chronic urinary tract infections. While dosage of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole is considered to be a standard treatment for a UTI, L. rhamnosus is a viable alternative when antibiotic resistance is a consideration. (4) The probiotic seems to be capable of safeguarding the urogenital tract by its ability to excrete biosurfactants. This enables the tract to limit the adhesion of pathogens.
Helps Build a Superior Immune System
While blood cells are certainly a major agent in managing the body's immune system, the gut is also a huge contributor in this area. Because of the ability of L. rhamnosus to survive in extremely acidic environments such as the digestive system, the probiotic can thrive in the gut. L. rhamnosus stimulates the production of antibodies and also assists in the process of phagocytosis, a means by which the body combats dangerous invasive bacteria.
Aids in Dairy Product Digestion Among the Lactose-Intolerant
A 1998 study conducted among dairy-sensitive research subjects showed that the subjects who consumed milk with L. rhamnosus GG did not exhibit the inflammatory response that occurred with the subjects who drank milk without the probiotic. Also, the L. rhamnosus appeared to enhance the immune system in the test subjects in whom the probiotic-enhanced milk did not generate an inflammatory reaction. (5)
Decreases Duration of Diarrhea
Research conducted in 2000 in several European countries indicated that the administration of L. rhamnosus GG to children suffering from rotavirus shortened the duration by at least one day of the pervasive diarrhea associated with the illness. (6) Another study showed that ingestion lf L. rhamnosus GG was helpful in reducing the extent of diarrhea when it exists as a side effect of antibiotic use to combat H. pylori infections. (7)
Safety of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus
With the exception of extremely rare occurrences of sepsis in limited groups of patients with serious diseases, such as HIV or AIDS, and in patients with short bowel syndrome.(8,9), no significant side effects have been shown to exist with the the use of L. rhamnosus. There may be an initial brief period of bloating and gas among subjects taking it for the first time. These symptoms should disappear as the body becomes accustomed to the presence of the probiotic.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is one of the most widely studied probiotics, noted and valued for its ability to survive and even thrive in the harsh conditions of the digestive and urinary tracts. Multiple clinical trials have determined the bacterium to be especially beneficial in promoting and maintaining digestive tract health. Lactobacillus rhamnosus is extremely well tolerated by men and women, and has been associated with only very rare side effects. Studies have shown that, taken regularly, lactobacillus rhamnosus can be an effective supplement in promoting and maintaining digestive tract health.
(1) FAO/WHO: Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria. Report of the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations/World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Consultation on Evaluation of Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food Including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria.
(2) Conway PL, Gorbach SL, Goldin BR (1987). "Survival of lactic acid bacteria in the human stomach and adhesion to intestinal cells". Journal of. Dairy Science. 70 (1): 1–12.
(3) Manley KJ, Fraenkel MB, Mayall BC, Power DA (2007). "Probiotic treatment of vancomycin-resistant enterococci: a randomised controlled trial." Medical Journal of Australia, 186 (9): 454–7.
(4) Schieszer, J, "Antibiotic UTI Prophylaxis Slightly Better," Renal & Urology News, November 2009.
(5) Pelto L, Isolauri E, Lilius EM, Nuutila J, Salminen S. "Probiotic bacteria down-regulate the milk-induced inflammatory response in milk-hypersensitive subjects but have an immunostimulatory effect in healthy subjects." Clinical & Experimental Allergy. 1998 Dec; 28 (12):1474-9.
(6) Guandalini S, Pensabene L, Abu Zikri M, Amil Dias J, Gobio Casali L, et al. "Lactobacillus GG Administered in oral rehydration solution to children with acute diarrhea: A multi-center European trial." Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition. 2000; 30: 54-60.
(7) Armuzzi A, Cremonini F, Ojetti V, Bartolozzi F, Canducci F, Candelli M, Santarelli L, Cammarota G, De Lorenzo A, Pola P, Gasbarrini G, Gasbarrini A. "Effect of Lactobacillus GG supplementation on antibiotic-associated gastrointestinal side effects during Helicobacter pylori eradication therapy: a pilot study." Digestion. 2001; 63 (1):1-7.
(8) Gupta, V; Garg, R. "Probiotics". Indian Journal of Medical Microbioloy 27 (3): 202-9.
(9) WebMD.com website. Lactobacillus - webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-790-LACTOBACILLUS.aspx?activeIngredientId=790&activeIngredientName=LACTOBACILLUS&source=2
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