Summary of probiotic strains
Commercial probiotic products do not always
specify the strain of microorganism they contain.
When they do, it may be a strain that has never been
scientifically studied, or has been studied but no
health benefits were identified.
Dozens of microorganisms have been shown to have
desirable probiotic qualities, at least in vitro.
However, ingested bacteria are normally killed in the
stomach. A small number of strains have been shown to
colonize the human gastrointestinal(GI) tract in
clinical trials(see the definition of an "implantable strain", below).
This is thought to be a necessary prerequisite
for any health benefits to be conferred. A few strains
have shown they both colonize the GI tract and confer
specific benefits in human clinical trials. This is the
most credible variety of probiotic, and while growing,
there are only a small handful. Most are not available
commercially in the US market.
For the purposes of this website, I will use the
following terms to distinguish the scientific support
for different probiotic microorganisms.
- Research strain:
- Any generally regarded as safe(GRAS) microorganism
being studied for probiotic application, but not
commercially available in any market.
- Commercial strain:
- A strain produced on an industrial scale for
commercial use, as a fresh product(fermented milk,
juice, etc) or nutritional supplement(capsules or sashes).
- Probiotic strain:
- Any Generally Regarded As Safe(GRAS)
microorganism(such as lactobacilli, bifidobacteria, streptococci,
sacharomycis, etc) shown in published research to have
one or more of the following positive attributes:
- In vitro adherence to epithilial cells.
- In vitro antimicrobial activity.
- In vitro resistance to bile, hydrochloric
acid, and pancreatic juice.
- Anticarcinogenic activity(reduction
of carcinogens) in clinical trials.
- Immune modulation or stimulation in human clinical trials.
- Reduction of intestinal permeability in human clinical trials.
- Colonization of the GI tract in human clinical trails.
- Implantable strain:
- Any microbial strain native to the GI tract of man(i.e.
lactobacilli or bifidobacteria) shown
to survive passage through the GI
tract(appear live in the stool) or persist
on biopsies of the GI mucosa after
cessation of feeding.
- Clinical strain:
- An implantable strain which has been shown to have
one or more specific health benefits, and therefore have
demonstrated clinical usefulness. Some examples of
benefits that have been shown are reduced intestinal permeability(LGG),
enhancement of immune function(various strains),
and treatment of infection.
Table of probiotic strains
This table does not include all strains with probiotic
value, just those that are more prominent. I have not
necessarily included all the benefits of each strain,
but focused on those which are of most interest to people
with chronic candida(or a disturbed GI microflora).
||Shown to implant
||Yes, as a transient
||Prevention/treatment of diarrhea
|L.casei strain DN-114001
Phoenix and Denver only
|| (Dannon, please send info)
||Reduces diarrhea in children2
|L.acidophilus NCFB 1748
||Arla Acidophilus(Arla), not in USA
|| (Arla, please send info)
|L.rhamnosus VTT E-97800
(Probi AB), not in USA
|| (info forthcoming)
|L.casei strain Shirota
|| (info forthcoming)
(CAG Functional foods), "Gefilus"(Valio)
||Treat Clostridium difficile infection,
reduce intestinal permeability6
||treat IBS, prevent translocation in ICU patients
There is a short, but growing list of probiotic
strains with proven clinical value. The two strains with
the most research-proven benefits are probably LGG and
Lp299v. Each has a separate page on this site.
- Lactobacillus GG
(ATCC 53103). Identified in 1987 through an in vitro screening
process, this is the first bacterium to be
proven to colonize the human gastrointestinal
tract in vivo5.
It can relieve some cases of
milk allergy by reducing intestinal permeability6.
It has been shown to improve resistance to candida
in immunocompromised mice7.
Lactobacillus GG is now being sold in the U.S.A.
in a product called
- Lactobacillus plantarum 299v.
Identified through a combination of in vitro and in vivo
screening, this bacterium has shown value in surgical recovery where
bacterial translocation is a risk.
It has also been useful in the
treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS),
a common and difficult to treat disorder.
Details on other probiotic strains from the table
These may not have been shown to colonize(or implant in)
the human intestine, but they still have some
proven probiotic attributes.
- Lactobacillus casei
strain Shirota, sold by a
Japanese company("Yakult") in cultured foods, was
recently shown in human trials
to be able to implant in the GI tract4.
Not available in the U.S.
rhamnosus VTT E-97800,
identified by researchers at
VTT(the technical research
center of Finland). It has in vitro
antimicrobial activity against candida and
other pathogens, and can implant in the GI tract.
- Lactobacillus reuteri, manufactured by
Biogaia of Sweden.
It is effective against rotaviral diarrhea in children3,
and produces an antibacterial substance "reuterin".
It is an ingredient in "Stoneyfield yogurt" in the USA,
as indicated by it's label with the "Reuteri" symbol.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFB 1748,
shown in research to appear to reduce candida in
the GI tract of human subjects8.
Sold by "Arla" in their acidophilus milk
(not available in the U.S.), I would like a
sample of this strain to evaluate but have
so far been unable to obtain one.
- Lactobacillus acidophilus Lat 11/83 ("solco lactobacteria",
identified in Russia), most research published in Russian
with only an abstract in English. There is significant
probiotic research being done in Russia, but most
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus 271 (DSMZ 6594), sponsored
by Probi AB and sold in "PrimaLiv" and weight
watcher's yogurt(in Europe). Not available in the U.S.A.
- The yeast Saccharomyces boulardii,
used to reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea in
several studies9. This is the only
probiotic mentioned on this site that is not a bacterium.
It is available in capsules in the USA.
Additional information on probiotics
Commercial Probiotics Web Sites
- Probi AB,
Probi AB, a Swedish probiotic company, produces L.plantarum 299v
as well as other probiotics with scientifically supported benefits.
BioGaia, another Swedish probiotic company, which produces
Living Well with Probiotics,
What is Lactobacillus GG?
A web site sponsored by an educational grant from CAG Functional Foods
(the company with the US rights to market LGG)
Culturelle's website allows you
to purchase it online. This is the only probiotic in the US market that
Chr Hansen's Biosystems probiotics,
Christian Hansen's Biosystems, large food ingredient and diary culture manufacturer.
A commercial probiotic company
- Wolf BW, Garleb KA, Ataya BG, CASAS IA "Safety and tolerance
of Lactobacillus reuteri in healthy adult male subjects"
Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease,
- Shornikova AV, Casas IA, Isolauri E, Mykkanen H, Verikari T
"Lactobacillus reuteri as a therapeutic agent in acute
diarrhea in young children" Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology
and Nutrition 24:399-404 1997
- Johansson M.L. et al.
"Administration of different Lactobacillus
strains in fermented oatmeal soup: in vivo colonization of human
intestinal mucosa and effect of the indigenous flora" Applied
and Environmental Microbiology 59(1):15-20,
- "Survival of a probiotic, Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota,
in the gastrointestinal tract: selective isolation from
faeces and identification using monoclonal antibodies."
Int J Food Microbiol 1999 Apr 1;48(1):51-7
- Goldin BR et al.
"Survival of Lactobacillus
species (strain GG) in human gastrointestinal tract" Digestive
Diseases and Sciences 37(1):121-128
- Majamaa H. and Isolauri E.
a novel approach in the management of
food allergy" J Allergy
Clin Immunol (99):179-85, 1997
- Wagner RD et al.
of probiotic bacteria on candidiasis in immunodeficient mice"
Infection and Immunity 65(10):4165-4172
- Lidbeck A et al.
"Impact of Lactobacillus acidophilus on the
normal intestinal microflora after the administration of two
antimicrobial agents" Infection 16(6):329-336, 1988
- McFarland LV, Bernasconi P "Saccaromyces boulardii, a
review of an innovative biotherapeutic agent" Microbial
Ecology in Health and Disease, 6:1578-171 1993
Last updated on: 2010-11-05
Information on this site, including comments on medical treatments, is
not intended as medical advice to visitors. It should be
evaluated critically and should not take the place of
medical advice from a licensed healthcare professional.