Before understanding what Lactobacillus gasseri is, one might want to know about a term called normal flora. Normal flora is a term used to describe different microorganisms that reside permanently in our body. However, they are restricted to certain body sites only and they might cause infections if moved out of that particular body site.
What are these bacteria?
Lactobacillus species are a group of Gram-positive bacteria that are the natural residents of the human digestive and genitourinary system. The member lactobacillus gasseri has gained popularity in recent times because of some of the greatest health benefits to the human body.
Where do they live in our bodies?
- Vaginal flora:
The adult vaginal flora consists primarily of the lactobacillus species that contribute majorly to the vaginal health by lowering the pH and hence stopping the potential infection-causing “pathogens” to invade it and cause infections.
- Digestive system:
The good bacteria also reside in different parts of the digestive system and are proven to show benefits to the gut.
Health benefits to the body
- Vaginal health:
The vagina is located close to the anus and therefore it is easily prone to get infected by the fecal flora. The microbes such as these good bacteria help to protect it from getting infected by lowering the pH and generating lactic acid that combats the infections and thus promoting good vaginal health.
- A shield against the endometrial pain:
Different studies have revealed that this bacteria reduces menstrual pain and also lessens the pain during a disease called endometriosis.
- Bowel pains:
This microbe has also shown results against a disease of the bowels called Irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease both the diseases cause the person to experience pain due to irritation of gut and this probiotic helps in easing the painful spells.
- Pylori infection:
Another great health benefit of this probiotic is that studies have shown that it helps in combating Pylori infection that causes stomach ulcers that are a major cause of acidity and epigastric pain in the body and further complications. It is believed that supplements of this bacteria aided in fighting this infection.
- Weight loss:
One miraculous benefit of this probiotic is that according to research Lactobacillus gasseri strain BNR17 extracted from human breast milk promoted weight loss and thus contributing to eliminate the major cause of morbidity and mortality of the world, obesity.
And obesity is the major reason for diabetes so it has proven to be effective in fighting against it.
- Overall health and immunity:
This bacteria has shown promising results for reducing systemic inflammation and improvising immunity of the body thus generating overall well-being of the person.
Where to find them?
Apart from having them inside your body, it is also found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, miso, tempeh, pickles, and sauerkraut. A Brazilian staple food called Puba is also lactobacillus rich food.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies it as a dietary supplement which means that it does not require clinical researches and experiments s to reach the grocery store shelves, therefore you can easily have them from the nearest supermarket. However quality might vary from brand to brand.
Who should have it?
If your vaginal and digestive health is doing well and there is no incidence of repetitive gut or genitourinary infections there’s no need to get extra supplements of it apart from taking a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle practices.
But if a person is having recurrent infections of the gut or vagina might need supplementation but it advised best to use it after consultation with your doctor.
Possible side effects:
Although within normal range and quantity there’s no reported side effect in a healthy individual overuse might cause gas and bloat.
The only people who are advised to avoid Lactobacillus are those who are immunocompromised that is they have weakened immune systems. These include people with advanced HIV infection, organ transplant recipients, and others taking immunosuppressive drugs for cancer and other conditions.
Without an intact immune system, there are chances that these probiotics can overgrow and cause diseases of heart chambers and their valves, potentially life-threatening and fatal.
If you have a weakened immune system or are taking immunosuppressive medications like steroids, methotrexate, (cyclosporine), consult with your doctor before taking a probiotic supplement. The use of Lactobacillus in children and during pregnancy is the area that is still under research however it is best to use it only if needed and with caution and definitely after consulting with your doctor.
Preparations and dosage:
The lactobacillus gasseri supplements are easily available at different pharmacies or even grocery stores. They are available in the form of suppositories and vaginal capsules as well as oral preparations.
The strength of Lactobacillus products is indicated by the number of living organisms per capsule or tablet. To promote vaginal or digestive health they are usually prepared as live bacteria as colony-forming units ranging from the quantity of 1 to 10 billion Colony-forming units (CFU).
Lactobacillus gasseri is a probiotic found as the normal flora in the digestive and genitourinary system. It helps promote vaginal health and enhancing body immunity. It has also proven to promote weight loss.
It is available in fermented foods and FDA approved supplementations. However, it is recommended to take supplements as per the doctor’s advice.