Lactobacillus Gasseri – Know the Facts
If you were asked to say the name of any probiotic you knew about, would Lactobacillus gasseri be the first to pop into your mind?
If your answer is ‘yes’, then you are most likely a fine connoisseur of the probiotic world and what it has to offer to our general wellbeing.
On the other hand, if you haven’t even heard about Lactobacillus gasseri before, then you should consider taking a peek at some more information about this beneficial bacterium. Who knows? You might discover the perfect metabolic and immunity booster for you!
What is Lactobacillus gasseri?
Lactobacillus gasseri is a ‘good’ microorganism naturally found in the gastrointestinal tract of humans and most mammals. In addition, it can be found in the urogenital system as well, especially in the case of healthy women. Lactobacillus gasseri does not produce spores and develops best in an anaerobe environment (namely one which actively lacks oxygen).
It can be categorized as a member of the Lactobacillaceae family and Lactobacillus genus, meaning that the present probiotic element exhibits such distinct characteristics as pertaining to the lactic acid bacteria type. These include accelerated fermentation (via increased production of lactic acid within the organism) and ameliorated immunity control.
Aside from lactic acid – which aids in food decomposition and pathogen suppression alike – Lactobacillus gasseri also boosts the levels of gassericin A within the organism. This substance falls into the group of bacteriocins, that is low-grade toxins that inhibit the formation of microbes, yeasts, protozoa, and other ‘bad’ bacteria that might have entered the body through various pathways (respiratory, gastric, open wounds, etc).
More recently, Lactobacillus gasseri has been officially used as a probiotic component in numerous products such as dairy, fermented vegetables, and dietary supplements as a result of its complex and positive action on the entire economy of human welfare.
How do probiotics work?
Before diving into the numerous attributes of Lactobacillus gasseri in relation to our health and happiness, you should be able to really understand how probiotics influence us on a day-to-day basis.
As the name so aptly hints at, probiotics represent ‘pro-life’ bacteria which create a symbiotic relationship with your body in order to actively survive at the level of the gastrointestinal tract. By adhering to the mucosal lining of the gut, they enhance the functionality of your own metabolic and immunomodulatory functions to the point where they become indispensable for your overall wellness.
Probiotics ‘enter’ a person’s life beginning from the very early stages of life when the mother transfers a series of essential colonies to the infant through the process of natural birth and then via breastfeeding. The role of these ‘good’ bacteria is to then settle within the child’s gut and create the digestive matrix which will accompany him or her throughout their lifetime.
The most obvious advantage is that of digestion and all the secondary activities which accompany it along the way. Since probiotics can be found all across the length of the gastrointestinal tract, it means that they can help with food decomposition beginning with the mouth and stomach and ending with the small intestine and colon alike.
This acceleration (or normalization, depending on the case) translates into better nutrient assimilation, more energy, regularized bowel motility, and drastically improved abdominal comfort (the absence of distention or bloating, gas, cramps, etc.). Some research argues that constant probiotic supplementation could result in better weight loss too, as well as lowered cholesterol and even ameliorated mental stability.
Even though probiotics like Lactobacillus gasseri are considered to be an innate part of any digestive system, factors such as bad dietary habits and extensive periods of stress can end up significantly damaging these colonies in the long run. This is the reason why both specialists and nutritionists recommend turning to probiotic supplementation in order to restore your intestinal microflora. As you will see later on, probiotic boosting can be done in a number of ways, the most popular being thorough dairy products, fermented (pickled) veggies, and commercial supplements.
For optimal thriving conditions, probiotic supplementation should be accompanied by prebiotic enhancement as well. Prebiotics constitute fibre-like substances that aid the initial development of ‘friendly’ colonies by simultaneously providing them with nourishment and protection against gastric acid. Nowadays, prebiotics are generally extracted from sources like bananas, artichoke, chicory root, gum arabic, asparagus, onions, leeks, etc.
The benefits (and drawbacks) of Lactobacillus gasseri for the human body
While they are all beneficial in their own right, each probiotic elements contributes differently to our regular sense of welfare. Lactobacillus gasseri is no exception from this rule, with recent studies showing us more and more ways in which we could employ this ‘good’ microorganism to our physical and psychological advantage.
It is easy to deduce by now that Lactobacillus gasseri acts as an important part of digestive functions. This probiotic first attache itself to the mucosal lining of the gastrointestinal system by what is known within the scientific community as ‘mannose-specific adhesion’, that is a polysaccharide component which acts as a prebiotic enabler for probiotic adhesion.
One result of Lactobacillus gasseri colonies thriving inside the gut is increased levels of folate or folic acid (a B-complex vitamin). In turn, folate is known for its ability to treat instances of anemia, as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems (for example, the incidence of strokes).
The human gut is also frequently faced with the potential of pathogen infections of various kinds, especially those generated by spoilt or contaminated foods. Luckily, Lactobacillus gasseri has been shown to suppress the formation of ‘bad’ bacteria like Helicobacter pylori, which is otherwise associated with unwanted symptoms like visceral discomfort, bloody diarrhea, and dehydration. This supplementation also helps reduce intestinal inflammation, a normal reaction that usually accompanies gastric and intestinal ‘threats’.
Speaking of abdominal issues, another key aspect related to Lactobacillus gasseri is its strong antimicrobial effect on different types of bacteria. As previously pointed out, the probiotic in question has the capacity to boost bacteriocin production inside the gut and therefore diminish the growth of detrimental microorganisms (fungi, protozoa, yeasts, etc.) that might otherwise create illness-inducing overgrowths in time.
When it comes to Lactobacillus gasseri, we can apply the same antimicrobial activity to the urinary and genital systems as well. Research maintains that vaginal infections caused by Staphylococcusaureus pathogens can be controlled and eliminated by employing this probiotic. This should be counted as a direct consequence of Lactobacillus gasseri’s power to support the creation of hydrogen peroxide in the face of germs and microbes of all sorts. Hydrogen peroxide is not harmful to the rest of the body in the small quantities produced by probiotic bacteria, but – at the same time – it becomes very effective at keeping undesirable overgrowths at bay.
Furthermore, Lactobacillus gasseri comes in particularly handy for women who suffer from endometriosis. This affliction occurs when the lining of the uterus begins expanding past this area and starts growing on adjacent tissues and organs. The most common symptoms associated with endometriosis are painful menstruation or dysmenorrhoea.
Fortunately, studies have found that viable cultures of Lactobacillus gasseri promote a better quality of life for individuals affected by this health problem, the bonus being that it created no noticeable side effects during the course of the experiment.
The gastrointestinal, immunomodulatory, and urogenital properties of Lactobacillus gasseri are complemented by its extension into other fields of human health as well. For instance, there have been articles which maintain the beneficial impact of Lactobacillus gasseri enhancement in the case of allergenic reactions such as rhinitis. The anti-inflammatory feature of Lactobacillus gasseri as a probiotic should thus attenuate viral sensitivity and the symptoms that otherwise come along with it (excessive sneezing, sinus irritation, etc.).
Now that we have seen all the good ways in which this ‘good’ bacterium works inside the body, it comes only natural to ask: can Lactobacillus gasseri do us any harm too? The answer is ‘most likely no’. If you are a fairly healthy person, the worst you can expect at the beginning of your newly boosted Lactobacillus gasseri regime is some sort of abdominal uneasiness in the form of distention (bloating), gas, and cramping. Once the new probiotic colonies have settled into your organism’s natural rhythms, you should feel well after a couple of days to a week top.
On the other hand, there are a number of situations in which Lactobacillus gasseri supplementation should be avoided altogether. The basic circumstances in which you need an expert’s approval before actively seeking probiotic supplementation of any kind is that of a weakened (or compromised) immune system, if you are undergoing medical treatment that requires strong medicine (antidepressants, for example), being a short-bowel syndrome (SBS) patient or if you have gone through an organ transplant surgery in the recent past.
The rule of thumb before making any major change in your diet and subsequent life patterns in to consult with your personal physician or doctor and get the ‘green light’ from them. It is always best to stay safe – even in the case of harmless probiotics like Lactobacillus gasseri.
Boosting your Lactobacillus gasseri intake
It is no secret that the past years have seen a dramatic increase in probiotic popularity all across the world, with people becoming more and more inclined to employ these ‘friendly’ organisms to their best advantage.
Hence, the fact that Lactobacillus gasseri is a lactic acid bacterium makes it an ideal candidate for being a starter culture in dairy products. From kefir and buttermilk to soft cheeses, natural yogurt, and even probiotic-enriched milk, you are bound to find numerous food selections containing this probiotic in particular. Be sure to check for labels specifically containing the Lactobacillus gasseri mention, especially since most pasteurization treatments destroy the initial bacterial cultures.
A similar situation is that of brine pickled vegetables that employ Lactobacillus gasseri as their fermentation intensifier. Sauerkraut and green olives are a popular choice, with Asian-based dishes like Kimchi, Natto, Umeboshi plums, and Miso soup fast becoming worldwide favorites in terms of ‘good’ bacteria supplementation.
Lactobacillus gasseri dietary enhancers are an equally widespread and viable option nowadays. Their benefits include increased practicality, a potentially high number of live colonies (or CFUs), and versatility in administration formats (pills, liquid drops, powder servings, etc.). Additionally, you can find Lactobacillus gasseri strains on their own or pair with other probiotics, as well as in different potencies (from millions to billions of probiotic colonies per dosage).
Choosing Lactobacillus gasseri as your probiotic
Now that you have become more knowledgeable about Lactobacillus gasseri and what it can offer for your daily wellbeing, it should make it easier for you to decide on your next probiotic pick.
The diversity of probiotics can sometimes be daunting, but finding ones like Lactobacillus gasseri – which covers the major ground of digestive and immune activity – is always a good start.
So mark the beginning of your own probiotic journey with Lactobacillus gasseri to see whether this ‘good’ bacterium is the good choice for you too!