Lactobacillus Reuteri – Know the Facts
In today’s vast display of probiotic types, Lactobacillus reuteri represents a valuable asset for our health and happiness alike. Not only does it cover a wide array of benefits (including digestion and sustained antiseptic properties), but it also contributes to inner mental balance and mood stability. But how much would you say you actually know about this ‘good’ bacterium to begin with?
Although the aforementioned diversity of probiotic types and combinations is definitely to our advantage in terms of welfare, it also means it can get confusing at times for us to choose the ideal microorganism combination for our individual wants and needs.
So what does it take for a probiotic like Lactobacillus reuteri to be considered beneficial for humans in general?
Probiotics, gastrointestinal health, and immunity
Nutritionists and medical figures generally agree that a healthy gut translates into an increased sense of wellness for the individual, with probiotics playing a highly important role in this sense. From a theoretical standpoint, they can be regarded as ‘good’ bacteria that develop a symbiotic relationship within your gastrointestinal system.
Probiotics colonize an infant’s mouth, stomach, small intestine, and colon beginning with the first weeks of life, this initial balance being crucial in determining the regularity of one’s digestive rhythms later on in life.
These ‘friendly’ microorganisms are classified depending on their bacterial order, family, and genus, with various species belonging to the latter category and usually being available for research purposes and consumption alike. For example, Lactobacillus reuteri can be described as pertaining to the Lactobacillales order, Lactobacillaceae family, and Lactobacillus genus; multiple species can be found all over the world as employed by dairy and pickling companies, medical research facilities, etc.
The major advantage of sustained probiotic intake can be traced back to gastrointestinal activities and regular bowel movement.
By aiding with substance decomposition and assimilation, probiotics generate abdominal comfort, better energy levels, and an improved quality of your day-to-day life.
Their contribution extends past the normalization of internal gut microbiota and metabolic rhythms into other areas of human wellness such as the amelioration of skin conditions, upper respiratory functions, and overall immune screening.
In more recent years, probiotics like Lactobacillus reuteri have come to be seen as ‘natural antibiotics’ by the international medical community.
Studies have revealed that the antimicrobial characteristics associated with probiotics help reduce internal inflammation, as well as normalize gut microflora and protect the organism against airborne or ingested pathogens.
While normal antibiotics and other similar medicine destroy ‘good’ bacteria colonies alongside the ‘bad’ ones, probiotics have been proven to be much more selective in their immunomodulatory activities within the body.
Therefore, probiotics have the real potential of transforming into a helpful and organic tool for combating numerous digestive, respiratory, skin, and urogenital diseases attributed to overgrowths or infections.
Aside from Lactobacillus reuteri, other ‘household’ probiotic names include (but are not limited to) Bifidobacterium bifidum, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, and Bacillus coagulans.
Although not benefitting from strongly conclusive data, these beneficial microorganisms have been long appreciated for their health-boosting capacities and general lack of side effects during consumption.
As a result, companies such as Dannon or Chobani have tried pushing the health claims of their probiotic-infused products to the point where official agencies like the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) required them to ‘tone down’ their claims in order not to mislead the general public.
This brings us to an ongoing debate concerning the real health benefits of probiotics in today’s modern times. In all fairness, the majority of current findings cannot definitely attribute probiotics with a clear-cut impact on human wellness.
Why so? Well, in spite of scientists discovering either a slightly positive or non-quantifiable effect of probiotics during their various experiments, the medical world insists on gathering more information in this sense before declaring probiotics the new panacea remedy of the current era.
Still, it cannot be denied that probiotics at least contribute to our physical and psychological sense of well-being, albeit in different ways and degrees for each and every individual.
Lactobacillus reuteri and its contribution to human wellbeing
Despite a common ground of properties and health-oriented benefits, each probiotic type performs a different role within the gastrointestinal tract and, by extension, within the overall economy of your body – with Lactobacillus reuteri being no exception to this ‘rule’.
The first Lactobacillus reuteri probiotic strains were initially isolated by Gerhard Reuter in the 1960s. The probiotic potential of the Lactobacillus genera had oftentimes been wrongly categorized as its Bifidobacterium ‘relative’ – even though it had been publicly known beginning with the early decades of the 20th century.
It was only in the 1980s when a group of microbiologists definitively differentiated between Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus reuteri, thus declaring the latter an independent strain in its own right and keeping the name associated with its original discoverer.
Ever since that moment, this specific type of lactic acid bacteria has been the subject of numerous studies and research endeavors aimed at revealing the positive contributions brought about by this organism to overall human health.
As a result, one of the most promising findings was related to Lactobacillus reuteri’s influence on intestinal regularity and motility. It is no secret that probiotics are to be considered one of the main driving forces behind a correctly functioning gut.
Not only do these ‘good’ bacteria help break down foods and accelerate nutrient assimilation, but they also ensure that the ‘waste’ resulted from these processes becomes evacuated in time and with as few side effects as possible (which is why Lactobacillus reuteri supplementation can reduce bloating, gas, constipation episodes, etc.).
Research shows that the presence of this probiotic within an individual’s gut translates into increased levels of folate or B12 vitamin, which in turn contributes to the formation of red blood cell and neurological health alike.
In addition, Lactobacillus reuteri has been successfully associated with reduced abdominal pain and better weight management over time.
In the same line of gut functionality, it has been demonstrated that Lactobacillus reuteri can aid in both shorten and eliminate the occurrence of diarrhea episodes in different age groups. For example, infants and young children are often susceptible to intestinal imbalances as a result of viruses, ‘bad’ bacteria (usually, of the Salmonella type), and even parasite infestations.
Various clinical studies have discovered that the employment of Lactobacillus reuteri can complement oral rehydration therapies in such cases of acute diarrhea and diminish the side effects normally caused by anti-Helicobacter pylori treatments. Even adults can benefit from this probiotic’s positive impact, with Lactobacillus reuteri being able to lower the incidence of antibiotic-induced diarrhea and reduce the general installation cycle of traveler’s diarrhea.
Speaking of gastrointestinal sensibility, you should also know that various studies focused on Lactobacillus reuteri have demonstrated this probiotic’s beneficial influence regarding the frequency of colic incidences in small infants.
Although the underlying causes of colic (that is, excessive bouts of crying that last for more than three hours daily) have yet to be conclusively pinpointed by the international medical community, some specialists agree that gastrointestinal discomfort might be one of the major contributors to these symptoms.
Consequently, specialists have tried analyzing the impact of Lactobacillus reuteri on the gut wellness of children under the age of 5 months, declaring that this type of supplementation actively reduces the duration of crying episodes in both breastfed and formula-based subjects.
Another significant threat to the gastrointestinal system is that of pathogen infections, with Helicobacter pylori overgrowths being among the most common causes of visceral reactions including distention (bloating), belching, nausea, vomiting, halitosis (bad breath), extreme weight loss, etc. If left untreated, this harmful bacterium can lead to even more serious illnesses like peptic ulcers and gastritis.
Although traditional forms of medicine are usually required in order to successfully treat this disease, some research argues that a boost of Lactobacillus reuteri probiotics can significantly reduce the binding properties of Helicobacter pylori to the intestinal lining and therefore reduce or even eliminate the installation of this problem in the first place.
Not only do probiotics drastically improve your gut functionality, but they also contribute to immunity protection. In fact, did you know that the probiotic colonies existent within the gastrointestinal system constitute up to 70%-80% of your overall immune shielding?
You see, probiotics have the antiseptic capacity of both boosting the production of gastric acid and creating some types of their own (lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, etc.). In turn, these substances eliminate pathogen colonies and inhibit their disease-inflicting overgrowths in due time.
The immunomodulatory properties of Lactobacillus reuteri have also been a subject of interest to field experts, their results acknowledging how oral supplementation of this ‘good’ bacterium can reduce inflammatory reactions, inhibit virus and microbe formation, as well as regulate responses within the intestinal microbiota.
Nevertheless, not all pathogens are either airborne or ingested, with genital infections being one of the most common causes of discomfort and health issues among adults nowadays. The upside to this situation is that your urogenital tract also contains substantial colonies of probiotics, which usually ‘kick in’ the moment they encounter an overexpansion of ‘bad’ bacteria in these environments.
For instance, Lactobacillus reuteri has been more recently shown to diminish the side effects and duration of Candida albicans infections in women and prevent the onset of UTIs (urinary tract infections) in male subjects.
These findings are especially helpful in light of the fact that pathogens are becoming increasingly resistant to anti-fungal products, while antibiotics cannot be effectively used to treat these medical conditions (because they would actually damage the local microflora even more, thus enabling pathogens to develop even further).
Although at first glance surprising, probiotics of the Lactobacillus reuteri type can improve skin health in the case of eczemas and various breakouts. The fact of the matter is that dermal reactions are a direct consequence of your immune system reacting to something it sees as a threat to your internal balance, whether it is a food allergy, asthma, hay fever, etc.
Such reactions can occur in both men and women of all ages, with children being particularly susceptible to instances of atopic dermatitis (scaly and dry patches of skin). Since probiotics are known to maintain immunomodulatory triggers within normal readings, it has been revealed that sustained Lactobacillus reuteri enhancement can ameliorate skin reactivity in the aforementioned instance of atopic dermatitis in infants, as well as reduce the risk of respiratory allergic reactions for young children with a history of allergenic sensibilities (genetic or acquired during the earlier period of their lives).
As mentioned before, probiotics can be encountered all throughout the length of the gastrointestinal tract, meaning that they also reside within the oral cavity, throat, and nose. This, therefore, implies a naturally heightened protection of this area pertaining to the human body.
Take, for example, one 2009 experiment that required its subjects to chew gum infused with Lactobacillus reuteri colonies; the outcome was that these individuals experienced far fewer episodes of oral inflammation, which could be a potentially helpful instrument in a variety of periodontal and dental diseases in the future.
Additionally, Lactobacillus reuteri has been shown to ameliorate plaque and bleeding in patients suffering from gingivitis, inhibit the formation of Streptococcus pathogens in human saliva, and decrease the number of asthmatic reactions caused by airway inflammations of different origins.
You might be asking yourself at this point: is there anything that probiotics like Lactobacillus reuteri can’t do? The answer is most likely ‘no’, with research proving that they equally contribute to mental balance and even sexual bonding.
The reason behind this influence is directly connected to the brain-gut axis, namely the way your gut wellness influences your neurological state of being and vice-versa. Specialized research uncovered that Lactobacillus reuteri can be used as a therapeutic adjuvant in order to alleviate pain and anxiety, regulate emotional behavior, reduce cortisol levels (which is also known as the ‘stress’ hormone), and boost oxytocin readings (a hormone responsible for rapid wound healing and bonding among mammals).
When you should avoid Lactobacillus reuteri supplementation
The major advantage of probiotics is that they are generally considered safe for human usage, with a negligible number of adverse reactions being recorded in their public history of administration.
Even so, there are a few cases in which you should be either cautious or refrain completely from relying on Lactobacillus reuteri in your day-to-day lifestyle.
The primary category for which probiotics like Lactobacillus reuteri are not recommended is that of people who suffer from compromised immune systems, short-bowel syndrome (SBS) or who are undergoing extensive medical treatments for certain diseases.
These instances are known to affect the immunomodulatory response of an individual, therefore leaving you more at risk of developing further complications such as sepsis.
The same caution is advised for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and people who have a history of (severe) allergenic reactions, who should definitely seek medical approval before starting a Lactobacillus reuteri administration regime.
If you are a healthy individual, you should not resort to Lactobacillus reuteri while undergoing an antibiotic treatment because the latter will annul the effects of the probiotic in question and simultaneously aggravate your probably already existent abdominal discomfort (in the form of bloating, gas, irregular bowel motility, etc.).
Sources of Lactobacillus reuteri
If you are now thinking about increasing your Lactobacillus reuteri and general probiotic intake, then you will be pleased to know that you can currently choose from a variety of options in this sense.
Dairy products such as natural yogurts, kefir, buttermilk, and soft cheeses are one of the most popular choices of probiotic intake these days. Probiotics of the Lactobacillus genus are actually a normal part of the fermentation process since they produce the lactic acid needed to transform the ‘tough’ sugars from milk into other by-products.
Although pasteurization kills off the majority of ‘friendly’ bacteria, many brands (take Dannon, for instance) have started adding probiotic colonies after this heat treatment so as to restore the health-boosting capacities of their brand items.
Similarly, fermented foods can be included in your daily regime as a source of Lactobacillus reuteri enhancement. Brine pickles, olives, and sauerkraut are preferred to their vinegar-based counterparts because, the latter damages probiotic colonies to a great extent during preservation.
Other fermented products with a high probiotic content include sourdough bread, wine, beer, and specific kinds of cured meats. International cuisine can also broaden this selection via such dishes as Kimchi, Kombucha tea, Miso soup, Umeboshi plums, etc.
Of course, the easiest to acquire and generally the most practical source of Lactobacillus reuteri nowadays is that of dietary supplements. From pills and tablets to stick packs and drops, these enhancers provide you with a concentrated number of live bacteria to secure your probiotic intake on a regular basis.
The market for these products has been met with an outstanding boost in the past couple of years, so be sure to check for a respectable brand (as shown by user reviews), a good quality-price ratio, and an adequate CFUs count (colony-forming units, meaning the number of live bacteria in each serving) before actually buying your Lactobacillus reuteri supplement of choice.
Conclusions: why choose Lactobacillus reuteri?
It has become evident by now that Lactobacillus reuteri is a probiotic with a great potential for human welfare and happiness alike. Its influence on everything from gastrointestinal rhythms to immunity and mental balance is being more and more supported by scientific studies and probiotic-focused research.
The wider spectrum of advantages brought about by Lactobacillus reuteri supplementation is just as well supported by its lack of significant side effects or health complications, making this probiotic a prime example of healthy healing and healthy living.
So, next time you come across this ‘friendly’ bacterium, don’t hesitate in making Lactobacillus reuteri a constant part of your lifestyle and dietary regime! Chances are you will be healthier and happier for having done so!
Find you Lactobacillus Reuteri Probiotic Supplement: