Lactobacillus Rhamnosus – Know the Facts
If you are interested in the health properties of probiotics in general, then you surely must have heard at least once or twice about Lactobacillus rhamnosus by now.
In fact, you might have encountered this name more often than that, since this beneficial bacteria has been shown to influence the organism’s wellbeing from head to toe.
But, like almost all information nowadays, our understanding of probiotics is often limited to yogurt commercials and fitness blogs.
These have the tendency to hype up or condense all the crucial details regarding probiotics – Lactobacillus rhamnosus included – much to our collective disadvantage.
So, in the end, we are left with a handful of important, yet unanswered questions: what exactly are probiotics? Why is Lactobacillus rhamnosus significant in the grand scheme of human wellness? Should we get more or less of it through our diet? Can probiotics of this type do us more harm than good? etc.
To answer all these inquires, let us take a closer look at probiotics and, in particular, at Lactobacillus rhamnosus itself.
Why do probiotics matter so much for us?
As previously pointed out, the word ‘probiotics’ has become a staple of almost any nutrition-geared advertisement or discourse because it covers such a broad spectrum of the body’s proper behavior.
From digestive processes to immunity screening and mental stability, probiotics have been attributed with a vast array of benefits for our bodies – the most compelling of which being that they already exist in our makeup from the get-go.
Probiotics begin colonizing an infant’s digestive tract within the first few days of life, being mostly transmitted by their mother through the process of natural birth.
This implies that a baby born through a C-section procedure might lack some of these important microorganisms at this stage in its life, but which could nevertheless be recovered through breastfeeding later on.
In fact, some studies have come to suggest that an active Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplementation before child delivery could boost the infant’s natural probiotic numbers significantly.
Thus, once settled inside the gastrointestinal tract, probiotics of various kinds form long-lasting colonies which regularize digestive movements, nutrient assimilation, and bowel motility all throughout our lives.
These ‘friendly’ bacteria usually adhere to the lining of their specific environments and create a local microbiota strong enough to withstand various factors like gastric acids, temperature variations, infections, etc.
Therefore, probiotics also contribute to immune screening by suppressing the development of pathogens within the gut and urogenital system. This goes to show that, despite their size, such ‘good’ microorganisms can make a real difference between health and sickness inside the body at any given time.
Does Lactobacillus rhamnosus really impact your health?
Like all probiotics, Lactobacillus rhamnosus performs specific roles within the organism. It can be technically described as a non-motile and non-sporulating bacterium, meaning that this particular probiotic does not ‘travel’ within the organism or create spores (for example like various mold species do).
Because Lactobacillus rhamnosus can be found all throughout the gut (from the oral cavity to the colon) and urogenital tract, its influences spread beyond these mediums and have a primarily positive impact on general wellbeing, as follows:
✓Digestive rhythms – probiotics like Lactobacillus rhamnosus fulfill a crucial part in correct digestive patterns because they moderate food decomposition in its entire ‘journey’ inside the human body.
For instance, the probiotic colonies present in the mouth’s lining and saliva accompany the mastication process, while Lactobacillus rhamnosus microorganisms present inside the stomach and intestines significantly enhance nutrient absorption.
This is accomplished by boosting the organism’s natural production of lactic acid, which also comes in very handy for those who otherwise cannot digest milk and dairy products properly.
Consequently, Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been often associated with improved symptoms in the case of digestive irregularities such as IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Crohn’s disease, and various types of acute diarrhea (‘traveller’s diarrhea’, rotavirus, antibiotic-induced, etc.).
Additionally, regularizing bowel movements through Lactobacillus rhamnosus not only improves abdominal wellness and general health, but it can also generate weight loss in time – especially for people struggling with the issue of being overweight or obese.
✓ Oral health – ‘friendly’ microorganisms of the probiotic type can be found in the mouth, throat, and nose alike, which therefore enables them to shield the organism against all sorts of external threats.
Generally, Streptococcus bacteria are responsible for respiratory infections and mouth ulcers that respond very slowly to more traditional forms of medicine.
Aside from immunity, probiotics like Lactobacillus rhamnosus can equally influence the state of your dental health as well. A research paper from 2001 demonstrated that children who drank milk infused with Lactobacillus rhamnosus colonies reduced their vulnerability to tooth caries and decay in time.
✓ Immunity protection – it is no secret that the antimicrobial and antiseptic properties of Lactobacillus rhamnosus help shield the human body against infections caused by microbes, yeasts, and viruses on a day-to-day basis.
This makes perfect sense in light of the fact that approximately 65-70% of your immunity protection can be found at the level of the gastrointestinal system, with probiotics doing their fair share of the ‘work’ in this department.
In the case of airborne pathogens, controlled studies focused on the Lactobacillus rhamnosus probiotic have indicated a considerable decrease in the number of upper respiratory infections, as well as their episode length and manifestations.
Conversely, ‘bad’ bacteria like Helicobacter pylori, Escherichia coli, and Campylobacter jejuni can easily travel downwards inside the gastrointestinal system and lead to unwanted side effects like nausea, visceral pain, intestinal inflammation, diarrhea, and dehydration.
Employing Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplementation has been proven to impede both the adherence of these pathogens to the gastrointestinal lining and eliminate their symptoms during the early stages of development.
✓ Urogenital balance – undoubtedly, the urinary and vaginal systems are always at a risk of bacterial infections as a result of their elevated vulnerability to such pathogens.
Anything from improper hygiene to harsh soaps and even stress can offset the microflora balance of these environments and most likely result in unwanted symptoms like painful urination, itching, and general discomfort. Candida albicans is usually the ‘culprit’ for vaginal yeast overgrowths in women.
As some research suggests, controlled supplementation of Lactobacillus rhamnosus within the local microbiota could drastically diminish the occurrence of such issues, as well as ameliorate the side effects and duration of these infections over time.
✓ Allergy screening – for the most part, allergies can be described as an immune reaction towards various environmental factors like pollen, dust, specific foods (such as peanuts and gluten), etc. Your body’s response could vary in intensity between a sneezing fit to a full body breakout, hyperventilation or asthma attack.
Researchers are no strangers to the beneficial properties of probiotics in terms of allergy amelioration. For example, a 2009 inquiry into the consequences of using Lactobacillus rhamnosus and other similar probiotics for allergenic suppression has resulted in mostly positive findings regarding prevention and symptomatic improvement alike.
✓ Mental welfare – even though it sounds improbable, the fact of the matter is that your mind and stomach are closely interconnected via the gut-brain axis. As a result, a long-lasting imbalance in one can thus transform into a disorder for the other and vice-versa.
Luckily, specialists have discovered that Lactobacillus rhamnosus colonies have a hugely positive impact on behaviors normally associated with depression and anxiety.
By alleviating gastrointestinal issues (either short-term or chronic ones such as IBS), this probiotic decreases the amount of neurological pressure conveyed from the gut to the brain via the vagus nerve (which basically connects the two systems).
Therefore, the outcomes of good Lactobacillus rhamnosus count are a better functioning digestive tract, improved mental equilibrium, and more stable moods.
Can Lactobacillus rhamnosus be bad for you?
Having seen all the good ways in which the human body is transformed by Lactobacillus rhamnosus, it begs to be asked whether it can do us harm too. The answer is, unfortunately ‘yes’.
One situation in which you should refrain from using probiotics of any sort is when you are dealing with a compromised immune system since this medical state facilitates for the bacteria to translocate from the gut, enter the bloodstream and generate a potentially fatal case of sepsis.
The same goes for those diagnosed with severe intestinal inflammation, short-bowel syndrome or who are undergoing steroid treatments.
In fact, any serious medical condition requiring long-term medical attention and/ or treatment should be taken into consideration before increasing the Lactobacillus rhamnosus count of that individual, so as to avoid unnecessary medical complications along the way.
Moreover, pregnant or nursing mothers should consult with their physician before starting an administration format involving Lactobacillus rhamnosus, especially if it involves commercially distributed supplements of any kind.
These products can sometimes be tricky to pinpoint with respect to quality, culture viability, and ‘pureness’ (the amount of preservatives and fillers added into their composition), which means you have to be extra careful when choosing them over more ‘natural’ sources of probiotics.
Make sure you also check by your doctor or paediatrician before administering probiotic enhancers containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus to children under the age of 18 years.
The market does currently contain probiotic supplements and dairy products aimed towards children, but it is best to get a professional’s opinion beforehand (since they are best acquainted with the child’s medical history and the current probiotic selection).
How can you boost your Lactobacillus rhamnosus count?
Although an innate part of your gut, the number of active Lactobacillus rhamnosus colonies sometimes goes through negative fluctuations as a result of stress, prolonged antibiotic treatments or an imbalanced dietary regime.
On average, an individual needs to consume between 1 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) and 100 billion CFUs worth of probiotics in order to meet their level of optimal gastrointestinal wellness.
Luckily enough, you can get your probiotic count back on track by making a few alterations in your lifestyle and finding the right microorganism booster for you:
- Probiotic supplements – ever since specialists have started taking an interest into the advantages of probiotic supplementation, the technologies used for their preservation and worldwide distribution have grown alongside the research in terms of safety and efficiency alike. Hence, we have the constantly expanding market for these probiotic enhancers, with Lactobacillus rhamnosus being no exception. The prime advantages of supplements are their simple administration routine, different formats, age-specific distribution (separate for adults and children, for instance), and their adaptability to various dietary restrictions (vegetarian/vegan, low sodium, gluten-free, etc.).
- Dairy products – probiotics of the Lactobacillus branch are famous for their fermentative properties that break down milk sugars into lactic acid. Not only is this substance valuable for those who suffer from lactose sensitivity and intolerance, but it can also be used in the making of numerous dairy products. So be sure to stay on the lookout for natural yogurts, kefir, buttermilk, and soft or semi-hard cheeses that have Lactobacillus rhamnosus as an active part of their composition.
- Fermented vegetables (pickles) – the same fermentative capacities of Lactobacillus rhamnosus apply to fermented vegetables as well, which are in themselves a great source of ‘good’ bacteria. Brine bases are preferred to vinegar ones because the latter tends to suppress probiotic formation. The variety of preserved veggies allows for countless combinations into main meals or side dishes, as well as taste accommodations. Examples of this type include brine pickles, sauerkraut, and brine olives, as well as more culturally specific foods such as Kimchi (spicy vegetables), Kombucha tea (made from fermented tea), Miso paste (which uses a soybean base), etc.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus – conclusions
In this day and age, it seems like reverting to more organic sources of wellbeing is the way to go in terms of health and mental stability alike, with probiotics like Lactobacillus rhamnosus being among the safest and most effective options in this sense.
If you get the green light from your doctor, then do not shy away from using various sources of Lactobacillus rhamnosus enhancement in order to stabilize your digestive rhythms, immune screening, and mental welfare alike.
As shown beforehand, the potential of this ‘friendly’ type of microorganism has only begun to be uncovered by scientific studies. Still, one thing is certain: Lactobacillus rhamnosus is a part of your body and it should stay that way for good health, good moods, and a ‘better’ you.