Dr. Rose, M.D. (researcher)

Evan Jerkunica (writer)

What is Probiotic Lactobacillus Fermentum?

Lactobacillus fermentum is a probiotic bacteria. Supplementation helps improve immunity, fight digestive diseases and even reduce LDL cholesterol.

But even more important, L fermentum helps make my favorite bread, sourdough ;)

Fermentum lives in our mouths, guts and vaginas. Infants typically acquire L fermentum during vaginal birth. This probiotic can survive stomach acid and get to our intestines without issue.

Well-Researched Benefits of L Fermentum

L fermentum has been studied deeply by scientists. I just give a quick list here, but lower in the article I go over the research studies that lead to each of those health benefits:

  • produces antioxidants (glutathione)
  • Stimulates immune system
  • Helps fight intestinal infections
  • Might help in the treatment of certain cancers
  • Helps reduce bad cholesterol
  • Fights UC and IBS
  • Reduces infection in infants (respiratory and intestinal)
  • produces anti-inflammatory chemcials
  • bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • Safe

L Fermentum Fights Intestinal Infections + Produces Antioxidants

Recently, scientists discovered that L fermentum produces antimicrobial and antioxidant chemicals in our intestines.K These antimicrobial reduce the growth of some pathogenic bacteria, including gram-negative pathogens and gram-positive organisms such as Enterococci and Staphylococcus aureusA.

Through fermentation, L fermentum also produces the mega-antioxidant, glutathione.B

Anti-Inflamamtory Benefits of L Fermentum

As a result of its metabolism, certain chemical byproducts are produced that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties, including acetic, lactic and succinic acids. Lactobacillus fermentum stimulates the intestinal immune system to produce cells rich in antibodies and cytokines that together signal processes that block systemic inflammation.

Cholesterol Lowering Effects of Lactobacillus Fermentum

L fermentum may help lower LDL cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol in general contributes only a small amount to a person’s serum cholesterol level and overall lipid profile. Our bodies mostly make their own cholesterol from dietary fat. But, some cholesterol is absorbed from the diet. L fermentum seems to bind with dietary cholesterol and help break it down.

A recent double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial of 46 healthy adults showed modest decreases in LDL cholesterol with Lf supplementationD. A series of experiments at McGill university showed that the bacteria actually consumed large amounts of dietary cholesterol, and some forms of Lactobacilli may serve as effective cholesterol-lowering agents.E

Another effect of Lf is that it binds and breaks down lipid-rich bile salts, creating a similar effect to some of the original cholesterol-lowering pharmaceutical drugs such as cholestyramineF.

Enhanced Flu Vaccine Effectiveness

Lf have been used to improve the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine. LF seemed to increase the person’s T-cell function compared to the control.C. In the 5 months after the flu vaccine, people caught flu-like illnesses less often.

Lf, like other probiotics, has been studied in the treatment of several gastrointestinal disorders.

Decreases Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis and IBS

Lactobacillus Fermentum has been shown to reduce disease activity in ulcerative colitisG and irritable bowel syndrome.H

L Fermentum Helps Bacterial Vaginosis

L Fermentum is a typical resident of the vagina. So scientists wanted to check if supplementing L fermentum could help fix asymptomatic bacterial vaginosis. After supplementation L fermentum + “>L rhamnosus for 60 days, vaginal yeast levels were reduced compared to the placebo group. Vaginal lactobacillus levels also returned to normal.

L Fermentum Helps Infants Fight Infections

L fermentum given to infants as a formula after breast feeding helped to reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal and respiratory infectionsI

Side effects

L ferementum is considered extremely safe….even infants have this probiotic strain in their colon. The side effects for this probiotic are extremely mild.

Here is a list of possible side effects for L fermentum supplementation:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Found to be safe even at very high dosesJ

Full Reference List

  1. Gan BS, Kim J, Reid G, Cadieux P, Howard JC. Lactobacillus fermentum RC-14 inhibits Staphylococcus aureus infection of surgical implants in rats. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2002 May 1;185(9):1369-72.
  2. Kullisaar T, Songisepp E, Aunapuu M, Kilk K, Arend A, Mikelsaar M, Rehema A, Zilmer M. Complete glutathione system in probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3. Applied biochemistry and microbiology. 2010 Sep 1;46(5):481-6.
  3. Olivares M, Díaz-Ropero MP, Sierra S, Lara-Villoslada F, Fonollá J, Navas M, Rodríguez JM, Xaus J. Oral intake of Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716 enhances the effects of influenza vaccination. Nutrition. 2007 Mar 1;23(3):254-60.
  4. Simons LA, Amansec SG, Conway P. Effect of Lactobacillus fermentum on serum lipids in subjects with elevated serum cholesterol. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases. 2006 Dec 1;16(8):531-5.
  5. Tomaro-Duchesneau C, Jones ML, Shah D, Jain P, Saha S, Prakash S. Cholesterol assimilation by Lactobacillus probiotic bacteria: an in vitro investigation. BioMed research international. 2014;2014.
  6. Sun J, Buys N. Effects of probiotics consumption on lowering lipids and CVD risk factors: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Annals of medicine. 2015 Aug 18;47(6):430-40.
  7. Hegazy SK, El-Bedewy MM. Effect of probiotics on pro-inflammatory cytokines and NF-κB activation in ulcerative colitis. World journal of gastroenterology: WJG. 2010 Sep 7;16(33):4145.
  8. Geier MS, Butler RN, Howarth GS. Inflammatory bowel disease: current insights into pathogenesis and new therapeutic options; probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics. International journal of food microbiology. 2007 Apr 1;115(1):1-1.
  9. Maldonado J, Cañabate F, Sempere L, Vela F, Sánchez AR, Narbona E, López-Huertas E, Geerlings A, Valero AD, Olivares M, Lara-Villoslada F. Human milk probiotic Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716 reduces the incidence of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory tract infections in infants. Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition. 2012 Jan 1;54(1):55- 61.
  10. Lara-Villoslada F, Sierra S, Díaz-Ropero MP, Rodríguez JM, Xaus J, Olivares M. Safety assessment of Lactobacillus fermentum CECT5716, a probiotic strain isolated from human milk. Journal of dairy research. 2009 May;76(2):216-21.
  11. Mikelsaar M, Zilmer M. Lactobacillus fermentum ME-3–an antimicrobial and antioxidative probiotic. Microbial ecology in health and disease. 2009 Jan 1;21(1):1-27.
  12. Reid G, Charbonneau D, Erb J, Kochanowski B, Beuerman D, Poehner R, Bruce AW. Oral use of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and L. fermentum RC-14 significantly alters vaginal flora: randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 64 healthy women. FEMS Immunology & Medical Microbiology. 2003 Mar 1;35(2):131-4.

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