What is Lactobacillus?

Lactobacillus is a type of "friendly" bacteria that normally lives in your digestive system and can also be found in some fermented foods like yoghurt.

Last updated 31/03/2023

Lactobacillus is a type of bacteria that produces lactic acid from the fermentation of carbohydrate. It is often added to foods such as yoghurt where it acts as a probiotic – live bacteria that, in high enough amounts, help to nourish your gut and benefit your health.

Probiotics like Lactobacillus have the potential to maintain the natural balance of the gut microbiota - the collective term for microorganisms and their genetic material that live in your digestive system.1 This may help support digestion as well as provide other health benefits, such as boosting the immune system.2

Lactobacillus can also help the body metabolise and break down lactose, the natural sugar found in dairy foods. In 2016, a clinical study compared people with lactose intolerance who took a Lactobacillus supplement with those who took a placebo. The Lactobacillus group had a statistically significant reduction in symptoms of lactose intolerance such as cramping and vomiting.3

Fermented dairy foods such as yoghurt, cultured drinks and kefir are some of the most common and easily available sources of probiotics such as Lactobacillus. These products are an ideal vehicle for probiotics as the composition of milk (which includes carbohydrate, protein and fat) protects the probiotics from the digestive system through to the gut, including helping them survive the adverse conditions of the stomach.

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