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 08/03/2024

Lactobacillus is a special type of bacteria that does some really amazing things in your body. When it feeds on carbohydrates, it produces lactic acid through a process called fermentation. You can find Lactobacillus in foods like yoghurt, where it acts as a probiotic. Probiotics are live bacteria that, in high enough amounts, can do wonders for your gut and overall health. 

Probiotics, like Lactobacillus, have the potential to keep your gut in balance. Your gut is filled with all sorts of tiny organisms and their genes, collectively known as the gut microbiota.[1] When the microbiota is balanced, it can help with digestion and even give your immune system a boost. [2] 

Where does lactobacillus get its name? Lactobacillus can also help your body break down lactose, which is the natural sugar found in dairy foods. In one study, people with lactose intolerance who took a Lactobacillus supplement had significantly fewer symptoms like cramping and vomiting compared to those who didn't take it.[3]  

You can find probiotics like Lactobacillus in fermented dairy foods like yoghurt, cultured drinks, and kefir. These foods are perfect for delivering probiotics because the milk they're made from (which has carbs, protein, and fat) protects the probiotics from your digestive system until they reach your gut. This helps them survive the tough conditions in your stomach. 

So, next time you enjoy some yoghurt or other fermented dairy foods, remember that you're giving your gut some special bacteria that can do great things for your health.  


[1] Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria, Report of a Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Evaluation of Health and Nutritional Properties of Probiotics in Food including Powder Milk with Live Lactic Acid Bacteria, Cordoba, Argentina, October 1-4,200 

[2] Valdes AM, Walter J, Segal E, Spector TD. Role of the Gut Microbiota in Nutrition and Health. BMJ 2018;361:k2179 

[3] Pakdaman MN, Udani JK, Molina JM, Shahani M. The Effects of the DDS-1 Strain of Lactobacillus on Symptomatic Relief for Lactose Intolerance - a Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Clinical Trial. Nutr J. 2016; 15: 56. Published online 2016 May 20. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0172-y 

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