What are the most common types of probiotic strains

What are the most common probiotic strains?

Many of us have heard that taking probiotics can help boost our immune system and aid in digestion, but what are the best probiotic strains to take?

We’ve put together a guide that explains the most common uses for each strain of probiotic in order to help you make an informed decision when choosing which one is right for your needs.

There’s also a handy chart at the bottom with links to buy every single product mentioned in this article.

If you’re looking to improve your gut health or overall wellness, then our guide will provide valuable information about how these strains work and what conditions they’re used to treat.

How do probiotics work?

Probiotics are best known for their ability to help the body break down food and absorb nutrients.  They also provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anticancer, and immune system benefits.  

Probiotics are used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  These supplements may be helpful in treating Crohn’s disease and colitis, as well.  

They may even be helpful for people who have lactose intolerance because they help the body produce more of the enzyme needed to digest milk sugar (lactose).

How many types of probiotics are there?

There are many species of bacteria that can be classified as probiotics.

The most common include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii.  Other probiotics include Streptococcus thermophiles and Bacillus coagulans.

With thousands of strains available it comes as no surprise that it will take years for researchers to ascertain the individual value of each one and how they benefit the human body.

Probiotic classification

Probiotics are usually divided into two types: Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and non-lactic acid bacteria (NLAB). The lowdown on each of these is as follows:

1. LAB strains – These types of probiotic bacteria are mostly found in the gastrointestinal tract, where they act against harmful microorganisms to help maintain a healthy gut.

2. NLAB strains – Unlike LAB, these types of probiotics do not grow well in the gastrointestinal tract and are instead grown specifically for usage as probiotic supplements.

Most common species of probiotics

The most commonly consumed probiotics are strains of two main species. These species are also the most studied of probiotics:

Bifidobacteria: This species of bacteria is commonly used in foods and supplements. They’re thought to:

  • support the immune system
  • limit the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestine
  • help in breaking down lactose into nutrients the body can use

Lactobacillus: This species of bacteria produce lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose, or milk sugar. These bacteria also produce lactic acid. Lactic acid helps control the population of bad bacteria. It also serves as muscle fuel and increases the body’s absorption of minerals. Lactobacillus bacteria are found naturally in the:

  • mouth
  • small intestine
  • vagina

Common strains of probiotics

Probiotic strains are genetic subtypes of species. Each probiotic strain has a different effect on the body.

You will see the probiotic strain names on food or supplement labels, combined with the species name.

For example, the Bifidobacteria or Lactobacillus species are often abbreviated as B. or L. and combined with the individual strain name, such as acidophilus.

This gives you the probiotic L. acidophilus. This is how the name will appear on food or supplement labels.

Here are 22 of the most common strains of probiotics (A to Z) that you will find on food and supplement labels.

Bacillus coagulans: This strain of probiotics are found in the intestines and helps improve diarrhea. It can also improve symptoms of IBS.

Bacillus laterosporus: This probiotic is found in the intestinal tract, mouth, and skin. It can help fight infection, improve diarrhea caused by antibiotics, increase immune function and decrease inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Bifidobacterium animalis: This strain is found in the intestinal tract, vagina, and skin. It can help with lactose intolerance by breaking down lactose into lactic acid, preventing tooth decay, and decreasing inflammation in the digestive tract.

Bifidobacterium bifidum: This bacterium is found in the large intestine. It can fight some types of infections and help people who have lactose intolerance by breaking down lactose into lactic acid. It may also improve some symptoms of IBS.

Bifidobacterium breve: The bacterium is found in the intestinal tract, mouth, and skin. It can help with diarrhea caused by antibiotics, increase immune function and decrease inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. It may help with lactose intolerance, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and some symptoms of IBS. It also breaks down plant fiber to make it digestible.

Bifidobacterium infantis: This strain of probiotics is found in the intestinal tracts and vagina. It can help by decreasing inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, improving diarrhea caused by antibiotics, and decreasing some symptoms of IBS.

Bifidobacterium lactis: This bacterium is found in the intestinal tract and mouth. It can help with diarrhea caused by antibiotics, increase immune function and decrease inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Bifidobacterium longum: This strain of probiotics is found in the intestines and mouth. It can help decrease inflammation in the digestive tract, improve diarrhea and decrease some symptoms of IBS. It helps break down carbohydrates and also can be an antioxidant.

Enterococcus faecium: This bacterium is found in the intestines, urinary tract, and vagina. It can help fight infection, decrease inflammation in the digestive tract, improve diarrhea and decrease some symptoms of IBS.

Lactobacillus acidophilus: This bacterium is found in our digestive tract. It can help people who have lactose intolerance by breaking down lactose into lactic acid. It also helps protect against colon cancer and diarrhea. You can find it in yogurt and fermented soy products, such as miso.

Lactobacillus bulgaricus: This bacterium is found in the intestines and yogurt. It can help with lactose intolerance because it breaks down lactose into lactic acid. It may also relieve some symptoms of IBS and fight some types of cancer.

Lactobacillus casei: One strain of this bacterium is a probiotic that can fight infection. It also helps with chronic constipation. Many people use it to help relieve gas, bloating, and some symptoms of IBS.

Lactobacillus fermentum: This strain of probiotics is found in the intestines, respiratory tract, and skin. It can help decrease inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, improve diarrhea and decrease some symptoms of IBS. It may also help relieve vaginal yeast infections.

Lactobacillus gasseri: This strain of probiotics is found in the intestinal tract, mouth, and skin. It can help fight infection and improve some symptoms of IBS.

Lactobacillus paracasei: This probiotic is found in the intestinal tract and can fight some types of infection. It may also be helpful for diarrhea, urinary tract infections, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Lactobacillus plantarum: This strain of probiotics can help fight infection, improve diarrhea caused by taking antibiotics and decrease inflammation in the digestive tract.

Lactobacillus reuteri: This bacterium is found in the digestive tract, mouth, and skin. It can help decrease inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, improve diarrhea and decrease some symptoms of IBS. It may also reduce colic-like symptoms in infants with colic.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG: This strain of bacterium is found in the intestinal tract, skin, and mucous membranes. It can help with lactose intolerance, prevent diarrhea and decrease some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Lactobacillus salivarius: This bacterium is found in the intestinal tract and mouth. It can help with lactose intolerance, decrease inflammation in the digestive tract and prevent tooth decay.

Lactococcus lactis: This bacterium is found in the intestinal tract, mouth, and skin. It can help with diarrhea, prevent tooth decay and decrease inflammation in the digestive tract.

Streptococcus salivarius: This bacterium is found in the mouth and intestine. It can help with lactose intolerance, increase immune function and decrease inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.

Streptococcus thermophilus: This bacterium is found in our intestine, mouth, and skin. It can help with lactose intolerance because it helps break down lactose into lactic acid. It also helps prevent vaginal yeast infections.

In conclusion

Probiotics are helpful bacteria that play a positive role in our digestive system. They aid our body’s ability to fight off harmful toxins and keep us healthy by helping us digest food properly and absorb nutrients from it efficiently.

There are many different kinds of probiotics but they all essentially do the same thing- however some work better than others depending on what you want them.


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