"Good" bacteria such as Lactobacillus can help the body break down food, absorb nutrients, and fight off "bad" organisms that might cause diseases. Lactobacillus is sometimes added to fermented foods like yogurt and is also found in dietary supplements.
Lactobacillus is most commonly used for diarrhea, including infectious diarrhea and diarrhea in people taking antibiotics. Some people also use lactobacillus for general digestion problems, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colic in infants, and many other conditions that involve the stomach and bowel. But there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses. There is also no good evidence to support using lactobacillus for COVID-19.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Possibly Effective for
- Stomach pain. Taking lactobacillus by mouth seems to reduce stomach pain in children. It's not clear if it helps adults.
- Hay fever. Taking lactobacillus by mouth seems to reduce hay fever symptoms in both adults and children. It's not clear if taking it during pregnancy lowers the chances that the child will develop hay fever.
- Diarrhea in people taking antibiotics (antibiotic-associated diarrhea). Taking lactobacillus by mouth, alone or with other probiotics, seems to reduce the risk of diarrhea while taking antibiotics.
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis). Taking lactobacillus by mouth, alone or with other probiotics, seems to help treat eczema in children. It also seems to help treat and prevent eczema in infants. But it's not clear if taking it during pregnancy lowers the chances that the child will develop eczema.
- Prone to allergies and allergic reactions (atopic disease). Taking a certain lactobacillus strain (L. rhamnosus GG) by mouth during pregnancy or breastfeeding, or giving it to the infant, seems to prevent some allergic reactions, such as asthma, runny nose, and eczema, in infants. But not all strains seem to work.
- Overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. Lactobacillus suppositories and vaginal tablets might help treat this condition. Eating yogurt or using vaginal capsules containing lactobacillus might also help prevent these infections from occurring again.
- Excessive crying in infants (colic). Giving infants a specific lactobacillus strain (L. reuteri) by mouth seems to help with colic. It's not clear if other strains help.
- Constipation. Taking lactobacillus by mouth seems to reduce constipation.
- Diarrhea. Taking lactobacillus by mouth seems to help prevent diarrhea in children. But it's not clear if it helps treat diarrhea in children. It's also not clear if taking lactobacillus by mouth reduces the risk of diarrhea in adults.
- A digestive tract infection that can lead to ulcers (Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori). Taking lactobacillus by mouth along with most standard drug therapies helps treat stomach ulcers caused by H. pylori. But it's not clear if lactobacillus can reduce side effects from these standard drug therapies.
- High cholesterol. Taking lactobacillus by mouth seems to help lower cholesterol by a small amount.
- Swelling (inflammation) and sores inside the mouth (oral mucositis). Taking lozenges containing lactobacillus from the first day of radiation/chemotherapy treatment until one week after seems to help prevent severe mouth sores.
- Infection of the airways. Taking lactobacillus by mouth, alone or with other probiotics, seems to prevent airway infections in children and most adults. But taking lactobacillus doesn't seem to prevent these infections in older adults.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Taking lactobacillus by mouth seems to improve some symptoms of RA.
- Travelers' diarrhea. Taking lactobacillus by mouth seems to help prevent diarrhea in people traveling to foreign places.
- A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). Taking lactobacillus by mouth together with standard treatment seem to increase remission in people with ulcerative colitis. But it's not clear if lactobacillus prevents ulcerative colitis relapse.
Possibly Ineffective for
- Infection of the gastrointestinal tract by a bacteria called Clostridium difficile. Taking lactobacillus by mouth does not help to prevent this infection.
- Crohn disease. Taking lactobacillus by mouth does not prevent Crohn disease from becoming active again in people who are in remission.
- Airway infections caused by exercise. Taking lactobacillus by mouth does not reduce the risk of developing an airway infection from exercise.
- Vaginal yeast infections. Taking lactobacillus by mouth or using vaginal suppositories doesn't prevent vaginal yeast infections in adults. It's not clear if using lactobacillus vaginal suppositories helps treat yeast infections.
When applied to the vagina: Lactobacillus is likely safe.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Children: Lactobacillus is likely safe when taken by mouth appropriately in children.
Central lines: Infections of the blood have been reported in people who have central lines and take lactobacillus. If you have a central line, talk with your healthcare provider before taking probiotics.
Liver scarring (cirrhosis): There is some concern that lactobacillus might cause an infection in people with cirrhosis. If you have cirrhosis, talk with your healthcare provider before taking lactobacillus.
Digestive system problems: People with serious GI disorders, such as short bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), might be more likely to develop lactobacillus infections. If you have any of these conditions, talk with your healthcare provider before taking lactobacillus.
Weakened immune system: Lactobacillus has caused blood infections in a small number of people with weakened immune systems. This includes people with HIV/AIDS or cancer, or people who are taking medications to prevent rejection of a transplanted organ. If you have a weakened immune system, talk with your healthcare provider before taking lactobacillus.
Damaged heart valves: Lactobacillus can cause an infection in the inner lining of the heart chambers and heart valve. This is extremely rare, but people with damaged heart valves might be more likely to develop this type of infection. People with damaged heart valves should stop taking probiotics before dental procedures or surgical procedures.
Antibiotic drugs interacts with LACTOBACILLUS
Antibiotics are used to reduce harmful bacteria in the body. Antibiotics can also reduce friendly bacteria in the body. Lactobacillus is a type of friendly bacteria. Taking antibiotics along with lactobacillus can reduce the effectiveness of lactobacillus. To avoid this interaction take lactobacillus products at least 2 hours before or after antibiotics.
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with LACTOBACILLUS
Lactobacillus contains live bacteria and yeast. The immune system usually controls bacteria and yeast in the body to prevent infections. Medications that decrease the immune system can increase your chances of getting sick from bacteria and yeast. Taking lactobacillus along with medications that decrease the immune system might increase the chances of getting sick.
Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
Be cautious with this combination
In adults, lactobacillus has most often been taken by mouth, alone or together with other probiotics, in doses of 50 million to 100 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) daily, for up to 6 months. In children, lactobacillus has most often been taken by mouth in doses of 100 million to 50 billion CFUs daily, for up to 3 months.
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© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.