Lactobacillus species is a type of bacteria. There are lots of different species of lactobacillus.
Lactobacillus bacteria are commonly found in the human gut, mouth and vagina. They are considered generally as “good bacteria”, and in fact may contribute to good health, often being included in probiotic supplements. These bacteria are characterized by their ability to produce lactic acid as a byproduct of glucose metabolism.
Lactobacillus is considered Gram-positive, which just means that they have a thick cell wall made of peptidoglycan (=consisting of sugars and amino acids).
Lactobacillus is a group of bacteria with more than 200 species. Lactobacillus bacteria have historically been used to make fermented dairy products.
Lactobacillus is important for gastrointestinal function, as they are involved in vitamin synthesis, natural antibiotic production, immune defense, digestion, detoxification of pro-carcinogens and a host of other activities. Ideally, levels of Lactobacillus should be 2+ or greater.
For women Lactobacillus species can also be considered a biomarkers and agent that can promote various aspects of vaginal health.
– Gram-positive, non-sporulating rods or coccobacilli
– Homofermentative (primarily lactic acid)
– Heterofermentative (lactic acid, CO2, ethanol & acetic acid)
– Digest & metabolize proteins & carbohydrates
– Synthesize B vitamins & vitamin K
– Catabolize bile salts
– Enhance innate & acquired immunity
– Inhibit pro-inflammatory mediators
– Antimicrobial activities against array of pathogens:
– Anti-infective activities of lactobacillus strains in the human intestinal microbiota: from probiotics to gastrointestinal anti-infectious biotherapeutic agents. [L]
– Lactobacillus species as biomarkers and agents that can promote various aspects of vaginal health [L]
– Lactobacillus acidophilus: characterization of the species and application in food production. [L]
– Ecological Role of Lactobacilli in the Gastrointestinal Tract: Implications for Fundamental and Biomedical Research [L]
– Low levels of fecal lactobacilli in women with iron-deficiency anaemia in south India [L]
– Lactobacillus species: taxonomic complexity and controversial susceptibilities. [L]
What does it mean if your Lactobacillus result is too low?
Lower levels have been seen in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS):
– Decreased Lactobacillus, Collinsella
– Increased Clostridium, Ruminococcus, Veilonella
In a study conducted in India faecal lactobacilli were significantly lower in anaemic women.
What does it mean if your Lactobacillus result is too high?
– If you have taken probiotics, please reduce the dosing of Lactobacillus spp. probiotics
– High levels of intestinal Lactobacillus sp. were positively associated with increased concentrations of faecal short chain fatty acids, lactate and essential amino acids. [L]
– Some Lactobacillus spp. genomes are strongly associated with high BMI.
– In another study, a specific Lactobacillus spp (L. reuteri) was found predominantly associated with obese adults compared to lean subjects [L]
– Elderly ( > 65 years) are the fastest growing subpopulation in the world. It has been shown that aging increased the viable count of Lactobacillus with substantial changes in species prevalence [L,L].
Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you.
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