The health benefits that probiotics bring to the table are beyond question. And today, it’s time to dive deep into one of the most extensively studied probiotics, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.
What is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG?
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG is one of the most widely used strains of probiotics. This is due to the vast body of scientific literature documenting its many benefits. It has also been found safe and effective for various ages (from newborn infants to elderly adults) and a wide range of health conditions.
Studies have shown that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG has high acid and bile tolerance, which promotes survival in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and enhanced colonization in the gut. It has been found to persist longer and in higher concentrations compared to other Lactobacillus and probiotic strains.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG not only helps address gastrointestinal conditions such as diarrhea and constipation. It may also enhance functioning in different parts of the body.
These health benefits are attributed to the following mechanisms of action:
- Inhibiting adherence to pathogens
- Enhancing gut barrier functions
- Tightening gut barrier junctions
- Modulating immune responses
Keep on reading to discover the many health benefits of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG supplementation.
9 Health Benefits of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG
1. May Fight Off Gastrointestinal Infections
Helicobacter pylori has been linked to chronic stomach inflammation, ulcers, and other gastrointestinal infections.
Studies show probiotics alone cannot eradicate H. pylori. However, they can improve eradication rates and reduce treatment side effects when combined with antibiotics.
An analysis of current human studies also found that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG helped decrease H. pylori density and H. pylori gastritis. This is due to Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG’s ability to increase mucus secretion, which stops H. pylori from attaching to intestinal epithelial cells.
2. Helps Inhibit Pathogenic Bacteria
Studies also show Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG’s potential to inhibit different strains of pathogenic bacteria.
Staphylococcus aureus is associated with skin and soft tissue infections, including boils, cellulitis, impetigo, and sepsis. It may also develop into serious conditions such as blood, bone, and joint disorders.
Studies show that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG can inhibit the adherence of S. aureus to keratinocytes by up to 44%. This is via competitive exclusion and displacement. By increasing probiotics, pathogenic bacteria have less opportunity to bind with intestinal epithelial cells and colonize the gut.
3. May Halt Candida Overgrowth
Candida albicans is a fungus that is naturally present in the body. However, an overgrowth can cause many health issues, from fatigue and headaches to life-threatening infections.
With C. albicans’ increasing resistance to antifungals, researchers have explored the potential of probiotics as an adjunct treatment for candida overgrowth.
Studies show that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG inhibits the growth of C. albicans by fending off adhesion to oral epithelial cells. These probiotics also deplete glucose and repress ergosterol synthesis — thereby robbing candida of its favored nutrient sources.
The nutrient limitation caused by Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG also leads to metabolic changes, resulting in reduced virulence and pathogenicity in C. albicans.
4. Helps Ease Diarrhea and IBS Symptoms
There is extensive evidence of the beneficial effects of probiotics on diarrhea in children and adults. Studies show that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG supplementation can reduce the frequency and duration of pediatric diarrhea, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, healthcare-associated diarrhea, and rotavirus diarrhea.
Studies also found that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG helps relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The effect may be more evident in the subtype IBS-D (diarrhea) and IBS-A (alternate diarrhea and constipation).
In a study with children with IBS, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG was found to help reduce the frequency and intensity of abdominal pain.
5. May Avert Allergy Development in Childhood
Gut dysbiosis has been observed in infants with food allergies. Food allergies are also one of the first manifestations of the “atopic march,” which may develop into allergic rhinitis and asthma in later years.
As such, researchers have explored the potential role of prebiotics in averting food allergies.
Studies show that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG-enriched formula may improve oral tolerance of cow’s milk among allergic infants. Researchers believe that early sensitization may help build long-term tolerance. Addressing cow milk allergy could also thwart the atopic march.
When it comes to atopic dermatitis, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG supplementation for four weeks saw a reduction in symptom severity among IgE-sensitized infants. In another study, infants given Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG-supplemented formula saw improvements in their skin condition after two months. However, more studies with larger populations are needed.
6. Helps Support Oral Health
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG may help avoid the formation of dental caries from supporting oral health. Studies show that short-term consumption of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG among school-children helped reduce counts of oral pathogens, including A. actinomycetemcomitans, P. gingivalis, and S. mutans. It was also associated with lower gingival and plaque indices.
Similarly, children who drank milk containing Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG had a lower incidence of dental caries than the placebo group.
Researchers believe that probiotics like Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG create a protective lining or biofilm in the oral cavity. This replaces the biofilm formed by pathogens responsible for dental caries and other oral conditions.
7. May Aid in Weight Management
Probiotics may have the potential to reduce the likelihood of obesity. Animal studies show that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG supplementation significantly reduced fat mass and obesity-related biomarkers and lessened leptin resistance.
Human studies on the effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG on weight are limited, but results have been promising so far.
One study with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG saw weight reduction in female participants but not as successful in males. In another study, pregnant women received probiotics-supplemented dietary counseling from their first trimester to six months postpartum. Results showed lower waist circumference compared to the placebo group.
Given the link between obesity and cardiovascular disease, studies have likewise shown promise in promoting glucose homeostasis. Mice models have demonstrated that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG helps improve insulin sensitivity and decrease lipid accumulation. Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG was found to help protect against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in mice with a high-fructose diet.
8. May Improve Psychological Well-being
Researchers have established the gut-brain axis, a bidirectional communication network that links intestinal functions to emotional and cognitive areas of the brain. This means that a microbiome imbalance can also have a detrimental effect on psychological and cognitive functioning. This may lead to various mood, cognitive, and behavior issues.
Animal studies have found that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG can help reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms. In mice models, early exposure to LGG® was found to reduce anxiety in adulthood. Other studies also found Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG to reduce OCD-like behavior in mice compared to the saline treatment group.
Those with depression have been observed to have lower GABA levels. In vitro studies have found that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG has anti-depressive effects — particularly, it can produce GABA and restore GABA activity.
Though human studies are limited, results so far have been promising. In one study, patients with coronary heart disease who took one Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG saw a significant decrease in inflammation and depression and anxiety scores.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG supplementation may also improve psychological status, executive functioning, and processing speed among middle-aged and elderly adults with cognitive impairment.
9. May Reduce the Severity of Respiratory Infections
Research has established the connection between disturbances in the lung microbiota and pulmonary conditions such as asthma, ARDS, and COPD.
In one study, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG was found to lower the severity of upper respiratory infection (URI) among college students. By modulating the inflammatory response, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG also helped reduce the duration of URI by two days and improve health-related quality of life.
With the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic, studies found that infected individuals had fewer good bacteria and more pathogenic bacteria in their systems. Those with poor gut health also experienced more severe cases of COVID-19 illness.
Considering the gut-lung axis, there is increasing interest in the ability of probiotics to help reduce the severity of respiratory infections like COVID-19. By improving the intestinal microbiota, those with COVID-19 may see an improved immune response in their lungs.
A recent study found that those who took Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG recovered faster from COVID-19 than the placebo group. Specifically, they were found to be fatigue-free at 14 days. Another study found that COVID-19 patients who took Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG spent fewer days in the hospital.
Many ongoing clinical trials are studying the effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG on COVID-19.
Harnessing the Health Benefits of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG
As shown, there are numerous scientific studies showcasing the many health benefits of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. Not only does it improve gut health, but it may also confer health benefits to other parts of the body.
However, we still need to learn so much about its mechanisms of action and its potential to address a broader range of health conditions.
At present, though, probiotic supplementation has been labeled as safe to use for healthy individuals. It is also well-tolerated by the body. Nonetheless, it is still possible to experience some die-off effects — especially as your body adjusts to changes in your gut microbiome.
The best way to avoid die-off issues is to go slow when first starting your supplementation.
Did You Know…
Lifted Naturals is a proud sponsor of Pursuit-of-Happiness.org. Lifted Naturals’ probiotic formula Mood Super Strain features 10 billion CFU of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, plus five other Bifidobacteria strains. With a total of 30 billion CFU of non-histamine producing probiotic bacteria, Mood Super Strains is a powerhouse probiotic formula for mental and physical health.