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"2018 Microbe of the Year - Lactobacillus"

Dr. Adrian Weingart

"2018 Microbe of the Year - Lactobacillus"

The Lactobacillus (plural: Lactobacilli or Lactobacilli) was voted Microbe of the Year in 2018. However, most people don't know too much about these important bacteria in our bodies. Time to learn a little more about the lactobacilli here!

The story of the lactobacilli

About 7000 years ago, sedentary cattle farmers in Northern Europe began to consume more and more milk and products made from it, such as yoghurt or cheese. The formation of the enzyme lactase for the breakdown of milk sugar, which is actually only present in infants, then became established in adult Central Europeans (lactase persistence). This is the reason why many adults in Asia or Africa still have a poor tolerance for dairy products. Around 75% of people worldwide are lactose intolerant.

What is Lactobacillus?

Whether it's yoghurt or cheese, everyone knows the process in which milk is sour and then processed further. The lactobacilli are responsible for this acidification of the milk. They belong to a genus of rod-shaped bacteria from the lactic acid bacteria family. The name is derived from Latin, where lactis stands for milk and bacillus for the stick shape. Due to their numerous positive functions, they are among the "good" bacteria in the human body. Lactobacilli convert sugar into lactic acid and through this process gain energy, which is known as fermentation. In the process, they acidify their environment.

Where do they occur?

Lactobacilli are found in the human body in breast milk, on the skin, in the vagina and in the digestive tract. Thus, they are part of the microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract and the skin. The probiotic properties of Lactobacillus have a positive effect on intestinal health and stabilize the intestinal flora. In the vagina, they even make up the majority of the bacteria, at 90 to 100 percent. They colonize the skin and intestines and are essential for health. Lactobacilli are also found in the stomach and mouth. The first contact with lactic acid bacteria occurs at the beginning of life. During natural childbirth, the mother's vaginal lactobacilli are passed to the newborn. This contact with the lactobacilli gives the baby its first protection against diseases. They are important to us from the first second of life. In the course of life, however, these helpful bacteria in the body are partially destroyed by taking antibiotics or other harmful influences, which can make it easier for infections, diarrhea or other diseases to occur.

What is the importance of lactobacillus in the intestine?

Millions of Lactobacilli colonize the entire human digestive tract, especially the small intestine, and support digestion. For example, they are essential for breaking down fiber. Dietary fibers are mainly found in vegetables, cereals and legumes and cannot be digested by the intestinal cells alone. Therefore the human body is dependent on the help of Lactobacilli. Without this help, the fiber would lead to problems in the intestines. Lactobacilli split the roughage with special enzymes and convert it into lactic acid. Lactic acid is well tolerated by the intestines and at the same time acts as a protective factor. Furthermore, lactobacilli are responsible for the function of the intestinal mucosa, which transports nutrients from the intestine into our blood and also supports our immune system.

Lactobacilli in lactose intolerance?

In the case of lactose intolerance, the intestine is unable to convert sugar into lactic acid because it reduces the necessary enzyme lactase or cannot produce it at all. This often leads to symptoms such as flatulence, diarrhea or abdominal cramps. In order to cope with this, the body can be given certain lactobacilli, which convert the sugar and can thus lead to an improvement in the symptoms.

What is the best way to take lactobacilli?

Lactobacilli are contained in many types of yoghurt, but can also be supplied by other foods, such as:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Sour pickles
  • cheese
  • kefir
  • tempeh
  • Kimchi

They can also be ingested through dietary supplements. Lactobacilli are very sensitive to heat. They can be destroyed by higher temperatures and cooking processes. The mybacs dailybacs contain five different strains of lactobacilli that can survive their way into our digestive system.

Their exact names are:

Lactobacillus plantarum LP01, Lactobacillus rhamnosus LR06, Lactobacillus crispatus LCR01, Lactobacillus salivarius subsp. Salivarius CRL 1328, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.

The abbreviations after the bacterial species denote the exact strains chosen for the Dailybacs, as the effects can differ between strains.

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