Health benefits of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG

Health benefits of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG

Kefir, kombucha, kimchi… If looking after your gut sounds daunting (and expensive), you may be wondering if feeding your body with the good bacteria found in fermented food is really worth doing in the first place. After all, your body is already home to 10 to 100 trillion bacteria of its own. Do you really need to add more into the mix?

The short answer? Yes. Your trillions of microbes (known collectively as the gut microbiome) play a major role in your overall health. Good bacteria found in fermented food like yoghurt can help to protect the stomach lining, strengthen your immunity, prevent inflammation and more. Not-so-good bacteria can trigger disease and may promote short-term symptoms such as stomach upsets, bloating or diarrhoea, or more long-term problems such as chronic inflammation.

To get your microbes to work to your benefit means tipping the balance in favour of the good guys. And, if you’ve recently experienced anything that can upset the balance in your gut, such as a tummy upset, a bout of IBS or a course of antibiotics, you may need to give your microbes a more powerful helping hand.

Enter probiotics. Eaten regularly, or taken as a supplement, they can provide the body with a supply of beneficial bacteria, which play an important role in building up a healthy gut. And the most well-studied friendly bacteria around is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG.

What are Probiotics?

The bacteria in the gut can be knocked out of balance for many different reasons, including: getting older, taking antibiotics, illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease or following an episode of food poisoning.

Probiotics have been shown to restore the balance of the gut bacteria, which can help our body work at its best. They are used in NHS trusts across the country to reduce the risk of the bowel infection Clostridium difficile in patients taking antibiotics, for example[1].

Probiotics are living microbes that can benefit your health when you consume them. They consist mainly of bacteria but may also include yeasts, and are naturally present in fermented foods, can be added to others, and are available as dietary supplements.

What is Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG

While probiotics have a wide range of health benefits, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (or LGG for short) is the most scientifically proven strain of good bacteria in the world, with more than 760 scientific publications and more than 260 clinical studies reporting on its function and benefits to health.

LGG was first isolated from the gastrointestinal tract by professors Sherwood Gorbach and Barry Goldwin (hence the suffix letters GG). It was identified as a useful probiotic strain because of its resistance to acid and bile, good growth characteristics, and a capacity to adhere to the gut wall[2]. It is now widely used in a variety of commercially available probiotic supplements.

The ability to ‘stick’ to the intestinal cell wall prolongs the persistence of a probiotic in the intestine and allows it to exert its helpful effects longer. Health benefits for supplementing LGG include the prevention and treatment of gastro-intestinal infections and diarrhoea, promoting a healthy immune response, improving neural function, reducing inflammation, combating allergies and assisting weight loss[3].

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG Benefits

Lactobacillus rhamnosus helps prevent diarrhoea and GI infections

Because of its excellent adhesion properties in the gut, LGG has been shown to help prevent and treat gastrointestinal infections and diarrhoea. LGG reduces the duration of diarrhoea in children [4], and significantly reduces the duration of diarrhoea symptoms in healthy adults taking antibiotics [5].

Administering probiotics containing LGG in hospitals has been shown to prevent patients contracting clostridium difficile infections[6]. Clostridium difficile is a bacterium that can infect the bowel and cause diarrhoea.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus for immunity

It is believed that probiotic microorganisms, especially LGG, have the ability to modulate the immune system. LGG increases the response of the body’s white blood cells, T-lymphocytes, to search out and destroy pathogens[7].

LGG reduces the pro-inflammatory chemicals produced in the body during an infection, and at the same time increases the anti-inflammatory response [8]. It also enhances the gut barrier defence against invading pathogens to help prevent infection[9].

Lactobacillus rhamnosus improves diabetes

Insulin resistance is the driving factor that leads to type II diabetes. Supplementing with Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease the risk of hypoglycaemia[10], where blood sugar levels fall to below normal levels.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG aids weight loss

Research tells us that there is a difference in gut bacteria between the overweight and those of healthy weight [11].

One study investigated the impact of Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplementation on weight loss and maintenance in obese women and found they were able to achieve sustainable weight loss [12], though it should be used in combination with a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG helps with depression and anxiety

A growing body of literature has demonstrated bidirectional signalling between the brain and the gut microbiome [13], effectively meaning that the gut and the brain talk to one another. 

Studies have shown that Lactobacillus rhamnosus can positively help with symptoms of depression and anxiety[14] but should only be used as a complement to and not a replacement for medical management and talking therapies. 

Lactobacillus rhamnosus improves irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

The role that probiotics play in relieving irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been demonstrated, but the mechanism remained unclear.

But supplementation with Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG was found to increase the production of serotonin in the gut[15]. Serotonin is a chemical that has a wide variety of functions in the human body. It is sometimes called the happy chemical, because it contributes to wellbeing and happiness.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus prevents eczema

 A Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplement was found to prevent the development of eczema in a group of high risk children [16]. Even after ceasing the supplementation, children show a significantly less prevalence of eczema.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus improves dental health

Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been shown to improve dental health by keeping the numbers of Streptococcus mutans in check in the oral cavity [17]. Streptococcus mutans are a known cause of tooth decay.

Lactobacillus rhamnosus and candida

Candida is a yeast infection found in the mouth, intestinal tract and vagina. When it grows to excessive amounts in the gut, it can contribute to food sensitivities, leaky gut syndrome and a host of other negative physical and mental conditions.

Supplementing with Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been shown to significantly increase the effectiveness of pharmaceutical treatments of vaginal candidiasis [18].

Lactobacillus rhamnosus is beneficial during pregnancy

Establishment of a healthy gut microbiota at birth helps a newborn to develop a well-functioning immune system.

A prevalence of the species Bifidobacterium is associated with a healthy microbiota in newborn babies, and mothers that supplement Lactobacillus rhamnosus during pregnancy help the transfer and establishment of bifidobacteria in the gut of their babies [19].  If taken in the final trimester of pregnancy through to breastfeeding and weaning, LGG has been shown to reduce the occurrence of eczema in infants[20].

Harnessing the Health Benefits of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG

It is always beneficial to digestive health to include probiotic foods within your diet, as these can help with nutrient absorption and support the immune system. Probiotic foods include kefir, fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi, kombucha and yoghurt. 

However, if you prefer to take a probiotic supplement, did you know that the way you take your daily capsule can help give the live cultures a helping hand? Here are some ways to harness the health benefits of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG for yourself.

Take your probiotic on an empty stomach

Probiotic bacteria do most of their work in the small and large intestine. But to get there, the live cultures must go through quite the journey, passing through the acid in your stomach and the digestive enzymes you produce in response to a meal.

Your goal is to get the good guys safely through this acidic terrain as quickly as possible, which is why Inessa’s Advanced Daily Biotic comes in a delayed-release capsule. It’s also why it’s recommended to take probiotics on an empty stomach, ideally two to three hours after your last meal and just before the next one.

Take your probiotic in the morning

Probiotics work best when you take them before breakfast. That’s because the first meal of the day is normally small and easily digestible and the less food you eat, the less digestive enzymes and stomach acid you’ll secrete. Taking the capsule in the morning rather than at night can also minimise the chance of any initial bloating spoiling your shut-eye.

Wash it down with something cold 

Take your capsule with a cold or room temperature beverage rather than a hot drink. The heat from your steaming mug of tea may open up the delayed-release capsule before the live bacteria can get to your gut, and the good guys don’t like it hot either. It’s fine to have a hot drink after you take it, though.

Feed your good bacteria

Now you’ve got the good guys into your gut, it’s time to feed them! Provide them with a nurturing environment by eating adequate amounts of prebiotic fibre. Prebiotics are what our friendly bacteria like to eat. This helps them to proliferate, which in turn promotes a healthy and balanced gut microbiome and therefore good general health. 

Prebiotics are a type of indigestible fibre that is found in food. This type of fibre passes undigested through the digestive tract until it reaches the colon and is used by the good bacteria as food.

Luckily, prebiotics can be found abundantly in our food, so you don’t have to try too hard to find them. They are found in certain carbohydrates, mostly from fibre in fruit, vegetables and starches that we can’t properly digest. Good sources include onions, leeks and bananas.

Dosage & Recommendations

LGG probiotic supplements are easy to find. They might contain just the LGG strain, or they’ll use LGG combined with other probiotic bacteria. You can also find L. rhamnosus bacteria added to dairy products such as yoghurts and milk to boost their probiotic content, and to cheeses to aid the ripening process.

LGG dosage is measured in CFUs, which stands for colony forming units. This refers to how many bacteria in a probiotic are capable of dividing and forming colonies. Research into dosage has shown that, for intestinal colonisation, a dose of at least 5 billion CFU is needed. A dosage of 5 billion CFUs per day for children and 10 billion/day for adults of Lactobacillus LGG are associated with more significant health benefits[21].

Studies show that using a clinically proven strain at a documented dose is more important than using multiple strains at a higher dose. In other words, more is not necessarily better.

With 10 billion live bacteria in each vegan delayed-release capsule, Inessa’s Advanced Daily Biotic uses a daily dose that corresponds with that used in clinical studies of LGG.

Safety and Side Effects

Most people are able to take LGG without any side effects at all. But some people do experience mild bloating, flatulence, or more frequent bowel movements for the first few days when they first take a new probiotic as their bodies get used to it.

If you’ve never tried live bacteria products before, starting off slowly can help you avoid any temporary bloating. Just open up the capsule and take a quarter or a half of the contents mixed in a cold drink or yoghurt before slowly working up to the full dose.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t take a probiotic such as LGG at all? Despite their high safety record in the general population, probiotics are generally contraindicated for those who are severely immunocompromised (such as those with HIV, AIDS, or cancer, for example) and those with a central venous catheter, due to the risk of infection.

Likewise, if you’re taking drugs that may weaken your immune system — such as steroid drugs and other immunosuppressants — you should avoid taking probiotics unless your prescribing doctor signs off on it. For those on cancer drugs or medication for an organ transplant, probiotics are contraindicated in all cases.

If you’re concerned about side effects, consult your GP before taking a probiotic supplement.

    Inessa Advanced Daily Biotic

    Your gut holds the key to your optimal health and wellness, so help it find harmony with a clinical strength biotic.

    Inessa Advanced Daily Biotic delivers 10 billion CFU’s guaranteed to expiry date of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in advanced day release capsules proven to improve probiotic survival and delivery. Each delayed-release capsule bursts live Lactobacillus Rhamnosus GG bacteria and also contain the amino acid glutamine, which is a vital nutrient for the intestines to rebuild and repair. 

    If you enjoyed reading this article, you might like Everything you need to know about probiotics.


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    Inessa Team

    Our team pull together science-backed information to bring you up to date health and wellness insights.