Lactobacillus rhamnosus is one of the most well-known and widely used strains of probiotics. Its many therapeutic benefits have been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies, particularly concerning its ability to boost the immune system, prevent and treat gastro-intestinal infections and diarrhea, prevent certain allergic symptoms, and protect against infections of the female reproductive system.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus was the first probiotic strain identified when it was isolated from fecal samples of a healthy human adult by Sherwood Gorbach and Barry Goldwin. This is why it’s sometimes referred to as L. rhamnosus GG.
It was quickly realized that L. rhamnosus was a form of beneficial bacteria – one that had incredible potential due to its ability to resist acid and bile while growing well in the walls of the intestines. Since then, Lactobacillus rhamnosus has become one of the most widely studied probiotic strains and is now used in a variety of commercially available probiotic products.
One of the most important features of LGG is its powerful adhesive capacity. Researchers describe it as an excellent mucus-adhering Lactobacillus strain, especially when compared to related Lactobacillus strains. LGG has been shown to persist longer in the human gut and in higher concentrations. This is particularly significant in newborns.
LGG adheres to the walls of the intestines and colon. Some studies show that LGG colonization is also present in the tonsils, vagina and oral cavity after probiotic supplementation. However, it seems to prefer the intestinal mucus layer, which makes it an excellent choice for those with gastrointestinal disorders.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is especially recommended for preventing and treating acute or rotavirus-related diarrhea in children and adults. It’s also beneficial for the prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and has even been supported by European guidelines.
In travelers, it’s recommended for reducing the risk of traveler's diarrhea, particularly for reducing the frequency of stools. It may even be more effective in reducing diarrhea than oral rehydration solution, Bacillus clausii and Saccharomyces boulardii. In addition, Lactobacillus rhamnosus supplementation may help to reduce the symptoms of diarrhea-predominant (IBS-D) Irritable bowel Syndrome.
Another major benefit of L. rhamnosus is in treating atopic dermatitis and eczema. It’s been shown to both treat and prevent atopic dermatitis, particularly in high risk children. For this reason, L rhamnosus is often recommended as a supplement for pregnant women.
Other benefits of L. rhamnosus include its ability to reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections in children, especially those attending day care.
For women, L. rhamnosus is a powerful treatment for vaginal infections and protection against yeast overgrowth. L. rhamnosus is most commonly found in the genito-urinary tract in women, where it helps to control the balance of healthy and harmful bacteria.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus has been shown to displace and prevent adhesion of pathogens that can affect the intestinal and urogenital regions, as well as inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria and yeast like Candida albicans.
Research also shows that L. rhamnosus’s acid production is strong enough to kill HIV and other viruses, while also stopping pathogens from forming clumps or biofilms that are too difficult for pharmaceutical drugs to eradicate. It can resist vancomycin and spermicidal bacteria. It even harbors anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce the risk of a pre-term labor.